11 Social Media Trends for 2021 And How You Can Implement Them Today
10 MIN READ
As we can likely all agree, 2020’s social media trends turned out a lot differently than most of us would have predicted. Social movements have swept across platforms (hopefully more than just a performative black square) and connecting through comments, likes, and messages has become a necessity instead of a nice to have. We’ve seen history made in numerous ways, with many of us receiving the news from our feeds. Many of us are more connected to our smart devices than ever before, while others are putting away devices to stop doomscrolling and feel a connection with the world in a tangible way again.
With all of these unprecedented changes, it can seem hard to predict what trends social media users can expect to see in 2021. Luckily, we did the hard work for you and combined our team’s social media expertise with the latest research to share what we think you can expect in 2021 across your various social accounts.
Trends Across All Platforms
Humanity > Perfection
In 2020, together we’ve cried through screens, waited with bated breaths for election results, and wished for a better, healthier tomorrow. Huge influencers like Amanda Kloots have shared their stories of loss from COVID. These stories aren’t pretty—they’re real and raw. They happen when the facade of perfection slips and people have to admit that their lives are flawed. There is hope for a better year in sight, but it’s part of the human condition for bad things to happen. While we in no way suggest sharing your pain on social media in place of therapy, connecting with loved ones, etc., we envision social media becoming more open to hearing about hardships and not just the long disparaged highlight reel.
How to Get Started: Have an exceptionally bad day straight out of a country song (you know the kind—your pickup truck dies, your spouse left you, and the dog ran away)? If you feel comfortable, lift the curtain and say “This is me right now. This is where I’m at.” You don’t need to ask for sympathy. Just simply opening up your corner of the internet for real discussions about hardship is enough to show your humanity and be a part of a larger discussion around the pain we all face.
A Meteoric Rise for Values-based Brands
As we’ve seen during the pandemic, people are putting their trust (and therefore their money) in brands that they view as putting people before profit. While Amazon has been the go-to solution during the quarantine for the ease of at home delivery, Jeff Bezos’ leadership has appalled a majority of customers and will likely lead to more people reexamining what retailers they support when the pandemic is over. In place of Amazon, we’ll see continued support of small businesses that has become more important than ever in light of the pandemic. People will spend extra money to support brands that prioritize people and the planet.
How to Get Started: Take a long, hard look at how you run your business. Have you taken any shortcuts that made things easier at the time but don’t reflect the values you want to uphold? Perhaps your team is made entirely of white people or you used a supplier with questionable business practices. Before it’s too late, rectify the situation and openly acknowledge your past mistakes with clear, defined steps on what you’ve done to address the problem and how you’re committed to doing better in the future.
Everyone Wants a Piece of TikTok
It’s no secret that TikTok has become hugely popular among Gen Z. But it’s siren call has even reached the ears of Millennials as more people flock to see the short snappy videos of skinfluencers, skilled dancers, and cat videos. Because of this popularity, we’re seeing other platforms trying to mimic TikTok’s success. Earlier this year, we saw Instagram release Reels as an attempt to snag a piece of the TikTok pie. And while Reels are popular, they haven’t slowed the flow to TikTok. Since Reels weren’t a total flop and TikTok continues to attract new viewers, expect to see other social platforms make their own versions of TikTok...to varying degrees of success.
How to Get Started: Get familiar with TikTok. How people film videos on the platform has a different style than on other social channels. After you’ve dug yourself out of the inevitable TikTok rabbit hole you’ll find yourself in, ask yourself if TikTok is the right channel for you. If not, how can you incorporate these lighthearted, low-quality style videos on your other platforms? Don’t be afraid to experiment!
?Facebook Is Officially “In a Relationship”
It’s not exactly a secret that Facebook owns Instagram, but up until recently, their status has been more “It’s Complicated” than “In a Relationship.” As they integrate their messaging platform, create more consistent designs across brands, and develop new content calendar tools, expect to see the lines between the two channels blur. While this transition may affect how people view Instagram since Facebook doesn’t have a sparkling reputation, brands and users should only see benefits and a better overall user experience.
How to Get Started: Make sure your social media presence across both platforms is seamless. Updated your profile pics, bios, and imagery to tell a cohesive brand story. And as Facebook continues to roll out new integrations, don’t be afraid to try them out and see how they fit into your marketing plan.
Fewer Clicks to Retail Therapy with IG Instream Shopping
Instagram’s latest update shows that the platform has their eye on eCommerce. The notification icon has been moved and in its place you’ll find a shopping bag to get you started on your online buying journey. This is a fantastic opportunity for B2C brands to sell their products on Instagram as the entire buying experience can take place on the platform, meaning fewer clicks between “Add to Cart” and “Place Order.” However, the one downside is that this could lead to fewer website visits that could potentially play a role in selling additional products and building a loyal fan base. Each company will need to monitor these theoretical outcomes closely to see if the pros outweigh the cons.
How to Get Started: If you have B2C products to sell, stop what you’re doing and start setting up your Instagram storefront. Optimize the content you include for each product and then get to posting shoppable posts asap! Try it out for a few months and see how your sales and website traffic are impacted.
Instagram Takes a Page Out of Google’s Playbook
As Instagram fiddles around with name displays and improved search friendliness, it’s more important now than ever before to make sure your IG account is searchable. By researching how people are searching for your brand and plugging in valuable keywords in a user-friendly manner, you’ll drive more traffic to your profile than many accounts have been able to with Instagram’s previous algorithm changes and the high volume of competition on the platform.
How to Get Started: Ideally, you should be familiar with your brand keywords and implementing them should be relatively simple. The two primary places to focus should be your Display Name and Bio. Include your business name, some sort of spacer, and then a couple keywords to describe your business. As for your bio, make sure to echo back to your brand mission and incorporate keywords, while still showcasing your brand’s unique personality.
So Long to Static-Only Feeds
For awhile now, social media marketers have been encouraging users to diversify their feeds with more video content. Now that Instagram’s latest update has put an even greater focus on Reels, it’s really time to start trying out video. The best part is that Reels don’t have to be highly produced, like you would expect from an IGTV video—you’ve just got to show people there’s more to your feed than simply pictures.
How to Get Started: Fall down an Instagram Reel rabbit hole and start looking for inspiration. Jump on a meme bandwagon or share some funny insights. Whatever you choose, just rip off the bandaid and get started posting engaging content!
Twitter Fleets on Fleek
Okay...we know no one says “on fleek” anymore, but who can resist a good rhyme? Much like other social platforms, Twitter is getting in on the action of disappearing storytelling. Launched in November 2020, Fleets have yet to be as widely adopted as Stories have been on Instagram. With our culture’s tendency to comb through old Twitter posts for reasons to attack Twitter users, it makes sense that tweets that disappear would have widespread appeal on the platform. As more people begin to try out Fleets, we expect it will catch on quickly.
How to Get Started: Be one of the first adopters! Start posing different Fleet content and see what resonates most with your audience. Worst case scenario—it disappears in 24 hours.
A Rise in Virtual Events on LinkedIn Live
While the COVID vaccine is set to become widely available in Spring 2021, it’s still likely to be awhile before people feel entirely comfortable getting together in large groups any time soon. LinkedIn has effectively eliminated this problem by allowing people to connect LinkedIn Live and Events. Users are able to provide their connections and the broader LinkedIn audience with a beneficial professional development from the convenience of their home on a platform that’s safe and accessible to everyone.
How to Get Started: Have a topic you’ve been looking forward to sharing with your audience or others in your industry? Schedule an event and host it on LinkedIn Live! Keep the pressure at bay by doing a trial run or only inviting a few close colleagues to your first Live.
Conversations Over Competition on LinkedIn
We recommend to all our clients to develop a personal brand on LinkedIn that reflects their businesses’ brands. For the majority of companies, your business’s voice will sound different than your own, and it’s important to capitalize on each perspective. As people continue to connect more on LinkedIn in light of the pandemic, it’s time to step up your conversation skills on your personal page. Connections no longer want to only hear about your latest accomplishment or your company’s big win. Recreate workplace camaraderie with low pressure topics that encourage others to engage with you.
?How to Get Started: Polls are a simple way to get people to engage with a low barrier to entry. Choose a topic that you care about (remote working, anyone?) and ask people to vote for their preference. After the poll duration you set is complete, reshare the original post and share what you think of the results.
TikTok Opens the Door to Ecommerce
With everyone trying to steal TikTok’s unique features, it makes sense that they would want to fight back by experimenting with ecommerce on their platform—a feature that had previously made Instagram unique. Presently, TikTok is partnering with Shopify to enable in-app shopping for merchants on the Shopify platform, but we anticipate this functionality expanding throughout 2021.
?How to Get Started: First consider if there’s a space for your brand on TikTok. Is this where your audience spends their time online? Are you a Shopify merchant with fun and interesting content? If so, get started selling your merch and posting TikTok videos. But if you can’t confidently answer yes to all of those questions, keep an eye on the space to see how TikTok’s ecommerce evolves and whether there’s a space for you.
Now that 2020 is nearly over, we can look toward 2021 with hope that maybe this year will be the best one yet...or at the very least perhaps we’ll see some exciting content and features popping up on social media. No matter where your business is in your social journey, we can help you navigate it. Have questions about any of these trends or want to chat about the future of social media in general? Reach out to us via our contact page. Until then, cheers to 2021!