Top 8 Social Media Trends in 2021

Social media has proven itself to be a valuable channel for marketers to reach and convert customers. Due to its ever-changing nature, social media marketing requires account managers to keep up to date with the latest social media trends across all platforms to ensure all channels are being effectively used to reach your target audience.

With unprecedented changes to peoples lives and how they consume content in 2020, we have put together a list of trends to keep an eye out for in 2021 if you are managing social media accounts, creating content for social media or running ads across social media.

1. Diversification
This chart shows global monthly downloads of TikTok, Instagram and Facebook on the Android and Apple app stores in 2020.

In early 2021, we saw some huge shake ups of social media platforms. TikTok took the internet by storm with almost 76 million monthly downloads in March 2020. They are making waves in terms of how businesses create content and major social media players, such as Instagram, are following suit.

Later, in August, Instagram rolled out it’s Reels feature, offering users to create and share short 15 second videos. You can take a look at some of Smart Insights favourite ones here.

New research posted in February 2021 highlights 11 online platforms and apps used by more than 10% of US adults. Interestingly, TikTok made the list at number 9, being used by more than a fifth of responders. You can ready the full report here.

2 . Go Live on Social Media

Live social media streams have soared in the number of people using it, and it’s not difficult to see why that growth has happened.

With a number of severe lockdowns throughout Ireland in 2020, people took to live streaming to fill the physical void that became the new norm for so many consumers. Businesses saw this as an opportunity to stay connected to their followers by live streaming events through their social media accounts. Whether it was live Q&A sessions, collaborations or takeovers, interviews or virtual events, many marketers who previously relied on event marketing had gone back to the drawing board this year.

3. Timing of Posts

With many people no longer commuting to and from the office, the time people use social media and how long they spend on them has drastically changed over the course of the last year. People are no longer checking in on what their friends are up to or reading latest news stories on their way to or way home from work. Less and less people are scrolling through their favourite platform after work in the evenings.

Rather, people are much more active mid-mornings from 10 am to 12pm. This may even stretch out to 1pm during the week some days as people take coffee or lunch breaks from home.

Sprout Social has published its latest listing of the best times to post to each of the major social media platforms, which is based on the company’s 20,000+ customer base, who use the platform to schedule and post online. Click here for more.

4. Video Content Will Continue to Dominate
Watching a YouTube video on computer

Video content is one of the most engaging forms of content and will soon dominate social media. Whether it’s short form video content like TikTok or Instagram Stories, or long form content like YouTube, videos are the future of social media content.

According to a Cisco study, by 2022, 82% of all online content will be video content. This clearly shows the importance of starting to use video content now to stay relevant and built up a bank of video content to use over time. If you’re not currently creating and utilising video, now is the time to include them in your content strategy.

5. Brands Will Need To Be Authentic
An example of automated messaging on Instagram
Credit: Web Marketing Therapy

This year, consumers and brands faced a global pandemic, uncertain financial times, and a number of major events that grasped the nation’s attention.

Now, consumers need more than just great deals to trust, identify with, and invest in a brand. At this point, many brands have taken notice by embracing authenticity and their human side on social media.

For those social media marketers with less time on their hands, Facebook automated responses allow businesses to generate automated responses to common queries they receive through the Messages function of their Facebook Business Page. More on this can be found here.

6. Social Media for Customer Service Enquiries

We live in a digital world where people expect quick easy answers. In 2021, any social media manager will tell you how DM’s have become a customer service hotline. Nearly every business has a social media account and they’re simple to update and use for both owners and customers, making it the ideal place for quick Q&As.

7. Utilising the shopping features on different social media platforms
An Example of How Instagram Shopping works
Credit: Instagram

As many brands learned how to do business completely online, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok raced to develop more online business marketing solutions.

While TikTok and Snapchat expanded business marketing offerings in 2020, Facebook and Instagram actually brought shopping capabilities directly to their apps. 

With Facebook Shops and Instagram Shoppable posts, consumers can buy a product seen in a post without even leaving the app they’re on.

8. Engage a Professional

In today’s world, where information is just a finger swipe away, having a strong digital footprint is vital to engage and grab customer’s attention online.

For small and medium business, time is key. Therefore, it can be very difficult to prioritise their social and digital efforts. This is where a professional can take the stress out of planning, testing, implementing and improving.

With more and more businesses developing a team of digital professionals, the standard of content is constantly improving and the bar has been raised. Gone are the days where you can post low res imagery without any captions or engaging copy. For more information on what Ripple Marketing offer, click here.

Social media is a constant evolution of change. And, although we think we know what to expect with social media, this list of trends is likely not exhaustive of what we’ll see in 2021.

As a social media marketer, the best thing you can do is to continue to research trends, online consumer behaviours, and your team’s social media data to determine which trends or strategies to lean into or how to navigate unprecedented online scenarios. 

One great place to start this research could be by signing up to our blog to get up to date news in the industry direct to your mail box. To sign up, use the following link: /blog/