2020 has been like a drag race that we can’t stop watching and are being pulled along for the fast and wild ride. The only way to come out on top this year has been to grab the wheel and take over the driving to ensure you can be declared the winner… or at least even finish the race. When it comes to your business, you have likely learned of the importance and value in social media marketing, now even more than ever. You need to focus on social media marketing in 2021 to drive your business forward.
Knowing that social media marketing is needed, is step number one. After a year of uncertainty, how can marketers fully prepare to take on 2021? This year has been a rocky road (we crack ourselves up with our puns) for many businesses, and some of the business trends we see today are likely to continue in the coming year. While it is uncertain what 2021 will bring, it is still important for brands to equip themselves with a solid marketing strategy for 2021.
Today, with the help of MarketingTech, we look at three social media trends that are expected to drive the most impact in 2021, according to both the experts and consumers. These are trends which marketing professionals should leverage and merge into their social media marketing strategy in 2021 to ensure they are accelerating their business forward into the new year.
Impact of socially conscious audiences
Consumers today are more socially aware than ever before. They actively engage in conversations surrounding social issues like mental health, equality, education, and climate change. They consciously search for brands with social values that are in line with theirs, while avoiding those which aren’t. 88% of consumers want to support brands that have social causes aligned with their product/services (Forbes). If your brand is not socially conscious or aware you could hit a dead end.
2020 saw people around the world being negatively impacted by the pandemic. This, along with other significant 2020 occurrences, led to consumers being even louder in speaking up regarding the issues affecting society today.
Conversations surrounding these issues will very likely continue in 2021, especially on social media. Brands need to regularly engage in discussions regarding topics that matter most to their consumers, while ensuring that they actively create a positive social impact. It is also crucial for brands to be discerning in identifying issues most relevant to their target audience in the region. If you are not talking to your audience about things that matter to them, you should hit the brakes and reevaluate the road that you are on.
Acceleration of digital disinformation
While the problem of “fake news” has been plaguing social media for the past few years, 2020 saw this issue being brought to the forefront due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of high levels of uncertainty, consumers were desperate to obtain, as well as share, COVID-19 related information. But it was not always accurate. At times it felt like we were driving round and round in a traffic circle trying to find the right way out.
The spread of such misinformation could bring about some serious implications. Due to digital disinformation, 2021 will see the major social media channels taking active steps to curb this trend by the labeling of social content that are deemed to be inaccurate or misleading.
Brands need to adopt a culture of transparency with consumers to reduce the chances of people filling information gaps with inaccurate news regarding their brand. Businesses should take a page from the book of defensive driving and practice brand monitoring to detect any instances of fake news being tied to their brand and address the issue before it becomes a full-on airbag deployment.
In 2020, we have also watched consumers flock to new social media platforms, to avoid censorship. As a brand, you need to stay in line with what social media forums your audience is using and always be aware of these trends. Don’t let the conversation about your brand start somewhere where you have no visibility or awareness.
Conversational marketing is all about engaging customers and building relationships through local and personalized content. Brands today can no longer simply put out messages and hope for the best. As in driving, before you set out for a trip, you likely have your plans mapped out, maybe even timed, and you know if there are any roadblocks that could possibly be in the way to cause an issue.
As we have discussed before, there is an increasing need for brands to establish a 2-way conversation with consumers and to connect with them on matters that are most important to them. Especially during a crisis, sales are no longer a priority for consumers. Rather, genuine engagement and relationship-building are the key factors in creating a healthy customer experience strategy.
Users are looking to stories for information about brands and products, and with social media platforms exploring more and more ways for users to connect shopping to this experience, we can only expect this trend to thrust forward in 2021. The biggest challenge for brands is to look for new ways to create innovative content that will stand out and stop their followers from continuing down the road to a different business.
To ensure you are on track with social media marketing in 2021 to drive your business forward, you should also leverage some of the other digital marketing tools we have discussed in the past. Tools such as chat, video and OTT, and managing your local business listings and reviews, help to build authentic connections with consumers while showing them the human side of the brand.
It is crucial to stay up to speed on the latest industry trends that will fuel consumer behavior in the upcoming year. Water Bear Marketing can do the steering into the new year for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.