It is more important than ever to be aware of the social media trends in this day and age. Businesses across all sectors either came online for the first time, or upped their digital marketing game in 2020 and that includes social media. 

According to DataReporter, 15 percent of internet users’ waking life is spent on social media platforms. The global pandemic definitely had an impact on user rates; more people than ever are using the internet to conduct their day-to-day business. 

Social media continues to be a growing resource for businesses to not only advertise, but to build meaningful relationships with your customers, and even sell your products and services. Here are the social media trends you’ll want to pay attention to in 2021.

Social Media SEO and Specialized Searches

In 2020, Instagram rolled out a new update that allowed users to search for more than just hashtags and members on the platform. Instagram users can now perform keyword searches; 45-50 percent of users aged 16-24 use this function to research brand information. You know what that means? Yep, you need to integrate SEO into your social media accounts. 

Relevant captions that include keywords and phrases is the easiest way to up your SEO rank on social media. It is also best practice on social media to include your keywords in your bio (Name | Keywords). 

It is important to keep your content consistent and relevant to business goals. Don’t post personal content onto your business pages, ONLY share information and imagery that’s in line with your branding and business goals.

As Voice and Image searches continue to gain popularity, it is important to keep your SEO up to date on ALL avenues, not just social media. Make sure your images are tagged and captioned properly so they will rank on Google’s SERP. 

Short-Form Video

Short-form video is one social media trend that has been around for a while and will continue to be popular in 2021. These 15-second videos are outperforming all other content on social media. The incredible success of TikTok has caused other platforms to come out with their own video features, the most important for your business will be Instagram Reels. What’s the difference between Reels and Stories on Instagram? Reels have more editing options than stories which means you can be more creative with your short-form content.

Brand Authenticity

People connect with people. Social media marketing is more successful when brands are authentic, transparent and vulnerable. Creating meaningful relationships with your community is the best way to grow your online network and build brand trust in 2021. 

We are seeing this trend across all social media platforms. On LinkedIn, we’ve seen a shift from very sales focused interactions, to more conversational communication between members. The purpose of social media is to create relationships, not to collect connections. YouTube is similar with personality being a major factor in whether a channel gets promoted by the platform. 

Creative Advertising

With a higher saturation of brands in the online space, it is much more difficult to stand out to consumers. One social media trend that continues to evolve is that of creative advertising, especially on Facebook.

Your brand should be aware of the emotion behind any piece of content you post online, but especially advertisements. Consumers are not going to support your brand if your ads leave them with an uneasy feeling. This is especially true after the widespread anxiety and fear we all felt in 2020; ads must be positive and uplifting to be successful for your business.

Social media trends in 2021 are pointing towards more creative methods of advertisement outside of a photo or video and a blurb. User-generated content and collages are going to be making a comeback in 2021, as well as text-heavier advertisements. 

One widely overlooked ad space is in video-games. Now I know what you’re thinking, interruptive ads aren’t as successful and you’re right. However the gaming space has evolved  into an extremely popular genre of the internet and shouldn’t be overlooked completely. 

Shopping on Social Media

Facebook and Instagram are leading the way in social media shopping. With the decline of brick & mortar stores in 2020, you can still ensure customers can find and purchase your products in a way that is convenient for them. These virtual shops are a great way to supplement website sales, or keep products available to consumers while your website is being built. 

On top of retail shopping, social media trends in 2021 point to a more aggressive push online in service-based sectors. The easiest example of this is the fitness sector with studios and freelance instructors hosting online classes and programs. Social media is the most convenient avenue to post this type of content, especially if you already have a loyal community online. 

It is impossible to predict what 2021 will bring as the world adjusts to the “new normal” way of life. Will the huge spike in social media usage start to plateau as the world comes out of quarantine? Quite possibly, but that doesn’t mean social media isn’t a powerful tool for your business. 

Keep these social media trends in mind when planning your 2021 content calendar. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your social media content, and most importantly listen to your community. They will tell you when you’ve released content they enjoy, trust me.