Girish Jaggi is the Corporate Communications Manager at Germin8, a leading Digital Media Intelligence company (focused on Big Data Analytics of Digital/Social Media). Skilled communication consultant with a knack for marketing who has been fostering positive relations between media and organizations since 2015. A strong communicator who can strategize, manage, and execute successful public relations and digital campaigns along with managing the stakeholders. A profound understanding of the importance of good publicity, marketing, reputation management, crisis management, and timely response to PR inquiries in the development and success of an organization. Committed to enhancing reputation, strengthen consumer loyalty, and establish the credibility of a brand through ORM as well.
Marketing for any brand today has become all about staying relevant and updated, which means that you have to keep abreast with the latest trends in the digital world. In addition, brands can do well with campaigns designed to be purpose-driven. This has dual benefits of pitching in for society as well as higher engagement with audiences, and has become even more important given the current pandemic situation the entire world is struggling with. Being aware of upcoming trends can help you stay ahead of the curve and capitalise on trends even before they go mainstream. Here are nine social media trends forecasted for 2021 and how you as a marketer can use them to your brand’s benefit:
- Include social media influencers in your marketing plan
The influencer marketing trend is going to be big in 2021, and brands will benefit from emphasising on this effective promotion strategy. Micro influencers already have a personal relationship and belief in a brand and its products, and in turn act as trustworthy personalities for their sizeable and loyal follower base – promotions cannot get more efficient, engaging, and targeted for any brand or service.
- Take advantage of the surge of audio-based content and apps
Screen fatigue might be just one of the reasons behind the recent rise in popularity of audio apps and podcasts. The launch of apps like Twitter Spaces and the currently invitation-only Clubhouse, which has garnered the interest of investors, are indications of how big audio apps are expected to be in the future. Hosting audio conversations about products, social media posts, or even participating in an existing conversation on such platforms can help marketers leverage this social media trend.
- Make use of the trend of micro-communities and groups for customer insights
There can be no better promotion than word-of-mouth recommendation from customers. In the digital world, this is where micro communities come in. Keeping an eye (and ear out) via social media listening can go a long way in helping brands gather valuable customer insights and product feedback. Groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, Messenger, Reddit, etc. are areas to focus on as the importance of micro communities is expected to grow in 2021. Engage with such groups using interesting offers, premium content, and industry-related discussions to get the most out of this trend.
- Do not undermine paid advertising
Setting aside a healthy budget for a paid advertising campaign in any digital marketing strategy remains vital for brands. Most social media platforms today have sponsored advertising models, which can enhance the likelihood of your content reaching a wider target audience. Build a campaign designed to resonate with your audience and ensure visibility of your products as around 48% social media users say that they have purchased products after seeing an ad.
- Use video platforms as the popularity of live streams will continue this year
The video streaming industry in 2020 was valued at USD 50.11 billion, and video content is not going to fade away any time soon. Social media marketers can use both short-form and longer videos (like YouTube and Instagram’s IGTV) to share compelling content to connect with audiences. Whether pre-recorded or live, video content can effectively get converted into successful leads for brands.
- Explore various on-trend formats
There is more than one way to provide content to users, and staying updated with the latest ones become imperative in digital marketing. Connect to your audience in a fun manner using stories, GIFs, memes, and more on social platforms as these have the potential to go viral and boost brand promotion. In fact, there was a 26% rise in the mention of memes from August 2019 to July 2020. Innovation is key on these platforms, so explore microcontent avenues that lets you convey your message in a form that captivates people’s interest.
- Focus on social commerce
Social commerce will continue to be big in 2021 as the Covid-19 situation pushes more people towards online shopping. According to research by GlobalWebIndex, a significant 54% of all social media browsers research products on social platforms and 71% people are influenced to make purchases based on social media referrals. Given the numbers, this is an important social media trend for brands to take into consideration and use the social commerce channel to yield higher revenues.
- Take advantage of the benefits of user-generated content (UGC)
Content in any form generated by social media users is known as UGC, and this can provide substantial leverage to brands. Use UGC in your digital marketing campaign as social proof of the quality and reliability of your products and/or services. This not only helps your customers feel heard and valued but also helps reduce marketing expenditure.
- Be prepared to combat the negative trend of misinformation spreading
With all the benefits that social media trends bring, there is also the risk of misinformation going viral. Used for malicious reasons, this trend can use memes and other content to negatively influence customers and severely impact brand reputation. Social listening can help brands be informed about content and discussions currently circulating on digital platforms. Ensure that your marketing team is prepared to identify such nefarious trends/activities and have a plan in place to tackle the issue before much harm is caused.
As of January 2021, India has around 448.0 million social media users. Globally, this number is a whopping 4.20 billion –an extensive potential customer base for any brand or service. If you have not been monitoring and leveraging social media trends already, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon. And this post is meant to help you do just that.