Let’s just talk about it right up front… 2020 sucked and forced us to look at new inventive ways to use social media and marketing in order to reach our target audience.  Keeping them interested and purchasing products and services from our businesses was no easy task.  In response to social media channels that were constantly changing the way their platforms worked to keep up with the additional usage, businesses needed to change the way things were put out.   Social media is still one of the top things that people spend a good part of their day on.  Simply put, you need to be there!  You need to be active and you need to be relevant. Competition is FIERCE and you need to stand out! Take a look at these trends we’re seeing and apply them to your social strategy. Not sure how? We’d love to help!

#1: The customer is always right… and they want you to know it right NOW

Overall, one of the top things we are seeing is the increase in the use of social media for customer service.  It’s not only used for shopping, product discovery, education, and sharing – now it’s an extension of a company’s customer service program.  It’s convenient for customers to reach out via messaging to get answers quickly or address concerns or questions. Ensure that you have options for people to connect with our customer support team and that your team is trained to handle their questions!

#2: Be where your customers are

In 2021, we are predicting that companies will be continuing to conduct business online via Instagram and Facebook Live, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, House Party, etc.  Online shopping, local delivery, curbside pick-up and take out will continue to be a preferred method for consumers.  This makes it super important to be ready and prepared via both your social media platforms and your website to make it easy for your customers to utilize these services. The continued shift toward contactless shopping makes ecommerce a necessity. Utilize integrated in-app shopping on Instagram and Facebook. The least amount of steps your customer has to take, the more sales you will receive.

#3: Target is not just a store – It’s a way to reach your people

Implementing a retargeting strategy to hit your customers with continued messaging even after they leave your site or social media profile will ensure you continue to market to them and increase your revenue. With advertising on the rise and algorithms changing every day, visibility is costing more Consider taking time to focus your advertising campaigns and really target your audiences wisely.  Evaluate the campaigns you have done and see what is worth continuing or changing.  Track leads and profitability to see what is producing and what isn’t.

Utilizing the tools provided on each social platform, you can increase engagement without increasing your workload.

  • Polls to engage with your followers
  • Links to increase website traffic
  • Location tags to increase visibility

#4: Brands Must Humanize

Businesses need to consider being transparent, authentic, and even vulnerable with their marketing in 2021. People connect with people. I have always said this. Get more employees faces out there, create more video, and talk about what matters to your company and show your culture. With all the turmoil going on in our world, people want to trust the companies they do business with. They want a relationship with you.

#5: Be a Problem Solver

Think about how you can solve a person’s problem or improve their life. Ultimately it is your job to fill some need that your customer has! Some good ways to do this going into 2021 would be to roll out huge discounts and get people excited about what you have to offer.  People do NOT want to get sold to.  Always keep that in your mind when you are making social posts.  It’s not JUST about your products or services. The pandemic has not gone away so always consider the impact of how you deliver posts as well.

#6: Pandemic Schmamdemic

Even though COVID is still a real threat and we have to be conscious of it, positivity will get you more engagement in 2021.  People are “over it” and tired of all the negative news they see in their feeds.  We get it… 2020 sucked. But now it’s over so let’s move on! GIFs and memes have proven themselves to be a staple among business posts, and they’re incredibly easy to create. Make someone smile! Utilize free software to take your own pictures and video and create a GIF.  Using customer photos and testimonials to create posts for your business are also a great way to grow your audience and let others know that you are relevant.  There are many clever ways you can take a post or picture that one of your customers posts and recraft it to share on your own business page!

#7:  A picture is worth a thousand words

Eye catching collages are making a comeback. They make people stop and scroll and take more time to see and think about what you offer.  “Eye catching” was the key word here – don’t just slap a bunch of photos together all willy nilly.  Visuals are everything on social media so you need to make an impression. Create something professional, clean, and appealing to capture your audience.

#8: Ch Ch Ch Changes on Insta

Two major changes to take note of on Instagram are SEO and Reels. Just recently Instagram has made it a point to become more search worthy on the internet.  This means that the copy you post makes a difference – not just the hashtags you use. Consider what your audience will be searching for and try to incorporate those keywords and phrases to gain more visibility.

Instagram has also launched Reels to compete with TikTok.  Reels are quick and fun videos to grab user’s attention.  Reels do not replace Instagram Stories or feed posts! However, Instagram is putting Reels first and foremost (some are saying they will be shown 10x more than stories and feeds!) so make sure to focus on these in 2021. Using captions and text will help gain momentum and help encourage your followers to share. Watch TikTok and see what’s getting attention (beware though – it’s a rabbit hole!) to give you some inspiration for what to feature in your Instagram Reels.  Try to keep your Reel to 15 seconds or less.  The platform allows for longer but as of right now, the 15 second Reels are getting the most attention.

#9: LinkedIn is more social than it used to be

Gone are the days where LinkedIn was only used to search for a job. People are connecting with old classmates, colleagues, and potential business partners on this channel. In addition, LinkedIn now has STORIES! They’re a little late to the party, but they have rolled it out. LinkedIn Stories are still new so performance remains to be seen, but, like the other platforms, we are assuming that it will get more views than the feed.  So take advantage of this additional tool to reach your audience with quick and meaningful messages.

Also, don’t forget about some other great features LinkedIn offers: polls, asking questions in order to get engagement, and most importantly gaining feedback from your customers, sharing personal photos, or post about employees and milestones. As always, be transparent and connect on a personal level with your customers.  Just because the platform is a “professional community”, it doesn’t mean you can’t build meaningful relationships and encourage people to see the value you provide.

#10: Be active in your REAL community

Building your brand online with a new, virtual audience is great, but don’t neglect your local/loyal customers. Many brands and businesses utilize groups and communities to get their message out and build a following – dedicated customers who in turn do a lot of marketing for them!  The best way to get word out is to let your community speak about you and how your product or service has made their life better.  These groups consist of people that have shared interest.  The best one, being you!  It’s a wonderful way to create a sense of belonging with our brand at the center. Social groups are also great place to launch new products, get testimonials and get great feedback and insights.