Social Media Trends to Keep an Eye On for 2021

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You're likely already familiar with the power of social media. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow users to cast an extremely wide net online and connect with over two billion social media users worldwide.

If you're looking to take advantage of this powerful tool, you can’t take a scattershot approach and create an account on every platform out there. However, instead of using such an ineffective approach, it’s important that you’re more specific when choosing your platforms, strategic in setting goals, and creative when approaching content.

On top of all that, you'll need to stay up to date with what's going on in the world of social media, specifically the trends shaping it. And with 2020 drawing to a close, it is now time to get a step ahead and look at the social media trends that will emerge in 2021. Check them out below:

Social media and SEO will intersect more than ever

There is, believe it or not, a link between social media and search engine optimisation (SEO). The inner workings of this link are unclear at the moment (no thanks to Google's ever-changing algorithms), although what is clear is that SEO is crucial to your business, as the organic traffic it generates for your website can result in increasing engagement.

But as pointed out by SEO specialists Ayima, businesses face various hurdles in implementing effective strategies, including technical problems, lack of optimised content, inadequate incoming links and limited development resource. That being said, one way you can leverage SEO — outside of hiring a dedicated team of SEO experts or outsourcing to a reputable agency — is to leverage social media, and that's something business leaders will do more often starting in 2021.

As digital marketing expert Alex Membrillo explains, social media is a content amplifier, and the more a business’ content is liked, shared, and commented on, the more likely it is to increase online traffic to its website. These days, the kind of content that will generate SEO-boosting likes, shares, and comments are videos, especially in light of Google and other search engines placing value on video content in their algorithms. So, expect all kinds of videos to flood social media even more moving forward, as they can help both in brand building and in SEO.

Content will be shaped by the coronavirus

With vaccines already in the pipeline, there is reason to believe that this coronavirus pandemic will soon be contained. Even so, the undercurrents of COVID-19 will continue to be felt for the entirety of 2021, and its fallout will likely linger for much longer. In short, people will continue to be apprehensive about the pandemic and this will determine how organisations approach their social media content.

In particular, expect the tone of social media posts to reflect the 4Cs of coronavirus content:

  • Community
  • Contactless
  • Cleanliness
  • Compassion

So, don't be surprised if brands fill social media with content that focuses on the community, promotes contactless transactions, encourages proper hygiene (cleanliness), and teaches people to be compassionate. Noteworthy examples include IKEA's #YoMeQuedoEnCasa (#I’mStayingHome) movement, British Gas' instructional videos on simple home repairs, and Coca-Cola's persistent reminders for people to do their part in helping curb COVID (by staying home).

Social media will diversify

For so long, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were the big three in social media. Then, this year, TikTok came along and disrupted everything, recording over 76 million downloads in March 2020 alone. For much of the year, in fact, TikTok was the "in" thing in social media, emerging as by far the most downloaded social media app from March to August (including over 72 million downloads in both May and June).

Now, it's unclear whether or not TikTok's rise is sustainable, and if it will carry over to 2021. But what is certain is that the shake-up TikTok caused as a social media platform will continue to be felt next year. Remember, Instagram already rolled out Reels last August. This new feature allows content creators to create and post very short videos — exactly the approach TikTok pioneered this year in terms of driving social media engagement. Next year will be more of the same, and will see either the emergence of completely new platforms or the reinvention of existing ones (or both).

Viral marketing will continue to be a thing

Our previous post on 'Viral Marketing: A Powerful Marketing Tool' explains why viral marketing has been popular for so long now. That's because businesses of all types and sizes frequently use it to create differentiation, reach a very wide audience, drive engagement, and gain credibility.

For all of these benefits, viral marketing is actually cost-effective, produces fast results, and generates leads fast. It is for these reasons that viral marketing will remain popular in 2021, especially on social media, where great content can easily go viral in a matter of days. So, expect to see campaigns similar to, for instance, Dove's "Real Beauty Sketches" (the most viewed internet video of 2013) and Old Spice's “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” (over 54 million views in 2018), and just recently, Sodastream's parodies of ASMR Videos (which leveraged the 4.8 million Instagram followers of Queer Eye's Jonathan Van Ness).

There you have it, four social media trends to watch out for in 2021. And if you want to keep current on anything social media, do check out the Taplink blog for the latest social media news, updates, and trends.

Article exclusively written for
By Raffy Joyce