2020 has been quite the year…action-packed for some and dead in the water for others, and with it came a change to the social media landscape that’s here to stay. People the world over adapted to a “new normal”, and a big part of the new normal is time spent on platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Accordingly, the platforms have responded, making changes to their user experience, and some big developments.
Instagram introduced Shops and Facebook launched Social Good for Business, a place where businesses can learn how to leverage Facebook’s products to advance their social impact. These two examples alone show a shift in the world of social media marketing, and there are many more. To help you prepare your marketing plans for the coming year, we round up some social media trends we think you should watch out for in 2021.
Ecommerce will grow
In 2020, many businesses got a crash course on how to sell online, and in response, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram expanded their marketing offerings. According to us, ecommerce will continue to be a major focus for Facebook this year with Facebook Shops, which brings together selling on Facebook and Instagram, the new Business Manager and further development of Facebook Pay.
Users will seek to buy from informed brands
In 2020, we entered an age of personal commerce. According to Facebook, a survey revealed that people now consider how brands responded to the pandemic to buy from them, and many say they encourage others to buy from brands after learning about their values and causes. Consumers want brands who find their place in the social conversation and break through the wall of indifference.
Video will continue to take center stage
The past year, businesses increased their use of video content, both long- and short-form, and in 2021, Facebook is only increasing its video capabilities. The platform even shared new video best practices, showing a clear shift to storytelling. For example, the platform now recommends using a 3-5 second trailer to hold interest and framing your story in a 4:5 aspect ratio to optimize for mobile.
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Ecommerce will grow
Hand in hand with Facebook, ecommerce is a big focus for Instagram in 2021 with Instagram shops, integration with platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce and selling through Instagram Live. Instagram is already the go-to place for many people to discover new products and brands, and we think the platform will only keep developing its shopping tools.
Reels will pick up
To compete with the popularity of TikTok, Instagram launched Reels and we think the new form of video content will really pick up in 2021. It’s short and attention-grabbing, and it lets brands be creative in entertaining ways. Instagram even rolled out a UI update to put IG Reels front and center, so if you didn’t get on Instagram Reels yet, now is the time.
More brands will go live
And finally, in recent years, live video has been taking the world by storm and the stats suggest that 2021 will be no different. If anything, live events became a key focus in 2020. Businesses were using platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitch to livestream events, host Q&As and just generally keep their followers engaged.
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Fleets will pick up
It’s Twitter’s take on Instagram Stories and content that disappears after a while. The new feature was rolled out worldwide in November 2020, and it’s a new way to see what’s happening and talk about it. They are great for sharing transitory or “fleeting” thoughts and get personal with your followers. Like we said, in 2021, people are looking to connect with people, and businesses need to humanize.
A focus on topics
For a while now, Twitter has been looking to get more engagement from its users, and we think this year might be the year the platform adds a topic space where it will collect Tweets on specific topics. Twitter is already allowing its users to follow various Topics and personalize their feed with relevant Tweets and ads, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the platform take this initiative even further.
And finally, bots remain a significant challenge for Twitter, especially politically when bot farms are used to manipulate engagement and sway opinion. In 2021, we expect the platform to escalate its war against fake accounts and engagement even more sharply.
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Authenticity will be key
With the current spotlight on many social issues, consumers are having higher expectations from brands than ever before, and brands need to rise to the challenge. This means choosing the right content to share, and finding the line between being useful and being entertaining. This is a time for brand voice and authenticity, and for businesses to be true to themselves.
Some of the most watched videos on YouTube in 2020 were virtual choirs, DIY tutorials and home workouts, outlining the shift in our way of life. We are looking for online replacements for everything and a new trending phenomenon is interactive videos. As we keep being deprived of social connection, the world found a new normal in watching games online, live streams, home workouts and coping through humor.
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