Social Media Predictions for 2021
Listen, 2020 was a YEAR. We mourned, we grew, we suffered, we adjusted, we went through all the different stages of grief. Multiple times. We even found ourselves having to take a step back early in the year just so we could make sure that we were able to properly deal with everything that was happening.
Obviously, a lot changed. And a lot is continuing to change. Social media saw some of the biggest changes and adjustments this past year, and we’d be silly to think that things were going to finally level out now that it’s the new year.
Realistically, social media is ALWAYS changing, no matter what. But after what we all collectively went through this past year, social media is going to be feeling the reverbs for a while yet. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the top social media predictions for 2021:
1. Brands will start taking targeting a lot more seriously.
With companies being hit hard by the pandemic, a lot of them are finding themselves struggling to connect to their customers in a meaningful way. Over the past almost-a-year, a lot of these companies have realized that there is one place that everybody has been able to flock to, while still being COVID-safe: social media! However, while it’s obviously important for companies to be ON social media, it’s just as important – if not more so – to make sure their business doesn’t get lost in the 25 million business profiles on Instagram (not to mention the other social media sites). We predict that targeting, paid ads, and doing something to stand out so that they’re able to reach the users that they actually want to reach, will continue to be a primary goal for businesses this year.
2. Businesses will (hopefully) understand that their voice matters, and not just when it comes to selling their products/services.
There were a lot (and we mean a LOT) of defining moments of 2020. Not the least of which is the amount of social justice (and frankly, human rights) violations that took place. From racism and abuse by the hands of police to a gross mishandling of the current pandemic, people were ANGRY. And rightfully so. We’ve been failed. All of us. Some worse than others. And if there was ever a time to speak out, it’s now.
One thing that we think some business owners forget is that their customers know that there’s a person behind the business. And people have opinions and stances, which means businesses have opinions and stances. There’s no separating art from the artist here. While it can be scary to risk alienating some of your clientele by taking a side in political and social issues, sometimes, it’s important to. Especially when social media has been a driving force in educating people about injustices around the world. One quote that we really love is by Desmond Tutu. It goes, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Not only is standing up for what you believe an ethically important thing to do, but it’s also not a bad idea from a business standpoint.
When companies are transparent about their beliefs (assuming they aren’t problematic and oppressive), people respect them. They know that they can feel good about supporting the company, so they’ll want to do it more. And we think a lot of companies are realizing this. For example, last year, a lot of companies came forward about diversity within their workforce, and where they can improve. They held themselves accountable, and many of these companies made the necessary changes. And guess what? Their customers loved it! Sure, some may have dropped off, but they gained even more just by being authentic and not being afraid to use their platform. And we think that in 2021, this will only continue.
3. Video will be the place to be!
It’s really no secret that visual content almost always performs the best, and it’s even better when it’s video content. With more and more apps starting to clue in to this and optimize their platforms accordingly, there are so many more opportunities for your business to take advantage of videos! Instagram has IGTV, video feed posts, Stories, Live, and Reels, Facebook has Live, feed posts, and Stories, Snapchat’s been around for a long time (and has recently introduced Spotlight), TikTok is only continuing to grow, and last year Twitter even introduced ‘Fleets’, which are their version of Stories. The biggest thing to keep in mind is to know who your audience is, and where your audience is. Older Boomers probably won’t be seeing your TikTok, and younger Gen Z’s likely aren’t going to stumble across your Facebook video. As a nice little bonus though, you’re absolutely allowed to re-use your videos across platforms. Just make sure that the sizing matches the app and feature you’re using, and you’ll be gold!
4. Shopping online is bigger than ever.
So, unless you live in one of the very few, very lucky places where COVID is almost non-existent, shopping in-person likely won’t be returning to normal anytime soon. But, people obviously still want to shop. Retail therapy, yay! So, how is your business going to adjust? Well, as we mentioned back in Point 2, the one place everybody is right now is online. So, make sure your company meets your clients where they are.
With things like Instagram Shop, online shopping is no longer limited to just your website. You’re now able to create ads and posts with direct links to purchase your products on the app itself, and you’re able to target like never before. Even TikTok has recently partnered with Shopify to make B2C marketing that much easier. In fact, some stores have even decided to close up their brick and mortar shop for good and convert all of their sales to online. Maybe that option’s a bit extreme for you, and maybe it isn’t, but either way, you’d be missing out on a huge market if you don’t take advantage of online shopping in 2021.
5. The rise of Augmented Reality.
To a lot of people, Augmented Reality as a concept still seems way too futuristic to imagine being super common in daily life. But, it’s already here! And it’s only going to continue growing! We already have ‘memojis’, the ability to try on clothes virtually, the option to decorate your home through an app, and so much more. Soon, Snapchat will be rolling out even more features to make use of their AR abilities. Right now, you can have math questions answered, find out the name of a song, apply fun lenses to your surroundings, give voice commands, and the list is only expanding. Plus, Facebook’s getting in on the action too, with ‘Project Aria’, their AR glasses, set to be released sometime this year. The jury’s out on if these will be any more successful than Snapchat Spectacles were, but we guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Obviously, there are a lot more predictions for this year. Twelve days is a long time for social media, let alone twelve months. But these are some of the biggest ones that have been coming up again and again, so don’t be surprised if you start noticing these a lot more often as you’re scrolling through. Make sure to let us know what some of your predictions are for this new year, or even what you’re hoping to see!
Have questions or suggestions? We’d love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below or send us a message!