Improve Your Social Media
As this year draws to a close we take a look at how you can improve your social media even more in 2021.
Any business with ambitions of garnering a loyal customer base must play the social media game. Regardless of personal opinions on these communication tools, almost 90% of Millennials and Zoomers are active on social media.
Common consensus claims that social media revolves around four Cs.
- Content – users, and potential customers, garner information about your business and products through social media posts
- Conversation – social media interactions help you gauge the temperature of your business and what the general public thinks of your offering
- Community – social media users want to be part of the conversation, not cash cows to be milked. Engage with potential and existing customers
- Connection – with so many individuals browsing social media, it's the fastest way to reach an audience
2021 is set to be a year unlike any other, though. There is nothing quite like a global pandemic to throw the conventional rulebook out of the window. Let's assess ten of the social media trends that experts predict will take precedence in the next twelve months. By embracing these changes, your business stands a greater chance of success.
A Little More Conversation, a Little Less Selling
In the current climate, people are spending more and more time at home. This, in turn, leads to more time spent online.
A social media campaign that prioritises sales will be given short shrift. Users want to interact with humans, not be pressured into spending money by a robot. Turn this desire for contact to your advantage.
Take a conversational tone, encouraging interaction with your users. This will build a community of like-minded individuals. What's more, it will build trust in your brand. As we're about to discuss, that's more important than ever right now.
2020 will be remembered for many things, and few of them are positive. One of the take-homes of this year, however, has been the old adage, "don't believe everything you read." Misinformation has arguably never been rifer, especially online.
This will, naturally, make users a little sceptical of anything they see. Unfortunately, social media is deemed the least trustworthy of all communication platforms. That means anything you say may be taken with a Siberian landfill of salt.
You'll need to earn the trust of your audience. Back up every claim you make, without sacrificing your core values. Use reviews and case studies to your advantage, assuring consumers that you're the real deal.
In times of crisis, we all seek comfort. Nostalgia may not be what it used to be, but it remains a powerful marketing tool in a business arsenal. Many successful marketing campaigns have started tapping into the memory of simpler times.
Don't be cloying with this. There are enough, "hey, remember that children's TV show you loved?" campaigns out there to last several lifetimes, and that will just feel cynical.
Instead of indelicately reminding users of cultural touchstones on the past, transport them with feeling. Use aged music, images or even language. Tap into the human condition that views everything from a bygone era through sepia-tinted glasses as, "the good old days.”
Show Your Conscience
In most years, a global pandemic would be the most newsworthy event in any twelve months. 2020 has been famously fraught, though. This means that an increasing number of consumers are looking to brands to plant an ethical flag.
Handling of COVID-19, in particular, was a PR tightrope for many companies. Businesses that respected the protocols of national lockdowns and showed support for frontline workers were feted. Those that prioritised profits were rounded upon.
In 2021, it will be important than ever to show that your business has ethical practices. Trumpet these loudly and proudly in your social media messaging. It's not bragging – it's showing consumers that you care about their conscience.
Cross-Promote Across Platforms
The social media landscape can feel tough to keep up. A site that seems cutting edge today may be yesterday's news to early adopters by tomorrow.
Every social media platform has a devoted following. You'll need a presence on all of the 'big four' – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. There's a new kid on the block though, and it's threatening to shatter the established pecking order.
TikTok is becoming increasing popular for users and brands alike. Experts recommend using TikTok as your base platform in 2021, especially for video content. The platform makes it easy to recycle your material across a variety of other sites.
Use Memes – but Do Your Due Diligence
Going viral is the ultimate aim of any social media profile. An increasingly fast and popular way to achieve this is piggybacking on the back of popular memes and hashtags. As the popular idiom claims, “a picture is worth a thousand words”
In 2021, however, it will be easier than ever to become infamous rather than famous. Before making use of any popular memes or buzzwords, do your research and ensure that you won't inadvertently alienate your audience. The famously sassy Twitter presence of American burger chain Wendy's offers a cautionary tale here.
Back in 2017, they used the once-popular meme Pepe the Frog in a tongue-in-cheek post – not realising that it had become affiliated with unsavoury elements of the internet. Sadly, there are a lot of dark corners on the web. Before making surfing a cultural wave you'll need to check all of them.
Live streaming is nothing new, but it’s set to become increasingly popular in 2021. Channels like Twitch.tv may have started as a location to watch strangers play video games, but they’re growing increasingly popular with businesses and public figures.
Ultimately, while so many people are stuck at home, they are seeking stimulation – and a friendly reminder that the outside world still exists. By embracing regular live streaming, you can offer a peek behind the curtain of your business and reassure your audience that life goes on.
Engage with Games
Whether you play video games or not, you should know something. The games industry is more valuable than the film and music businesses combined. With more people needing to interact online than ever before, the number of gamers will continue to swell.
Games are expected to bring a great opportunity for consumer interaction throughout 2021. By including opportunities to interact on your social media profile – even if it’s just asking questions, like who would be invited to a fantasy dinner party – you’ll create a welcoming community.
Influencers are sometimes viewed with suspicion by businesses, but there is no denying how effective they can be. With so many internet-savvy consumers now using ad blockers, influencers on social media are up to 11 times more impactful than banner ads.
But if influencers are already important, how does this play into 2021? Well, the coming year is expected to see the rise of the micro-influencer. Right now, many businesses focus on influencers with the broadest possible reach. As the world is growing smaller, quality is beginning to trump quantity.
Influencers with a smaller number of followers, but a relevant – and, more importantly, loyal – the audience will come into their own in 2021. This will change the face of how businesses use social media, so review your relationship with influencers accordingly.
Diversity is more than just a buzzword. It is critical to a successful online presence. With every year that passes, this becomes increasingly apparent.
Back at the beginning of this guide, we discussed how almost 90% of the world’s youngest generations use social media. This is a global audience – and that means users will expect to see themselves represented in your brand messaging.
Do not limit your campaigns to one, constant presence. Ensure a healthy mix of races, genders and creeds appear in your social media sphere. This way, you are likelier to connect with a truly universal audience.