6 Ways Digital Marketers Can Conquer Their Social Media in 2021
By Kelly Smith, Digital & Agency Manager
January 8, 2021
The social landscape in 2021 can be difficult to navigate, especially following such a prolonged period of uncertainty (I know...so April 2020 – sorry). Despite today's difficult politics and social landmines, it is clear that the uptick in social media usage is here to stay. The data proves it.
So social media is still going strong. But what do we do with this data, and what are the key trends for digital marketers to keep in mind for 2021?
1. Consumers will continue watching brand purpose in 2021. You should pay attention, too.
Authentic brands are always welcome members of social activism – but authenticity is the key word. Brands who participate in social commentary, support social or political causes, or spread awareness of local causes are only effective when the message is a core value of the organization. Companies that hop on a bandwagon to side with their perceived audiences or customers, but who may act contrary to their position in practice, will not be received well. The message must be well crafted, sensitive to the current political and social climate, and not always pushing the company’s sales in order to come across as authentic.
- Create or revise an internal social media policy for your company to inform crisis communication and day-to-day work.
- Social listening should be used for listening to hear and not to reply (or retweet or post or repost… you get the idea). This will remain a powerful tool for tracking sentiment and finding the brand-appropriate opportunities to insert yourself into trending conversations.
2. It’s still okay if you don’t want to participate in social or political rhetoric.
While it is important to many consumers that brands in positions of power speak up on behalf of important issues or their local communities, it is also okay for brands to sit some out. Social media is still greatly an escape, distraction, and source of entertainment for users across generations. In a GWI research study conducted in 2020, 32% of Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers have confirmed that this is the main reason for using social media.
You know how earlier I called myself out for using the completely overused phrase “time of uncertainty”? Watch yourself on things like that, too. You don’t want to jump on a content trend that doesn’t say anything – just to hop on the trend. Find a unique way that is on-brand for you that might be more entertaining than just regurgitating others’ sentiment, even if you aren’t taking a stance. Most of the time, less is more, and your production quality will far outweigh your production quantity.
- Don’t ignore those coming to social media for an escape. Provide that entertainment value and adjust your goals to measure reach and engagement rather than trying to create a false “viral” post by targeting a lot of shares.
- Listen, listen, listen. Check out content search data across platforms to see what entertaining trends are going on in the social landscape now.
- Monitor User Generated Content, ask permission, and actually use it on your channels!
3. Don’t get distracted by the shiny, new generation and their shiny, new platforms if they don’t fit your brand or product.
In 2021, it will be important to maintain focus. If your brand does cater to a younger crowd, that’s great. You know where to spend your time. But if that target market is not clearly defined, you may find the best ROI targeting baby boomers, who will be online more than ever in 2021 (and not afraid of new technologies like digital video, mobile payments, or gaming). Internet users aged 55-64 are buying online – 70% of them in Q4, with 37% planning to increase the number of online transactions in 2021. People over 50 make up 46% of the adult population in the United States – but our marketing does not reflect this audience. How can we look to be more inclusive in 2021 and target this market that will be converting at a higher rate than ever?
- Target baby boomer (or other appropriate generations’) hobbies or passions to add to effective and inspirational conversations.
- Update your creative – but skip the stereotypes. Boomers will never think of themselves as “old.” Show them actively participating in their hobbies and passions!
- Don’t ignore online reviews. These will always support purchase decisions in older generations.
4. Influencers aren’t going away, so don't keep ignoring them.
Influencer marketing will be a $15 billion dollar industry by 2022. That doesn’t mean that brands will need to shell out the big bucks to have influencers represent their brand. 2021 will bring a focus on micro and nano influencers, diversity and inclusion, and even new forms of influencer media (including CGI influencers, music streaming promotions, and more).
Tips & Tricks:
- Always vet your influencers.
- Ensure you have a contract for what they are expected to produce on your behalf in exchange for payment or your product or service samples.
5. Create and post snackable content that can be woven into your brand story.
With attention spans shortening with more ubiquitous short-form content types found on TikTok, Snapchat, stories, and Instagram Reels, it will be more important than ever to capture users’ attention quickly with a concise message that will (even if momentarily) stop the scroll.
- Post quote graphics alongside relevant images to inspire or share a quick message with your audiences that is infused with an emotion.
- Create your own memes or share others’!
- Create and share easy-to-read and sharable infographics.
- Create and share gifs.
6. Don’t ignore video – it still reigns!
Video is the most-used marketing content – and the second most engaging content type – on social media (Hubspot, 2020). All platforms support video content, and are even improving their video capabilities. Live videos will also ramp up in 2021, following the trend of virtual events and meetings being hosted live on social channels. In addition, live videos are still favored in several social algorithms for your content to receive greater visibility.
Tips & Tricks:
- Production quality is more important than the quantity of videos that your brand releases and shares. Less is more!