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Social media marketing trends every business owner should know in 2021

SOURCE: Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP
Business owners that do not prioritise keeping up with trends and shifts might suffer from limiting their social media marketing performance.


By U2B Staff 

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Social media has become a powerful tool that anyone could use to convey a message to large audiences. And the best part? It’s free.

Highlights from DataReportal’s July 2020 Digital snapshot report found nearly half of respondents have spent more time on social media due to COVID-19, further proving their mettle as valuable channels for marketers to reach out and convert customers. 

With 3.5 billion active social media users each day, it’s no wonder that 73% of advertisers believe these sites serve as powerful and successful marketing tools. Industry practitioners, however, must keep up with the latest trends and developments to enjoy the benefits of social media marketing. 

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So, how should business owners keep online audiences engaged? What type of content is appropriate for today’s environment? Is your business’s current marketing strategy in line with the latest usage and behavioural data?

These questions and more can be answered through trends. If you’re keen on advancing your business’s online visibility, these are the trends you should prepare for this year:

Social media live streams will remain popular

We saw many businesses going digital last year due to extended periods of social distancing and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Face-to-face meetings turned into Zoom conferences and live concerts turned into live streams.

Unsurprisingly, there’s been an uptick in the use of live streaming features across platforms. Facebook saw a massive spike in messaging and live streaming, especially in COVID-19 hotspots like Italy where Instagram and Facebook Live views doubled in a week

While the pandemic continues to evolve in 2021, more and more people are getting used to the idea of interacting with brands virtually without leaving their homes.

Stories as a key content format

Over 400 million users use Instagram Stories each day, and it’s not likely to go away anytime soon.

Business owners can benefit from tapping into this audience by taking a more strategic approach with their Stories. That said, a content calendar can be extremely useful. 

Virtual reality will become more popular on social media

Amid stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures in place, an increasing number of people are seeking interactive virtual experiences. Virtual reality (VR) is among the current technological trends that can provide consumers with experiences of this sort. 

In a similar vein, 2021 will likely see virtual reality gaining more popularity on social media as companies seek to use this technology.

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For example, as of early 2021, Facebook is leveraging the Oculus VR platform to beta-test a virtual world that allows people to explore, connect, and even play games.

Augmented reality as a media trend

Similar to virtual reality, recent events have accelerated the adoption of augmented reality (AR) experiences within the social space. AR doesn’t require additional hardware beyond a smartphone, making it more accessible than VR. 

AR experiences are highly interactive and effective for engagement. An increasing number of brands are buying into this social media trend by creating AR filters to promote new products or to encourage fan interaction. 

A good example is McDonald’s Spice Zapper filter, which allows users to zap nuggets as they fall. 

Social commerce will continue to grow

With social media constantly adapting its offerings to enhance the user experience, more features and tools are being introduced to support a seamless shopping experience. 

Instagram, for instance, now allows businesses to add product tags that enable an easy, secure checkout within the platform. On Facebook, businesses owners can now set up a shop that facilitates the same.

To boot, 54% of social media users research products using social media while social media referrals can influence the purchase decisions of 71% of users, further attesting to the influential power of social media.