• Alice Violet

Social Media Trends for 2021

The last year has undoubtedly reshaped every aspect of our world. Resetting attitudes, behaviour and priorities while accelerating digital reliance in a way none of us could have anticipated.

Trends are a key element to consider when building your social media strategy. Below are the top social media trends for 2021.

Increased use of social media in over 55's

The pandemic drastically increased reliance on digital communication for all age groups with a surge in digital payment platforms, livestreams, video calling and online classes.

While we've been disconnected from our friends and family there's also been an increase in social media sign ups across all demographics. Notably, over 55's have seen a 65% increase and now use social media for an average of an hour and a half each day.

What platforms are the over 55's using? Although Facebook continues to dominate in terms of users, Instagram saw a 98% increase last year with daily usage of the platform higher than Facebook. There has also been a 66% increase in over 55's discovering new products via social media.

What does this mean for marketers? For those who target an older age group, it will be increasingly important for you to have a meaningful and valuable presence. Although traditional avenues still have value, consider investing a portion of your traditional marketing budget on social media.

TikTok on the rise

On the other end of the age spectrum short-form video platform TikTok is predicted to exceed 1 billion users over the course of the next year. Their demographic breakdown is primarily 10-19 year olds (32%) and 20-29 year olds (29%). Content mainly consists of dance challenges and impersonation comedy which although will turn off many marketers, there are some business benefits to the way this platform works.

No other platform allows such rapid exposure to all users. This means those without a significant following still appear on the For You Page (similar to Instagram's Explore page). TikTok's user interface also encourages trends - instead of hashtags being key, audio or music categorises your content and jumping on what is popular right now increases your exposure.

Advice for marketers: be authentic, if your brand naturally lends itself towards memes and playful content aimed at a younger demographic, then embrace it. If not, don't force it; your content will make everyone cringe. A safe option is to work with established TikTok influencers, this capacity works really well for travel, makeup and fashion brands.

Consumers are buying social commerce

Tracking sales from social media has long been a pain point for social media marketers, but we're now seeing a rise in quick and easy in-app shopping. Social media was already influential for shoppers during the inspiration phase, and now this can be followed through. The ability to buy tagged products from an Instagram post speeds up the process, adding tracking capability and offering a seamless experience for users.

Some of the messenger platforms such as WhatsApp are also working on ‘in chat’ shopping functions.

I would recommend businesses with products trial this functionality as soon as possible. Ensure to optimise and present your products adequately to fairly judge its capability.

Harness real reviews and brand endorsements

Social media has always offered brands a space to harness and encourage brand loyalty through user-generated content and reviews. When it comes to purchasing a product, online reviews are becoming more influencial than ever. Consumers have a greater awareness of what a fake vs real review looks like. This means that endorsements coming from real and active social media users are set to become valuable currency.

With Facebook shops we can expect the platform to leverage sharing a customers behaviour to their connections, adding weight via endorsement of the product. This could go down the anonymous route of 'two of your connections bought from this store' or 'two of your connections recently recommended this store.'

Make way for the relatable influencer

Over the past year consumers have become more vocal about what they expect from the brands they love. Especially wellness, fitness and beauty brands. No longer is it ok to point out cellulite or signs of ageing to sell your product, in fact, doing so could cause a backlash as consumers embrace reality and correlate unrealistic expectations to poor mental health.

Influencers with authentic, relatable and uplifting content will be trusted more than those who are highly stylised and edited, similarly there will be a decrease in influence from those who promote unrealistic lifestyles or standards of beauty.

As a business, if you're looking to partner with an influencer seek out those who don't take themselves too seriously and offer an unpolished insight to their lives.

I am a social media consultant with over ten years experience in paid and organic social media spanning technology and travel. I've worked with many of the world's leading luxury brands and was the producer of an award-winning tech podcast. I launched Alice Violet Creative to help brands to increase leads and loyalty via social media. I firmly believe content, brand and social media are the most potent of all marketing avenues in 2021. To take your brand presence to the next level email me at info@alicevioletcreative.com.