CHANGING SOCIAL MEDIA TRENDS—AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR MARKETERS


The introduction of new features and the change of algorithms on social platforms have a hand in the evolution of social media trends. For example, a few years ago only Snapchat was known for its disappearing, FOMO-inducing content. Today though, social media users have the option of using similar features with Instagram “Stories” and Twitter “Fleets”. Over 500 million people use the Stories feature daily on Instagram. That example is evidence of how quickly we adopt new trends on social media.

While these rapid changes to social media are cool features for users, they can be a challenge for social media marketers. Marketers must be sure to constantly review their existing social media strategies and adjust to and add new types of content to their repertoire. It is incredibly important for social media marketers to pay close attention to the latest trends that influence social media. In this article, you will find some of the top trends to keep an eye on in 2021.

THE POPULARITY OF LIVE STREAMS

As the start of the pandemic began in 2020, many companies turned to digital and used video conferencing platforms such as Zoom to prevent the spread of COVID. Not only were face-to-face meetings now turned into Zoom conferences but even live concerts for artists to play for their fans. Because of COVID, there has been an increase in the use of live streaming features on social media. For example, Facebook saw a huge rise in messaging and live streaming, especially in COVID hotspots such as Italy—the number of views on Instagram and Facebook Live doubled in Italy in just a week!

While the COVID situation continues to develop, people have gotten used to interacting with brands without having to leave their homes. With that being said, live streaming will continue to increase in popularity. As a marketer, you should incorporate live streaming into your social media marketing strategy.

STORIES AS A CONTENT FORMAT

As mentioned earlier, Instagram Stories is used by more than 500 million people daily—clearly, the Stories feature is not going away any time soon. This is important for brands and marketing managers to know because they will need to create an organized plan to utilize Stories as a way of publishing content. When publishing content on Stories, marketers should use video, as they outperform photos. A study done by Social Insider found that photos featured in Stories have a 5.65% higher tap-forward rate than videos. Tap-forward rate is the number of people you saw your Story and moved on to the next without finishing it. This same study found that photos in Stories had more drop-offs than videos, meaning people tend to spend more time looking at videos. 51% of brands already use videos in Stories, and this number will likely increase throughout 2021.

THE GROWTH OF SOCIAL COMMERCE

With the social media industry continuously changing to improve the user experience, we are seeing more features and tools that support quick and easy shopping. For example, Instagram allows users to add product tags and enable an easy checkout without having to leave the platform. Considering the role of social media in the consumer’s purchasing decisions, providing a tool for which users can purchase items straight from your brand page is important. Marketers need to know that 54% of social media users utilize social media to research products before buying them, and 71% of users can be persuaded by the influence of social media referrals.

The addition of social commerce to your platform simplifies and shortens the customer journey. This means when your audience sees a product they like on social media, instead of going to your website to search for it, they can easily purchase the product straight from the social media platform. This will likely reduce abandoned transactions because it is much quicker. Studies show that having a “Buy” button increases the probability of purchase and helps to move transactions forward on social.

Brand live streams, using Stories/Fleets as a content format and utilizing social media storefronts to make your brand posts shoppable are among the top social media trends of 2021. If you do not alter your marketing strategy to fit the changing audience, you run the risk of losing prospective customers.