5 Top Social Media Trends Impacting Brands in 2021
Top social media trends in 2021 impacting brands are transparent, socially conscious, and relatable tactics of connecting with communities. Brands that fully understand their consumers, listen to the customer voice on social media, and understand why they engage with them will be the ones that thrive in the turbulence ahead. The pandemic has created not only chaos this past year but new opportunities for us to connect and companies are seeing the importance of fostering these bonds.
Below are the top 5 social media trends impacting brands in 2021:
1. Socially Conscious Audiences
In 2020, the socially conscious generations (Gen Z and alpha) had an impact on brands, politics, and society as a whole. They brought attention to topics important to them on social media regarding politics, equality, education, mental health, finance, and changing food trends. The brands that authentically engage with these issues are expected to thrive as younger generations increase their spending power.
In fact, a poll conducted by Forbes in 2019 showed that 88% of consumers prefer to support brands that have social causes aligned with their product/service. Nike is one big brand that has pushed taking powerful stances on societal issues. To date, #UntilWeAllWin has been mentioned 131K times, with 671K engagement. Their socially conscious strategy is making a difference with powerful messaging, like their “You Can’t Stop Us” campaign, reaching nearly 58M views on YouTube alone.
Rising in popularity to gain customer share, companies are using TikTok, Instagram Reels, and unique 15-second videos to ensure they are reaching their audience where they spend time. Many will seek the help of influencers that have the technical knowledge of using full menu effects to create amazing content on their behalf.
2. Digital Disinformation
Society is facing an uncertain future, and this uncertainty has created a hotbed of misinformation, with false stories leading to life-changing decisions. Trust and authenticity will be key themes for organizations as 66% of consumers state that brand transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand.
Vodafone, a leading technology communications company, was involved in a COVID-19 fake news story. A phony video, claiming to be a whistleblower from Vodafone, stated that the virus was caused by 5G. After being shared across social media channels, the video engaged over 1.8K.
Social media channels will continue to actively tackle misleading information, through means such as labeling that Twitter recently activated. And, companies should closely monitor their brand to detect issues early and ensure an alert system is in place to quickly find where their brand is being tied to fake news.
3. Social Media Giants
Over the past 13 months, the level of news stories around the 3 biggest social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) have balanced out with Twitter being mentioned slightly more across digital news channels. Despite differences in demographics, and users these channels all hold large and broad audiences.
The big 3 will have new features and adapt to the trends in their own particular way, but their significance is unlikely to dwindle in the coming years. There’s always the temptation to try and be on every social channel available, but as more niche platforms appear, you may spread yourself too thin. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter should still be the backbone of your marketing spend, as you test into other platforms.
Virtual events and live-stream broadcasts have taken the spotlight on the list of social media trends this year. Livestream viewership has risen by 50% since the start of 2020, with higher rates of engagement compared to regular video uploads. Social shopping will become more prevalent as Facebook rolls out (and optimizes) its Commerce Manager functionality for business owners.
4. Old School Marketing – Social Media Trend
Since the pandemic, 55% of Americans have been listening to podcasts. Even if creating your own podcast is not possible, it’s become such a broad market—there will be one out there suitable for a brand relationship. Interviews and sponsorships give you an opportunity to connect your company to a pre-nurtured, defined audience.
Newsletters have grown in popularity with 31% of B2B marketers saying newsletters are best for nurturing leads. With creative segmentation of your email database, you can have hyper-personalized messaging that really cuts through to the information that your consumers are looking for.
5. Social Gaming
During the pandemic people turned to video games as a form of entertainment creating forums, groups, and entire communities within and around the games. As we learn more about how players benefit from games, developing relatable skills that are valuable within the real world, in 2021 we should see the stigmatism associated with gaming lift, as brands become more focused on connecting with these communities.
With the closure of movie theaters, it’s been challenging for production companies to ramp up marketing efforts for upcoming films. As well as relying on social media to maintain buzz, some have engaged growing gaming communities to boost awareness and headlines. Warner Bros. ramped up marketing efforts for their movie Tenet by revealing the trailer on the Fortnite game. They benefited from Fortnite’s Party Royale—a space within the game specifically designed for players to engage with the community away from playing.
Part of the success for the Tenet/Fortnite team up was the ingenuity. Releasing a trailer over a video game was so new that it drove a significant number of press mentions. The originality of the idea was just as effective as the idea itself.
About the GRI Marketing Group, Inc.
The GRI Marketing Group is a consumer-focused marketing agency, in business for over 30 years, that works across multiple channels integrating online and offline content. Please contact us if you need help getting maximum engagement and impact with your campaigns.