December 10, 2020

marketing

SMW employees

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It's been a whirlwind of a year and it's no easier to foresee what's ahead. Our friends at Hootsuite just released their 5th Annual Social Trends Report, which sheds light on the top trends that will shape brands in 2021 and how to adapt and thrive. You can download the full report Here, but here's a look at some of the key takeaways backed by the best in marketing and data.

A shift to short-term ROI

This year there has been a rush to get a short-term return on investment (ROI) to offset the loss of revenue due to the upheavals of the pandemic. In fact, 73 percent of all marketers rated the "increased acquisition of new customers" as their best result for social networks in 2021, compared with just 46% in the previous year, an increase of 58 percent over the previous year. This has made for a very transactional year.

Transactions alone, however, do not lead to memorable brands or long-term growth.

This is why you need to innovate to gain long-term loyalty and commitment. As? By bringing the fun back into the buying process, making shopping more social, and using social networks to connect with customers, build loyalty, and avoid disjointed experiences.

Find your place in social conversations

The rise in social media usage in 2020 created numerous opportunities for brands. Unfortunately, many stalled by jumping in too early instead of taking the crucial time to listen to their audience. The reality is that a lot of people want to connect with each other, not brands. Those who were guided by their audience were able to find spaces where they could fit into the conversation in meaningful and authentic ways.

Brands that will succeed in 2021 are not necessarily the ones who lead the conversation, but rather find creative ways to fit into the conversation and break the walls of indifference.

To join the conversation instead of just pausing it, rely on user generated content (UGC) instead of costly content production, empowering social listening to find out where you fit, and time and place for engagement and select participation.

The turning point for baby boomers

With the pandemic, baby boomers are now spending even more time on social platforms, but marketers are still overlooking and underestimating this lucrative group as a way to target younger populations.

Why? For one, we tend to fall victim to the irresistible hunt for something new – instead of striving for effectiveness. In order to benefit from the growing technical enthusiasm of the boomers, you should pay attention to intelligent segmentation and a well thought-out display. This way, savvy brands like yours will jump over companies that still hold stereotypes.

Tie engagement data to identity

Social media is not just about collecting likes, it's just a means to an end. You want to make sure that your social efforts are producing real results for your business. To do this, go beyond reactions and go deeper to see how social data can help you better understand your customers.

Linking social media engagement with identity is more important than ever for marketers. With so many traditional approaches falling by the wayside, this is the strongest bridge between brands and customers. To achieve this, you should set up a solid UTM framework for paid and organic ads and integrate your data with your CRMs. This ensures better visibility of customer contact points and unused opportunities.

Success consists in taking big or small steps to extract critical insights from quantifiable data. Make sure to match these with your broader marketing goals to avoid getting lost in a pit of write-up or stuck in a silo.

Become a purpose-driven brand

While 2020 wasn't the start of the move to purpose-driven marketing, it got things into high gear.

Now 53 percent of people want brands to proactively make the world a better place.

Becoming a purpose-built brand cannot be faked or imitated on social media. You can't check a box and be done. Brands need to know what is going on in the world and take into account the conversations that are already taking place. If you want to take a stand, make sure your actions support it.

In 2021, the strongest brands will balance the dual demands of building a better business and a better world. This strategy needs to start in your boardroom and should use social listening to learn and gain information.

Get your free copy of the Hootsuite Social Trends 2021 Report!

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