Are you ready for some predictions to kick off your social media strategy in 2021? We bet it is you!
2020 was a challenging time for businesses big and small, creators, influencers, and everyone in between.
To give you a head start on your social strategy for the New Year, we've made our key predictions for the next 12 months (and beyond!):
Social Media Prediction # 1: Video content will be a top priority
Video content, no matter what platform or format, will be big in 2021!
From Instagram Reels and TikTok to the original video giant YouTube, there are tons of ways to grow your audience and increase your engagement with video content.
The key to video success in 2021 is to think strategically about your audience and use them where they feel most comfortable.
For example, if you hope so expand into a Gen Z marketYou might want to think of TikTok. If you already have an active and engaged audience on Instagram, experimenting with IGTV videos or roles can help you expand that reach.
If creating video content sounds overwhelming, know that more video content doesn't have to mean more work. Many brands skillfully convert video content from one platform to another. Check out Vivian from the Instagram feed and the TikTok feed from @ Coffeebae97.
Their Instagram feed consists mostly of video content and very similar content appears on their TikTok feed:
Vivian has garnered 13.3 million likes on TikTok by repurposing her content on both platforms, significantly doubling her reach on social media!
Not sure where to start? We have a full guide on how to do it Reuse video content for your feed, This is how you can start your first contribution!
Take Action in 2021: Share Your First Video Using Instagram Roles
If you haven't jumped on the reels train, now is the time to do it. Instagram Reels content is shared with all Instagram users, not just those who follow you. And since it's still fairly new, Instagram reels are given a high priority.
Instagram roles can be spotted in many places on the Instagram app – which is what makes this a big growth hack for 2021!
In fact, there are four ways people can discover your Instagram roles:
- The new Roles tab in the home screen navigation
- Scroll in the home feed
- The Explore page
- The Roles tab for individual profiles
If you want to get more exposure to your content, Instagram Reels is the best place to start.
For more information on creating your first Instagram Reels post, check out this video:
Social Media Prediction # 2: Social Shopping Will Be The Norm
Welcome to a new age of social media where e-commerce is central!
From Instagram's new shoppable features like Instagram reels shopping and Instagram live shoppingto TikTok's most recent partnership with Shopify and Live streaming shopping event with WalmartConsumers will start to feel very comfortable on social platforms.
You can start shopping at Reels starting today. Creators can tag products in roles. If you are interested, you can learn more about it inline. I am excited to see how this helps people find and share new things that they love. pic.twitter.com/vA26LF6Bpm
– Adam Mosseri @ (@mosseri) December 10, 2020
And that's great news from small businesses around the world – your digital storefront is another way to generate revenue for your business from COVID-19.
The work you put into optimizing your profiles now (be it on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or Pinterest) will serve you for months and even years.
Why? Because the customer journey started earlier on social media and ended on your website or online store. But now that journey is much, much shorter – a new customer can go from discovering your Instagram profile to buying their first product from your brand without ever leaving the app.
You can attract loyal customers with shippable posts, educational product videos, and a clear brand message on your social profiles.
Take Action in 2021: Improve Your Social Shopping Knowledge
If you are an ecommerce brand, now is the time to get your digital storefront up and running.
And the good news is we'll show you how! We believe that social e-commerce will mean big business for small brands. This year we will be releasing a range of new training courses, resources, guides, and live webinars to help prepare you for the shift.
Sign up for the later newsletter to be the first to know when we are launching a new resource and receive everything you need to be a social ecommerce expert!
Social Media Predictions # 3: Brands With Purpose Go Viral
That's right, our next forecast for 2021 is that brands and companies with a strong focus on social, environmental and ethical responsibility will thrive!
2020 was the year that sparked a riot – people found their voice on social media and (thankfully) brands stepped in to support them.
While it was a long overdue change of scene for the social space, we expect brands to lean into this change and raise the voices even further this year.
Today more than ever, brands need to support and share their mission. Not only does this help connect with their audience, but it also shows what they stand for, which is really important especially with Gen Zers.
"Gen Zers are much more inclined to vote with our dollars and believe a brand's values reflect our own," explains Gen Z expert (and Gen Zer!) Larry Milstein.
Some topics that are important to Gen Z are:
- LGBTQ + rights: 60% von Gen Zers think same-sex couples should be able to adopt children
- Diversity: 60% von Gen Zers say that increased racial and ethnic diversity is good for society
- Social responsibility: 70% Gen Zers try to buy from companies they believe are ethical
"We are three times more likely than older generations to believe that a company has a role to play in making society better," added Larry.
Regardless of your business model, now is the time to strategize content for your mission. Let your content let employees in and let them know how you're making changes.
Take underwear brand parade for example:
Parade's focus on body positivity and inclusivity is redefining the underwear industry. Not only does their content help normalize stretch marks and body hair, but they also value self-expression and advocate for LGBTQ + rights and the decriminalization of sex work.
With clearly defined values, Parade can stand out from other brands in its industry and make contact with their audiences.
Take Action in 2021: Identify Your Brand Values
If you haven't already, it is time for you to sit down and find out what your brand or business stands for and what actions you can take year round to better support and share this journey with our audience .
Do you need inspiration? Take a look at this 9 brands are driving meaningful change on Instagram!
Social Media Predictions # 4: Corporate responsibility conversations will continue, especially on LinkedIn
We mentioned earlier how 2020 was the year people found their activist voices on social media. It was a time for many brands to stop, reflect, and take action to better improve the diversity and inclusion in their business model and the content they share.
Transparency is a big thing on social media and your followers' trust isn't gained overnight.
We hope that 2021 will bring more discussion and a much more open dialogue about how brands can better improve and represent their communities and missions.
And Instagram is the perfect platform for B2C transparency – for example @paynterjacket. From their Instagram content to their email marketing, they continually keep their audiences updated on their mission and practices.
You can also turn your promises into action with the content you want to share.
However, given the corporate culture, expect a lot more brands to talk about their policy changes and corporate responsibility online, especially on LinkedIn.
With LinkedIn Marketing, brands have the opportunity to become thought leaders on the platform and promote much broader reform that goes beyond their individual Instagram feeds or story content.
And that's a social change we're looking forward to in 2021!
Take Action in 2021: Convenient Sharing on LinkedIn
Talking about your brand's challenges online can feel unnatural – it's a vulnerable position to be in. But it can go a long way in building trust and establishing your brand as an industry thought leader.
If you want to make a real impact in your industry, familiarize yourself with The latest tools from LinkedInand develop strategies to become more socially transparent.
Social Media Predictions # 5: Educational contributions will continue to be big drivers of engagement
Do you really want to involve your audience? Share educational content!
Let's talk about this first Instagram carousel posts – They are the perfect Instagram growth hack as they are the perfect tool for easy-to-share and educational content. And with likes to disappear, we say divisible and storable content will be even more important in 2021.
Look at how Instagram strategists Natasha Samuel creates educational carousel posts full of tips and tricks:
Next Up, Instagram guides – a brand new way to share and consume content on Instagram. Originally exclusive to a small group of health and wellness lawyers and developers, it's now available to everyone.
Have you always wanted to give your followers an extensive list of tips and tricks or detailed instructions directly on Instagram? Now you can!
Companies and developers get creative with the "Instagram Guides" feature. By curating these lists, you are providing additional information that will hopefully inspire them to share your tips with their followers.
To take @ jadedarmawangsa Example: "How do I write a diary (my 15-minute exercise)?"
This guide is an amazing resource for their followers who want to start journaling. Instead of putting these tips on her stories, Jade's journaling practice now lives * forever * under her How To tab.
Take Action in 2021: Create and Schedule an Educational Carousel Post
Familiarize yourself with apps like Canva and over They have tons of ready-made templates that you can use for text-based Instagram posts. All you have to do is pocket your content!
You can then schedule your carousel contribution with Later. Simply upload your designed images to your media library and select the images you want to make a carousel post. Schedule the time you'd like to post and we'll send you a notification when the time is right!
Social Media Predictions # 6: Meme Culture is here to stay (at least for 2021!)
It's been a rough year, and when done right, memes provided the comic book relief we all needed on social media.
But brands didn't jump on memes just for the fun factor – they're also a tactical way to grow your audience and increase engagement.
The best memes are shared with friends, reposted in stories, and saved for later. Hence, it makes sense to spend time developing original memes that have the potential to go viral.
To take @Ritual for example. The modern vitamin brand often publishes funny, pop culture memes that demonstrate their ethos and brand values - while engaging audiences in a reliable way. Check out this perfectly matched Thanksgiving meme on her feed:
Take Action in 2021: Experiment with Memes on Your Feed
Get inspiration from mega brands like ritual, Saint Hoax, Girl boss, and Curology how to create the perfect meme for your brand.
Looking for even more strategic advice on memes? Check out our Guide to Using Instagram Memes to Increase Engagement!
Social Media Predictions # 7: Stories About Content on Any Platform (And We Mean Any Platform!)
Stories are a perfect example of how social media and the way we consume content are changing.
When Instagram first introduced Stories to the app in 2016, 150 million People used the feature.
Now over 500 million People use stories every day – and every major social network has some kind of story-like feature in Work.
Meanwhile, YouTube stories were introduced in 2018 for developers with more than 10,000 subscribers, which are characterized by a lifespan of 7 days and not the usual 24-hour window.
LinkedIn has also announced LinkedIn storiesThis adds a professional touch to the 24-hour format that we all know and love.
And it doesn't stop there. Twitter fleets, Spotify stories, and Pinterest story pins It's also reportedly all tested before it's released – a clear sign that the Stories format is growing in popularity as users prefer to share authentic content in the moment.
What can a brand do in 2021? Focus on one main channel and learn how to reuse the content across multiple channels.
Even with all of the new platform-like platforms, Instagram still rules the neighborhood. So it pays to take the time to pin down your Instagram Stories content in 2021 and then decide how to keep expanding your network on other platforms.
Take Action in 2021: Schedule Instagram Stories
Schedule your Instagram stories You have time to work on other goals – for example, when navigating Twitter fleets for the first time!
With Later you can plan and plan your Instagram Stories content in a flash:
Social Media Predictions # 8: Influencer Marketing on TikTok is Becoming a Key Channel for Brands
We have long connected influencer marketing with Instagram – this is where the first brand ambassadors and paid partnerships were born.
However, expect influencer marketing to hit platforms like TikTok and Pinterest in the next year.
With the reach and engagement TikTok users can get per video, it's a breeze for kids and businesses to collaborate with influencers on the app.
Since advertising on TikTok itself still comes at a high price, we expect more and more brands to turn to influencers to target the TikTok audience.
To take @ doggface208 for example. A selfie video of him drinking Ocean Spray went viral on TikTok and became an incredible (and unforeseen!) Brand partnership.
@ 420doggface208Morning Vibe # 420souljahz #ec #feelinggood # h2o # cloud9 #happyhippie #worldpeace #king #peaceup #merch #tacos #waterislife #high #morning # 710 # cloud9 ♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac
Ocean Spray caught the wind of this viral video and immediately jumped on board – sent him Ocean Spray product, merch, and a car! Yes, you heard that right.
In this case, spontaneity, randomness and TikTok trending culture brought this partnership together. However, that doesn't mean that your brand or company can't. With a little planning and pitching, think about all of the influencer marketing opportunities.
Take Action in 2021: Make a List of Your Favorite Micro-Influencers on TikTok
If you haven't already, make a list of local micro-influencers you'd like to work with on TikTok. Having a local and small start is a great way to dip your toes into the world of influencer marketing.
If you don't have space in the budget, that's fine! A simple DM can go a long way. This can be as simple as sending a message saying you love their content or asking if you could send them your product to try out (without expecting them to post it).
This early communication can help build a relationship and open the door to potential opportunities in the future.
Social Media Predictions # 9: Go Live or Go Home
From Zoom, IGTV and Instagram Lives, 2020 was the year of virtual events. Virtual events are one thing, but live virtual events are another!
With the year 2021 approaching, live content will continue to fill our feeds. In fact, live content won't be available as quickly, especially since it is a key feature on most social media platforms – LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
But why is live content so popular? Simply put, live content is a unique way to bring communities together, providing real-time connections and information for those who normally don't have access.
For example, let's look at @verzuztv. Her idea was to have live singing competitions between famous musicians that are hosted on Instagram Live.
What started as a fun idea during the initial COVID-19 lockdown, the Verzuz Battle is now bringing record-breaking Instagram Live numbers (and even Apple TV streams!).
Spoiler Alert – You don't need to have record numbers or famous artists on hand to have a successful Instagram Live! If you are a brand or a company, you can take advantage of your network and create some kind of competition for your community to watch.
For example, if you are a bakery, you can bake live between two bakers. You can even use the new Instagram Live shopping tool to highlight the different products used.
Take Action in 2021: Familiarize Yourself with Live Platforms
Since there are many platforms to choose from, we'll let you in on our favorites: Instagram and Facebook Live. Have a look around and familiarize yourself with the platforms before jumping in.
Ready? Here are our extensive guides to get you started Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
BONUS social media prediction! The use of data storytelling in social networks
You heard it here first – data storytelling is here to stay!
More and more brands are embracing the trend and using data storytelling to not only bring their current audience together, but also to reach new and larger audiences.
Spotify's unwrapped campaign is a good example of this. With individual personalized user data, every Spotify user feels seen and heard by the brand. And as we've seen on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram, Spotify users are being encouraged to share their raw results on social media.
There are many ways that you can use data storytelling for your brand or business.
Some companies take the roundup approach. To take Goodreads for example. They create individual landing pages for each of their users, listing data and statistics on their reading habits for 2020.
As a small brand or business, you can use your own analytics to do it on your own social media. For example, browse your analysis and see which of your Instagram posts had the most likes or which products had the most sales.
To reuse content and drive engagement, you can round up and re-share (or add to an Instagram guide!) Your top five posts or products.
2021 is just around the corner and with so much change With these 9 predictions, you'll be better prepared for the future of social media marketing – and you can start allocating the resources necessary for your strategy.
Whatever your strategies for 2021, Later is here to help Plan, plan and publish on your favorite platforms – free!
Nikki is Later's editor-in-chief. She has worked in digital media in Dublin, London and Sydney and loves nothing more than posting a new post. When she's not blogging with the Later team, find her out with her dog Arlie or planning her next adventure – follow @nikkitravelled.