Social Media Marketing Trends for 2021

Have you ever read Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth? At the end, Milo – the protagonist – looks at the world around him in a new-found appreciation for a lot of things he took for granted before. For a lot of people 2020 was their Phantom Tollbooth moment. Forced to stay indoors because of COVID-19, many found new ways to connect (or, in some cases, reconnect) to the world around them. Feeling ourselves back into the world in 2021, we too will look at everything in a whole new light with a vision shaped by what we learned while we were in lockdown. Social Media marketing doesn’t escape this. If you haven’t noticed, things are quite a bit different now than they were a year ago and you need to acknowledge this if you want your business to move forward. So read on to catch up on the top five social media marketing trends for 2021.

Trend #1: The Boomers are in the building

The baby-boomer generation is now in their mid-50s or older. Before the pandemic, a lot of people in this demographic hadn’t really gotten involved in the world of social media. If you have relatives in this 55-75 age group, you probably heard the line of “not having enough time” to learn about using social media. With most younger family members now at home and willing to teach them, boomers have really gotten into the game. Over 70% of people over 55 bought something online in the past month and the number is growing. If you don’t want to get stuck, don’t forget about the older audiences out there. And social media marketing agency in Chicago can target both younger and older audiences. 

Trend #2: Video is still big… but there are changes

Video marketing on YouTube is still going strong and is likely to remain so for some time. More people are looking at reviewer’s comments before deciding on buying items and more people are clicking on YouTube ads and proceeding to make purchases. That’s all great for advertisers, but there is something to consider. Recent studies point out that the average attention span for a YouTube ad is under 8 seconds, so the new trend here is getting the audience’s attention as soon as you can. If you haven’t nabbed their interest in 8 seconds, your ad will most likely be dismissed.

But there’s more to videos than just YouTube. There’s another big player in the game right now. As of writing this article, TikTok has been installed over a billion times and over 2 billion videos are watched on this platform every single day. So TikTok is another trend that can’t be ignored in 2021.

Trend #3: Environmental Consciousness

People have become a lot more environmentally aware in the last few years. This includes everything from being aware of the packaging their products come in to preferring brands that are more sustainable and perceived as “greener”. Product reviews are mentioning packaging and environment-friendly practices more prominently. So there are two trends that you can use here. First of all, you should absolutely do everything you can to make your brand greener. It’ll make it easier for buyers to like your brand. Second, once you do get environmentally friendlier, you have to get that information into all your ads and social media posts. Now that you have it, flaunt it.

Trend #4: Social Consciousness

Take a moment to think about the marketing campaigns you remember most from 2020. There’s a good chance they involved giving something either to people suffering the consequences of COVID-19 or the ones fighting it on the front lines. Maybe it’s the fast-food chain that offered free meals to healthcare workers; maybe it’s the big corporation that donated hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of soap, bleach and sanitizer to COVID-19 relief efforts; or the fashion company that had their workers switch to making masks. These companies managed to make people believe they cared about what was going on in the world. And consumers like companies that care about them. So think about the ways in which your brand can show people you care.

Trend #5: Inclusivity and Diversity

Recent events have shown just how much people care about diversity and inclusivity. Whether it’s gender, race or both, people are really invested in this issue. And brands are noticing. Whether it’s a company removing a face from a product or films and books being removed from catalogs because of racial stereotypes, animated characters being cut from stories because they apparently promote socially unacceptable behavior or big cosmetics companies choosing to feature transgender models, there are signs all around us that show how much brands are listening to what people are passionate about. Your brand won’t be able to grow and prosper if you don’t show your customers that you care just as much about those issues that are so important to them.

Bonus Trend: Consumer participation

Buyers don’t just rely on information provided by brands when deciding whether to purchase a product. They look for information from people who are actually using those products. And this doesn’t just mean reviewers on YouTube or other social media. People like to hear what the average, ordinary person on the street thinks about a product. Brands that are aware of this can use it to their advantage. They can let users submit pictures, videos and other materials that showcase their product being used in their day-to-day lives. There are some very powerful, effective campaigns being run by big brands and made completely from user-generated content.

In Conclusion…

The world is slowly getting back on its feet after the hard blow it suffered in the form of COVID-19. But being locked in our homes has allowed us to value a lot of things we used to take for granted and given us an appreciation of brands and companies who were able to do the same. This is what is shaping the new social media marketing trends for 2021, some of which we’ve outlined here. But if you take a closer look at most of these trends, whether is acknowledging that an older audience is more active in social media, being more environmentally or socially conscious, being more diverse or inclusive or letting consumers take part in creating campaign content, all of that boils down to just one thing: authenticity. If you want your social media marketing to succeed in 2021, your brand has to be authentic and tightly connected to your consumers’ interests and personalities.