With everything and anything available online, it’s no surprise that social media will play an even bigger part in digital marketing strategies for this year. 2020 brought us more online shopping and zoom calls than we knew what to do with. So, what trends from last year will stick and what are the upcoming social media marketing trends for 2021?
Virtual Events and Experiences
COVID-19 gave us virtual events out of necessity. Despite this sudden shift, companies found that going virtual opened them up to an entirely new audience since virtual events are more accessible than in-person events. Social media, especially, offers the unique opportunity of engaging directly with users. You can go live right on the spot to immediately connect with followers, as well as plan live virtual events for people to digitally attend. Yes, there can be risks and complications that happen during a live event, but the reward far outweighs them. For example, if you own a clothing retail business, consider hosting a live virtual event on your social media to introduce new products and answer customer questions, or plan a virtual party with product giveaways and fashion styling tips for the new seasons. Events like these open two-way communication between you and your customer, which is more powerful than simply broadcasting something pre-recorded.
While in-person interaction is still limited, virtual interaction is limitless. 2021 will lead to enriching online platforms by refining the user experience. This might mean using a tool, such as Linktree, to help users navigate to any page of your website straight from Instagram. The ultimate goal is to break down the barriers on your social profiles so your customers can easily contact your business or directly purchase products from your social profile.
User-Generated Content and Customer Experience
Customer experience is more important now than it has ever been. More and more people rely on fellow consumer experiences and reviews. Personally, I never purchase a product until I have read some sort of customer review, especially since I’m online shopping more than in-person shopping. Having good customer reviews has long been an effective way for brands to show they are trustworthy and provide an excellent customer experience, but how is this continuing to evolve?
Consumers want enjoyable, easy, and memorable experiences with brands. An easy way to advertise this for your business in a sincere and organic way is through user-generated content (UGC). UGC is ideal for connective content. It can build and strengthen your community of loyal customers and provides social proof that potential customers can trust your brand. UGC can also be relatable and uplifting to other loyal or potential customers. Here are some ideas to promote UGC:
- Create a hashtag that brings the focus back to your customers. Customers will be more likely to use the hashtag if it’s more personable and relatable to them. Make sure you share this hashtag with your followers and use strong calls-to-action.
- Add signage/ messaging to your website or storefront. Encourage your customers to review your products or services in your store or on your website.
- Feature customer photos on your website or social profiles. This is beneficial to both the consumer and the brand! Incorporating customer photos will help others draw relatable experiences between the product and the image, while simultaneously celebrating some of your loyal customers.
SEO on Instagram
Instagram is officially becoming more search-friendly, which means that search engine optimization will become a big advantage to Instagram marketing. Now, with no hashtag required, you can search for keywords in the search bar, and relevant videos, profiles, and posts should populate. Take early advantage of this update and make sure your captions include relevant keywords that will help expand your reach. You should also consistently post content that’s relative to your niche. It might even be worth it to update your Instagram bio to include SEO friendly words for your business. For example, if you run a dog training business, you’ll want to focus on posting content about do training and avoid content that falls into an unrelated category. You’d also want to include phrases like “dog training” or “dog trainer” in your bio. Having those keywords gives your profile a better chance of popping up when someone searches for dog training services.
This new search feature on Instagram will also apply to the platform’s new video-sharing center: Reels. Much like Tik Tok, this side of Instagram delivers quick 15-30 second content. Businesses can take advantage of this by creating quick, attention-grabbing moments that consumers can save or share. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. Even hopping on board with a current trend and putting your own spin on it is a good place to start. Instagram SEO comes into play with Reels through the video captions. What you put in the caption can encourage users to take action on your content and can even help your video perform better in the Instagram algorithm.
So, Now What?
The most important thing to remember with these social media marketing trends for 2021 is to remain consistent in your strategy. Results don’t happen overnight, so don’t change your strategy if you don’t see immediate results. There will always be more updates and new apps to consider, but it all comes down to what’s best for your own brand. Your strategy can totally depend on what performs best with your ideal customer.
As always, do plenty of research into anything new you’re wanting to try on your social media platforms. If you’re wanting to explore new opportunities in social media marketing, but find that you need some help, contact us here. We’d love to chat about your marketing options!