We’re going to go out on a limb and guess that you’re probably reading this post on your iPhone (or your Android for the outliers). There’s also a high probability that you landed here from our Instagram or LinkedIn page. Were we right? Knew it.
It’s not that we’re tracking your every move. We’re simply tuned in to the way more people are spending their time online, specifically social media. You don’t need to check your screen time stats to know that social media usage has reached new heights. We’re logging on more, staying on longer, and using it in new ways, from shopping and brand discovery to news and education. We took a dive into the new tools and platform features that are gaining momentum to bring you the top trends to pay attention to.
Reel in the content
Just when we all thought we had found our groove on social media, Tik Tok came along and changed everything. Before you ask, the answer is no, you don’t need to sign up for a TikTok account (yet). But you should know that it has put video and reels at the top of the most shared content on social media. With TikTok’s popularity, Instagram’s push towards Reels and Live, Pinterest Video Pins, LinkedIn Stories, and the OG, YouTube, video will be the preferred method of content in 2021.
While creating video content is more time-consuming, it can lead to the most follower growth and visibility. In fact, Instagram rewards users with more algorithm visibility and engagement for posting Reels, partly to bring attention to this relatively new feature and also to outshine their competitors (aka TikTok). In short, take a look at thoughtful strategies to add quality video to your content strategy and you’ll see your social media following grow.
The rise of info-social
Amid a global pandemic, a heightened election year, and the rise of a racial justice movement, the way we use social media shifted. It became an essential tool, not just for connecting with friends during quarantine, but also for staying informed and learning. As a result, there has been a growing trend toward educational, informative, and knowledge-based content. In fact, TikTok reported 14 million of these types of posts created last year alone. That’s great news for businesses. It opened platforms like Instagram to more industries that might not have had a social presence before—everything from realtors and personal finance experts to medical professionals and B2B brands. Listen, if the NYSE can have a successful Instagram, anyone can.
One way to share educational content on social media is with carousel posts. With the ability to share up to 10 images in one post, it’s a great tool for breaking down information-heavy content into fun, bite-sized posts that keeps viewers engaged longer.
New ways to search
Search terms and SEO is embedded in the way we use the internet, so it was only a matter of time before its functionality reached social media. Instagram recently announced that it will give users the ability to search for specific keywords—a step up from how it’s been done, which was limited to user names, locations, and hashtags. For example, if you wanted to show up for relevant searches, you had to include the right hashtags in order to appear in those channels. Now, you have more opportunities to have your content discovered by incorporating keywords in your captions. For example, if you search “custom home design,” Instagram will populate recommended posts and accounts that contain that keyword. It’s just a matter of creating a caption that incorporates the right terms while still remaining engaging. Our copywriters are standing by.
Listen first, post second
If you haven’t heard of social listening before, it’s something you will want to add to your toolkit. By tracking the social behavior of your customers and target audience, you can learn more about what’s important to them, new trends in your industry, insights on the competition, and so much more. By taking a holistic approach to your social media presence and utilizing platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit, among others, you can gain a better understanding of your brand sentiment and drive your marketing strategy to fit.
Brands, take a stand
Purpose is everything and the importance of purpose-driven brands holds more weight for today’s consumers than ever before. We’re seeing an increase of brands using social platforms to take a stand, support causes, and advocate for the greater good of society. This became especially apparent during the social unrest of 2020. Brands that remained quiet or “neutral,” were perceived in a negative light while those that took a stand and acted with purpose saw 3x faster growth than their competitors. Today’s consumers vote with their dollars and authentic, humanized brands will be the ones rewarded.
Before taking a stand on social media, reflect on your company values, diversity, culture, and practices to ensure they align with what you say. It might mean making changes or putting a plan of action in place, but that’s okay. Share it. People want to hear how brands are rewiring their structure to better society and do more. It’s less about perfection and all about humanizing your efforts.