Social media trends to watch in 2021

Talkwalker, a social listening and analytics company, and HubSpot, a leading growth platform, have published their latest “Social Media Trends Report”. The report helps marketers and top global brands steer their strategy in the right direction for 2021, by leveraging these consumer insights and trends. 

Talkwalker and HubSpot have identified the following main social media trends for 2021.

The impact of socially conscious audiences

The rise of socially conscious Generation the future Generation Alpha will have a tremendous impact on brands, politics, and society as a whole. Companies will have to engage more with topics like mental health, inclusivity, and social justice, or face becoming irrelevant – and potentially, obsolete – in 2021.

The rise of digital disinformation

Social media has always blurred the lines between fact and fiction – from the highly edited lives of some Instagrammers, to Twitter parody accounts. But the coronavirus has brought the issue to the forefront. Society is facing an uncertain future. This uncertainty has created a hotbed of misinformation – with false stories leading to life-changing decisions. Expect 2021 to be the year brands and social media channels focus on highlighting the truth, and silencing ‘fake news.’

Social media giants adapt to the new normal

The dominant social media platforms of today will be just as significant in 2021 and beyond. They may have new features and will adapt to the trends in their own particular way. But their significance is unlikely to dwindle in the coming years.

Old-school marketing for a new market

In 2021 we will see a rise in “old-school marketing” as brands switch back to a simpler way of engaging consumers.

Social gaming = gaming social

As lockdown took hold, people turned to video games as another form of distraction. Yet gaming is no longer just about playing to win. Communities have risen within and around games, creating entire communities dedicated to the various fanbases.

Plus, as we learn more about how players benefit from games, developing relatable skills that are valuable within the real world, in 2021 we should see the stigmatism associated with gaming lift, and brands become more focused on these relevant communities.

A little more conversation(al) marketing

Marketing is now a two-way street. Brands can no longer shout their messages at their audience and hope for the best. Instead, it’s about conversations and connections – having conversations with consumers to build those relationships. And create sales.

The pandemic has brought this to the forefront. Sales are no longer top priority for customers – it’s information, engagement, and social issues. Connecting with those stories will be key for engagement.

Nostalgia marketing

It’s easy to look back on 2019, and think how much better it was. The positive emotions connected with the “good old days” help boost current emotions. And that’s where the power and the appeal of nostalgia marketing lies. It connects strong positive emotions to your brand. It gives it a sentimental boost.

During times of uncertainty and economic downturn, it appears more frequently as consumers look to connect with happier times to distract from current situations.

Memetic messaging

Forget emoji. Bin the GIFs. Memes are now the way to communicate. They’re spreading across the internet as a fun way to engage communities. But, it’s not just cat pictures. As per any communication, they can be used to manipulate the mindset of viewers. They can be used to normalize extreme behavior, like external agencies interfering with elections or other major events. In 2021, you need to be ready to protect your brand from memes.

The four Cs of coronavirus content

Even if the pandemic is resolved in 2021, the repercussions will be felt for years to come. The shadow cast by coronavirus will most likely linger, making it hard for consumers to simply forget its consequences.

Brands will need to adapt their communications with this in mind – with the tone of 2021 shaped by the 4 Cs of coronavirus content: 

  • Community 
  • Contactless 
  • Cleanliness
  • Compassion

Remixing is the new UGC

User-generated content is nothing new. But the way it’s created is. Remixing is on the rise, through apps like TikTok or Koji. Taking existing formats, templates, or ideas, and recreating them to express a user’s own personality or ideas.

Expect 2021 to bring even more opportunities for remixing, with brands taking the opportunity to use it to engage with new audiences and create additional content for their brand.

Get the whole report here.

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