What a year it’s been. Though there have been very few winners in 2020, social media as an industry has thrived.
Businesses of varying sizes and across nearly all industries have seen the potential that social media marketing has to drive sales, especially when more traditional forms of advertising have been taken off the table. Moving forward, it’s reasonable to suspect that businesses will continue to buy in.
Investing in social means more than just putting money behind a campaign. It requires a strategy that fits with what consumers are responding to, and one that meets them halfway. In this article, I’ll share the social media marketing trends that are on the horizon for 2021.
1. It Pays to Be Socially-Conscious
It bears mentioning that this trend has been growing for years, but in 2020 it’s finally taken a firm hold and looks to stay that way moving forward: consumers have spoken, and brands who display awareness toward social causes have grown in popularity.
While some brands have certainly taken stances that feel political, you don’t have to pick a side. Instead, focus on the things that everyone can get behind: charitable donations, unifying messages, and a commitment to the local community.
The bottom line is people feel better about themselves when they buy from brands that have a conscience. Let your potential customers know that your business wants to make the world a better place.
2. Start a Conversation
Social media is a unique form of advertising because it allows for a two-way conversation that you just can’t get through TV, radio, and other forms of traditional media. It’s important to make this dialogue a part of your strategy.
Don’t fall into the trap of simply posting and forgetting. When your online audience takes the time to engage, make them feel important! Research has shown that when brands develop a back-and-forth approach to marketing, trust and brand loyalty increase exponentially.
3. Embrace the Funnel
The “buyer’s journey” typically involves more than just a user seeing a single ad and converting. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to present your advertisement in different ways to different audiences.
The digital marketing sales funnel works by first exposing your brand to a large audience, then focusing on the follow-up to users who have engaged with your initial advertisement. The stages of the sales funnel include:
At the top of the funnel your objective should be to cast a wide net. Get your name out there in front of as many people as possible.
After someone has shown interest in your brand, typically via website visit, retargeting comes into play. Your overall audience size at this stage might decrease, but those who do see your ad will already have been introduced to your offerings.
Once you’ve established several touchpoints with your audience, it’s time to start selling. The key metric at this stage should be conversions.
First-time customers are great, but lifetime customers are even better! Keep your customers engaged post-purchase and develop brand loyalty by showing them other products or services they may be interested in, now and in the future.
4. User Generated Content (UGC)
The idea of repurposing content from happy customers is nothing new, but social media has made it easier and more cost-effective than ever before. The question to ask is: What’s the best way to get users involved?
One way to make sure you’re not missing out on any potential UGC is by creating a hashtag that your followers can use when they post about your brand. This is especially true when it comes to Instagram.
If possible, create an incentive for your customers. One example would be running a photo contest where users submit images of them using your products.
At the end of the day, consumers trust other consumers more than anything else. Put happy customers front and center and watch the snowball effect take place.
5. Stay Current
Staying on top of the latest social media trend-of-the-week can be a job in and of itself. The window to capitalize on them in a marketing capacity is small, but can be highly effective when done correctly.
If your audience skews younger, this is a great way to grab their attention and invite them to join the conversation.
6. Going Live
Since the pandemic and associated stay-at-home orders began in March of 2020, live video content has exploded in popularity. And we’re not just talking about your work-from-home Zoom meetings.
Not only does live content inherently generate a sense of urgency, but it also shows your audience that there are, in fact, real people behind the brand. Going live on Facebook or Instagram helps build a personal connection that doesn’t feel like advertising.
Make sure to promote your live event on your social media profiles beforehand and you might be surprised at the number of people who turn out to see what you have to say.
7. Don’t Forget About Pinterest
If you’re only advertising on Facebook or Instagram, you’re missing out on a huge consumer segment. Pinterest has exploded in 2020 as people desperately search for new content to consume while staying home.
The difference between Pinterest and other social platforms is that users are more receptive to learning about new products while they browse. If you haven’t taken the time to learn how to use Pinterest’s marketing platform, it’s a worthwhile investment.
As we say goodbye to 2020, the main focus for marketers is taking what we learned during the pandemic and deciding which tactics have staying power moving forward. Nobody can predict the future, but we can certainly learn from the past.
If your business needs assistance in putting together a comprehensive plan for 2021, get in touch today to discuss and develop a strategy that gets results.