The social media landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and even more so now, in the midst of COVID-19. Do brands need to rethink their strategy? According to Adweek, organizations have been developing products faster than ever during the pandemic. Now is the time for marketers to rethink their brand identity, video content, and sales tactics, as consumers are supporting brands more than ever before.
A surge in social media
When you’re stuck inside your house 24/7, you crave personal interaction and entertainment to keep yourself from going totally batty. From binge-watching the latest Netflix Original (hello “Queen’s Gambit”!), to having your own personal living room premiere of “Wonder Woman” on HBO Max, streaming and other OTT services surged (the short-lived platform Quibi notwithstanding). That much-needed personal interaction typically came in the form of social media. In times of crisis, we want to come together, and social media helped us do just that while quarantined.
In July of 2020, the number of social media users reached 4.57 billion (which equates to half the global population), as predicted by Hootsuite and We Are Social. The study also reported that 346 million new users joined social media in the 12 months prior. According to Sebastian Redenz, Head of Paid Social, Havas Media Group, Facebook remained on top during the pandemic.
“Facebook is a winner in the pandemic, and brands’ continued investment is proof that it’s a very effective advertising platform, combining granularity with scale. Facebook is heavily protected by its underlying bidding model, which means as soon as one advertiser drops out, another one takes its spot. No business can afford to see competitors taking their place, which is why all clients quickly returned their spend to Facebook,” said Sebastian.
With the kind of social growth we saw in 2020, how will social continue to evolve in 2021? According to this article by Econsultancy, the following are some of the trends that we can expect to see in the coming year:
- More real-time sharing and live video
- Thriving e-commerce and more sales through social
- Increased messaging around brand relevance
- The use of more voice and face-to-face platforms
- The use of new tools to gain consumer insights
- Rise in multiple formats and owned social media channels
With regard to that last bullet, that’s where a tool like UNUM comes into play. Having one centralized hub where you and your team can plan, design, and manage all of your social media content will make your life easier, work more efficient, and branding more consistent.
The biggest prediction for 2021 is that video content will reign, so marketers will need to beef up their content across all social networks in order to stay relevant. Later.com predicts that “the key to making video a success in 2021 is to strategically think about your audience and tap into them when they’re the most comfortable.” There is no better time than the present to dig deep into your market’s demographic and learn where they will engage the most, whether that be TikTok or YouTube, for example.
Another prediction is that social shopping will become the norm. E-commerce will take center stage in 2021, and brands will need to amp up their game in order to stand out among competitors. Instagram has recently revealed Instagram Reels Shopping, and TikTok has partnered with Shopify through a live-streamed shopping event with Walmart. New shoppable features such as these will force consumers to become very comfortable buying on social platforms.
The customer journey will most certainly be one that starts on social media and ends on a brand’s website or online store. Marketers will need to ensure that they have “shoppable” posts and a clear brand message in order to find and keep loyal customers. Changes to the social landscape are happening at a speed in which we’ve not seen before, making social strategy more important than ever. The key is to know your audience well and find new and creative ways to engage and capture the attention of your consumers in this ever-changing social landscape.