In July, the number of social media users reached 4.57 billion – aka HALF of our world’s population. You read that right – even with all the babies, Grandma’s who claim they can’t use the computer, and people without access to the internet, HALF the people on this planet are on social media.
Even if you hate it, your brand can’t avoid it. It doesn’t matter your industry, in 2021 you must figure out how to tap into this immense network for the betterment of your brand. Fortunately, there are more social media platforms available now than ever before – each with its own style and unique captive audience. This makes the opportunity to reach your target audience easier than ever – if you keep your consumer in mind.
With that, I wanted to offer a few things you need to keep in mind for 2021…
Facebook really is king – at least for paid social.
In 2020, Facebook had a hard year. I mean, we all had a hard year, but Facebook had a really hard year reputation-wise. Movies like The Great Hack and The Social Dilemma exposed how this platform monetizes user data to a wider audience, causing many to question the platform’s integrity.
However, Facebook is also one of the most effective advertising platforms out there for brands. If you aren’t purchasing ads on Facebook to reach your target audience yet, chances are your competitors are. This isn’t without limits, and it’s easy to overspend, so it’s important to know how much you are willing to pay for a lead at different stages of your sales cycle to stay profitable.
Facebook is also a great place to humanize your brand because users are often there to connect with their immediate friends and family. If you have a strong, mission-driven organization – and can showcase that on your Facebook page – you may be able to bypass the ads and set your company up for success.
Let’s see your true colors (shining through)
Authenticity will prevail in 2021! With a growing appetite for visual content and video, 2021 offers an opportunity to give a face – and a full fledged personality – to your brand. This can take the form of your CEO, or highlight members across your organization who share the same mission.
Beyond making your brand more recognizable, this also differentiates you from your competition. While another company may make XYZ Gizmo, they don’t have the team or the personalities that you do. Use this to your advantage, and build a connection with your audience.
This ties in well with the next trend…
Video Killed the Radio Star!
Or in this case, video killed visual. I may be exaggerating, but we are seeing that consumers – especially younger audiences – would rather consume video than any other type of content. The good news is this doesn’t mean the high budget video content we saw five or ten years ago. Instead, TikTok is driving the popularity of off the cuff, “lo-fi” and livestream video.
Fortunately for your brand, this means that ANYONE can make video content that is engaging to consumers, even with no video budget. And social platforms are rewarding the pages that are jumping on this trend by helping them appear in more organic search results. According to Michelle Goodall, CMO at Access Intelligence, “Consumers during lockdown have embraced Instagram Live, Zoom and other video platforms and this use and acceptance of lo-fi 1:1 video content is increasingly being mirrored by many brands, sometimes through necessity.”
Not sure where to start? See what is on your own feed. To create content as a brand, you can’t forget about the consumer, so think about what types of videos you like to watch. Still stumped? Ask your friends and family! We all are consuming more video content than ever, so they may have an idea based on videos they have seen.
Shop Until You Drop (On Instagram)
Do you have an online store? Beyond having your own ecommerce website, social channels are making it easier than ever to sell directly on their platform, transforming into a true sales channel for your business. As many people continue to be more comfortable shopping online than in brick-and-mortar stores, social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are integrating in-app purchasing into profiles.
If you would like to take advantage of these new functions, survey your audience to determine what they want from an online offering. Once you have this insight, sign up for both Instagram and Facebook shopping so you can link products directly in your posts. This creates a more seamless shopping experience for your consumer – that hopefully makes it even easier for them to click “check out”!
Content Conversation, Not Just Creation
Pumping out content is no longer enough. You need to be creating a two-way dialogue that builds loyalty among your consumers. Just like you should be thinking about showing your personality on social media through created content, engaging with what others post is equally as important.
Along with the demand for more accessible video content, consumers are looking for more transparency and conversation from brands in general. This starts in the comments section, but can extend into live Q&As for consumers, quick messaging response, and even sharing user-generated content about your brand.
Are you ready for 2021?
I know, I know – this sounds like a lot to keep up with! But in reality, these different activities all work together to help enhance your brand’s social media presence.
If you’re still not sure where to start, reach out! I’m offering free digital reputation audits to identify where a little PR support might be able to help you get a handle on some of these updates.