The new year is here and we are all excited to see what it holds. While no one actually has a crystal ball to show us the future, experts can make educated predictions about what upcoming trends we may encounter. These predictions are helpful for businesses when creating their annual strategic plan.
One industry that heavily relies on predictions is social media marketing. Sensational social media trends can come and go in the blink of an eye. While it is almost impossible to tell what the next viral post or video will be, you can determine primary trends that will affect different platforms for months – and even years – to come.
For example, we all know ecommerce has been big for years, but in 2020 it exploded. As we enter 2021 and an evolving COVID-19 landscape thanks to the vaccine, experts predict that companies will continue to focus on the accessibility of online shopping. To that end, social media is making it easier for retailers to enter the ecommerce marketplace. We expect to see more platforms either integrating ecommerce into their system or expanding what already exists.
Social Platforms and 2021
Even through the highs and lows of 2020, Facebook remains the goliath of social media sites and will be setting the tone for what changes other platforms are likely to follow. They will follow overarching trends and focus on ecommerce, primarily with their development of an in-app payment system called Facebook Pay and an integration of more shopping posts to user feeds. Facebook has also started merging Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Messages, and WhatsApp to make it easier for brands to advertise across all three functions. However, depending on the outcome of the antitrust lawsuit, this could all change if Facebook is forced to sell Instagram and WhatsApp.
Instagram will be following its parent company’s lead and focusing more on ecommerce in 2021. The biggest update we anticipate is in-stream shopping. Instagram will be working to add advanced one-click purchases, enable product tags in videos, and utilize augmented reality (AR) try-on tools so you know how a piece of clothing or shade of lipstick will look before you buy it. This may seem like an extremely out-of-reach goal, but Facebook is looking to release their AR glasses by the end of 2021.
Twitter will mainly rely on their unique position as a hub of real-time updates that keep up with the latest information on a variety of topics and opinions going into 2021. One major development from 2020 that will carry into this year is the introduction of topic focuses. Last year, Twitter started suggesting topics to users based on who they follow and what tweets they interact with on the platform. Twitter is also expected to create a “topics” page on which Twitter’s team will compile information on different subjects to create a topic hub.
TikTok was the most downloaded app in 2020, and its popularity is not expected to decrease any time soon. Like other platforms, TikTok will be focusing on ecommerce in 2021. They won’t be taking their lead from Facebook, however, instead learning from their Chinese counterpart, Douyin (both apps are made by the same company, Bytedance). In a single year, Douyin made over $122 million in ecommerce through the use of product integration in videos. This is similar to what Instagram is planning by having a link embedded within the video that users can click on to purchase a product.
Compared to the “Big Three” of social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), businesses are less likely to have a branded Snapchat account; however, that may be changing as augmented reality (AR) continues to grow. Snapchat has been the industry leader in AR, so it is fitting that they will be the first social media platform with the capacity to scan barcodes and labels to provide more information about a product. This development will likely grow to include an ecommerce element, especially since Snapchat has partnered with Amazon to let content creators sell their merchandise directly in-app.
LinkedIn will be looking to expand its virtual event functions. Even as social distancing restrictions are expected to lift, this low-cost alternative to in-person events is unlikely to go away since companies will be able to save money. LinkedIn will also continue to develop their video library – potentially even adding a video section – since users are 20 times more likely to share a video than any other type of post. Improved data-matching in the Career Explorer tool is also on the list for LinkedIn. They hope to help users find their ideal career path based on acquired skills and experience.
The social media universe is a continuously changing world! You can bet we will be following all the developments to help our clients take advantage of everything social media has to offer. If you need help, we’re here for you. That’s My Idea! Marketing. Your Marketing Department for Hire.