Sometimes life is unpredictable.
2020 proved that for everyone in the world!
So, it is understandable that giving you researched and backed predictions for social media marketing this year might make you go hmmm.
Social media marketing continues to be a solid marketing strategy, but only for businesses who keep up with the evolution of it all. Every year, new trends, tools, and apps make their way on the market — and businesses can’t afford to ignore them.
But trying to keep up with predictions for social media marketing trends is a feat all on its own. Thankfully, we’re here to do the legwork for you.
In this post, we’ll cover 8 predictions for social media marketing in 2021, and which action steps you need to take to grow your brand.
1. A Rise of Micro-influencers
The influencer game remains strong and will rise even more in 2021. It’s estimated that brands will spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022. And since social media usage continues to rise, it’s not looking like influencers are going away anytime soon.
But brands shouldn’t work with just any influencer. Brands need influencers who’ve built real relationships (and as a result have attracted high-quality followers). Notice we said ‘quality,’ not quantity. While growing your social following is important, it won’t help to have a bunch of followers if they aren’t quality leads.
This is especially important for B2B brands seeking to add value on their social media accounts and seek real buying customers. Consumers are fickle, but businesses are loyal to brands they believe in.
That’s where micro-influencers come in.
Micro-influencers are known for having high-quality followers in a specific niche, which is crucial to turning followers into repeat customers. They’re also known for being incredibly authentic storytellers which is ultimately why they work so well. Micro-influencers are involved in many platforms but primarily use Instagram for marketing campaigns.
Typically, businesses build social proof with help of tools like Yotpo or its alternatives. These tools survey your own clients or customers for feedback about your offering and showcase it to prospective buyers.
People in general are distrusting, so we genuinely believe a way to build social proof beyond your own clients is to partner with micro-influencers. Make sure to offer concrete value vs just buying their loyalty. If your product is good, it will prosper with a micro-influencer.
Let’s continue with the rest of our predictions for social media marketing for the remainder of this year.
Types of Posts Micro-influencers Use to Build Engagement:
- Collaboration partnerships
- Sponsored posts
- Polls and Surveys
- Highlighting important causes
- Thought leadership
For instance, take a look at how Gili Sports works with micro-influencers on their Instagram page:
In this example, the paddle board company is collaborating with two micro-influencers to promote a giveaway. The giveaway includes the chance to win a paddle board in exchange for liking and sharing the photo and following the influencers.
Whoever enters the giveaway is likely to turn into a high quality follower. Why? Because they want a paddle board, and they’re willing to take the time to enter for a chance to win one. If they don’t win, they’ll probably stick around anyway to see more awesome boards, and one day, they may buy one.
By focusing on using micro-influencers to speak to your ideal customer, you could attract tons of high-quality followers.
2. Social Commerce Will Increase
If you sell products, you could be leaving easy sales on the table if you don’t have a Facebook Shop or an Instagram shop. The global market for social commerce is projected to reach $604.5 Billion by 2027 so it’s no wonder more and more brands are getting serious about it.
Social commerce involves buying products directly from social media, unlike e-commerce which involves buying products from a website or dedicated app.
Since customers can purchase by clicking the shop button directly on the platform, you don’t risk losing the customer due to website lag times and having to click through multiple pages.
Note: Pinterest offers a shop for business accounts, but since shoppers are sent off Pinterest to complete the purchase, it’s not exactly considered ‘social commerce.’ But social platforms are known to evolve rapidly, so we’re keeping an eye on Pinterest in the meantime.
Runners Athletics has mastered social commerce with their Instagram Shop. Followers and Instagram users can purchase their sunglasses by clicking on the ‘View Shop’ button just below their Instagram bio.
They encourage even more customer purchases by sharing the shop in the newsfeed or in their stories.
Now, customers can easily shop without getting the runaround of annoying website pages and various lag times. Social commerce is a big deal for anyone who sells products.
3. Customer Service via Social Messaging
Providing customer service through social channels is another focus for 2021.
Social media are now fully integrated into the customer journey and used for customer service before and after selling. Over 76% of people who message businesses are looking to get customer support and 47% percent prefer brands that respond to customer service questions and complaints on social media.
Beyond messaging, customers also comment on posts and leave reviews with their concerns and complaints. To protect your brand, it’s important to respond to every customer (even if they leave a negative comment or review). The way you respond not only represents your brand image and identity but also gives you the opportunity to retain that customer and others who may share the same concern.
For example, take a look at how Buzzsprout turned an unhappy customer into a raving fan on their Facebook page:
In this example, Buzzsprout acknowledges the customer’s concern and apologizes.
They ask the customer to send them a direct message with their contact information so they can investigate further and they end the reply by thanking the customer.
The result? A happy customer who adds an update that his concern was resolved.
Don’t skimp out on social media customer support for your brand!
4. SEO Optimized Instagram Posts
Instagram SEO might sound odd to businesses who seemingly keep SEO centered around everything but social media.
Not surprisingly, SEO no longer applies to just websites and blogs, now SEO is playing a major role in optimizing Instagram posts. But good SEO doesn’t mean stuffing your messages with recommended keywords — it’s about adding real value by knowing what people are searching for on Instagram and giving them the answers they need.
Properly optimized posts drive organic Instagram visibility which can help brands increase traffic to their page without spending countless dollars on paid ads.
Brands can do this by making sure to add keywords to their Instagram bios, posts, stories, and hashtags that naturally fit in.
The goal is to be as authentic as possible, so make sure the keywords you use make sense, or people will feel it.
Let’s take a look at an online tutoring platform company called Preply. They’re taking full advantage of the fact that Instagram became more ‘search-friendly.’ Preply strategically mentions keywords in their posts that rank higher on search engines and Instagram, without sacrificing quality of course).
For instance, take a look at the post below:
In this post, they shared a catchy headline about mastering language learning from an expert. Even though they used keywords in the caption and the hashtags, they didn’t sacrifice authenticity.
Now, Instagram users looking for language learning or tutoring services will be able to find Preply — and stay for the storytelling.
5. Webinars for Higher Engagement
Educating customers is the best way to engage them on social media, and what better way to do so than webinars? Social media webinars allow brands to have direct contact with their ideal customers without being limited to a conference room or a physical location.
And in 2021, webinars are going to become even more important.
With webinars, you can educate your ideal customer on a topic they’ve been eager to learn about and show them why your product/service is the best fit for them.
How to have a successful webinar:
- Keep the focus on education, not sales (or risk losing participants)
- Be strategic on how you offer products/services — avoid the hard sell
- Have a live option and a replay option so anyone can watch
- Schedule webinar marketing campaigns and targeted ads in advance
- Choose a webinar style and visuals your target audience prefers
- Share updates on your stories with interactive stickers (like a poll sticker)
- Add webinar signups to a marketing funnel (create paths and landing pages that make sense or you could lose people)
- Use audience interaction tools during the webinar — chat, polls, Q&A, etc.
For example, webinars, like this one on what is a DCIM are a great way to promote your content on social media and get new subscribers:
In this case, Nlyte is targeting growing businesses who need a fail-proof network system. With this webinar, they’ll have the opportunity to share valuable insights, answer important questions, and share their software solutions.
With webinars, they can reach massive amounts of people all over the world, grow their following, increase engagement, and turn webinar participants into customers.
6. Brands Will Use Linkedin to Build Meaningful Relationships
Continuing our predictions for social media marketing, Linkedin outreach will shift from spammy mass outreach to building real 1:1 relationships. Increasing engagement on LinkedIn is also not a bad social media marketing strategy as you seek to build meaningful partnerships and relationships.
The days of Linkedin being just a job search tool are over. Now, Linkedin has evolved into a relationship-building platform focused on making connections, creating brand awareness, and building credibility.
Finding the right contacts on Linkedin and building meaningful relationships with them will be key to a successful social media strategy.
Take a look at Reply:
They’ve created a LinkedIn Email Finder and Outreach extension to help businesses search for prospects’ emails in seconds. They also have an automation option to automate email search and sales outreach.
Tools like this one can save you a ton of manual labor hunting down the right connections, but make sure you don’t sacrifice relationship building in the process (i.e. don’t send a sales message as soon as you meet someone. Take some time to nurture the relationship first.)
When it comes to Linkedin, it’s better to talk about your passions, be an active user, and build a network over time — don’t ask for something if you haven’t built a relationship first. Also, be sure to keep your profile updated as your business grows
Whatever strategy you use to build connections, the focus should be on creating long term relationships, not spamming inboxes with your business services and products.
7. A Focus on Partnerships
Predictions for social media marketing continues as partnerships will become even more important in 2021.
We’ve touched on collaborating with micro-influencers for authentic storytelling, and building relationships on Linkedin, but there are other kinds of social partnerships that can help grow your brand.
A social partnership can range from a casual request (like sharing a post) to a co-branded advertising campaign (like GoPro and Red Bull), and anything in between.
But it’s also important to note that long term partnerships are typically the most successful — we say typically because partnering with people like Kylie Jenner could make a huge difference with just one post.
A great example of a company creating long term partnerships is PandaDoc, a document signing software. They have an entire page on their website dedicated their partnerships and how to become a one:
PandaDoc partners with experts, advisors, and businesses to get more leads. To get paid, partners send over quality leads that line up with PandaDoc’s goals.
Having a partnership program like this one is a great way to have potential partners come to you (assuming the page is promoted and optimized for search).
More Ways to Build Partnerships: Predictions for Social Media Marketing
- Work on a campaign and share the rewards
- Promote each other’s brands
- Share each other’s content
- Access each other’s audiences
Whether you’ve got a small business or a full-blown enterprise, a social partnership can help raise brand awareness, increase engagement, and grow high-quality followers.
8. Video Will Replace Text
With TikTok videos and Instagram reels taking over, it’s no surprise that video content and 2D animation will soar in 2021. In fact, a Facebook executive predicted that the platform will be all video and no text by 2021!
So why are 88% of marketers satisfied with their social media video marketing ROI? Because people are captivated by video. Grabbing someone’s attention is the only chance at showing them who you are and how you can deliver value with your products and services.
If you seeking to master video content for marketing campaigns, but are still on the fence on your strategy, keep reading.
Other benefits of using videos and/or animation:
- Building trust with your ideal audience
- Building emotional connections with your audience
- Enhancing storytelling
- Influencing social media algorithms (especially Instagram)
- Boosting traffic, conversions, and sales
You don’t have to have a full-out video agency to be successful. All you have to do is start incorporating these visual elements into your social channels and keep an eye on which ones are performing the best — then repurpose, reuse, and repost when appropriate.
Predictions for social media marketing continues to shift each year. By continuously educating yourself and taking the right steps, you can stay ahead of the game.
Are you planning on using any of these marketing predictions?
If so, allow eclincher to show you how to use these predictions for social media marketing strategies with the most valuable social media management tool to increase your social media engagement and win new business.
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