The only consistent thing about social media is that it changes on a fairly frequent basis. And to stay relevant, you need to stay on top of the trends. We’re heading into a post-Covid world where everything will look a little different, and social media is no exception. According to Hubspot, the number of social media users grew to 3.6 billion last year – and as of April 2021, Smart Insights reported that number as 4.33 billion.
These numbers just go to show that social media is still growing at a rapid pace. TikTok has also made a name for itself as one of the most downloaded apps, and thanks to their algorithm, struggling businesses can grow exponentially overnight. The possibilities are endless when it comes to social media, which is why it’s imperative to stay on top of the current trends.
Now is the time to try new things and shift where needed. If you’re still using the same social media strategy you used a year ago, you might want to rethink it. The industry is ever-changing, so here are 11 things to look out for when you’re planning your social strategy for the rest of 2021.
1. Quality over quantity
Before 2020, brands had to post every day (sometimes multiple times per day) to stay relevant. If they didn’t, their engagement would drop. Thankfully, this isn’t the case anymore, and people are starting to appreciate high-quality content instead of mass-produced mediocre content. Users are gravitating toward meaningful, personal, authentic content because they desire to feel a connection. And when they feel connected to your brand, they are more likely to purchase your product or service.
2. Keep up with the video content
Video content has been on the rise over the past few years, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. People love video content – just look at the way TikTok and Reels grew over the past year or so. Video content can do a lot of great things, including fostering a connection with your audience, showing off your product or service better than a photo could, or simply showing your audience they can trust you and your brand.
Video content is crucial if you want to stay relevant. But here’s a tip – keep your videos short. Asking your audience to watch a three-minute video is harder than you’d think, so keep them short and entertaining. If you need some inspiration, scroll through TikTok and Reels – you’ll find that these videos are easy to watch, share, and save.
3. Show your humanity
If you sell a product or service, your audience can go to your website and scroll through to see what you’re offering – your Instagram feed doesn’t have to be identical to your store. While you’ll want to share your products and services on social media, do it in a fun, creative way. Offer tips, tutorials, and other valuable content your audience will want to engage with.
Your customers want to see the human side of your business on social media. This will not only help them see how they could use your product or service in their everyday lives, but it will foster a connection leading to brand loyalty and trust.
4. Be the first to use new features
Instagram rolls out new features all the time, so being among the first to use them will set you apart as a trendsetter and drive higher engagement. Reels, Guides, and live streams are just a few of the major features that have rolled out over the past couple of years, and Instagram will likely keep releasing more as the app continues to grow.
5. Create shareable and saveable content
Likes and comments used to be the best engagement you could get, but as Instagram has evolved, so has engagement. Now Instagram looks at the number of shares and saves your posts have when determining whether they’ll push it to the top of your followers’ feeds. Creating high-value content will help boost your shares and saves, which will ultimately help boost your following and business.
6. Go live
Live videos were huge in 2020 when everything shut down and businesses started going virtual. It was a great way to connect with customers, and with Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram all having live stream capabilities, it’s easy to find the best platform to go live on and authentically connect with your audience.
You could do question and answer sessions, live product releases, or even showcase the services you offer in a live stream. This gives people the opportunity to see you in real-time, plus you can save your live videos and post them on your feed later.
7. Be authentic and honest
In the past, people were interested in curated feeds and living vicariously through others’ lives on social media. Now, they’re looking for honesty and authenticity. It’s your job as a brand owner to decide how you want to build trust with your audience. Maybe you walk them through the process of how you make your product. You could consider giving them a behind-the-scenes look at a day in your life or your employees’ lives.
People love to see the humans behind the products and services they purchase, so make it a priority to show up in the most authentic and honest way you can.
8. Post Instagram Stories and use the stickers
Instagram stories have been around for a while, but they now get even more attention than feed posts do. Stories are a great way to show behind-the-scenes content, message back and forth with your customers, and post everyday content that wouldn’t necessarily go with your feed.
There are also a lot of fun ways to interact with your followers through Instagram stories other than direct messages. You can use the poll sticker for this or that questions, the question box for suggestions or answer questions your audience has, or the quiz sticker to play virtual games. There are so many options when it comes to story engagement, so take advantage of them.
9. Keep posting user-generated content
User-generated content isn’t a new concept, but we wanted to mention it here because it isn’t going anywhere. User-generated content is the hidden gem of social media marketing. First, you get fresh content to post. Second, you get to engage with your customers when finding the content, then your engagement goes up when they share your posts. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved and you’ll develop great relationships as you collaborate with your customer base.
10. Use the shopping features
There are so many great ways to shop on social media. There’s an entire section of Instagram dedicated to shopping. Facebook Marketplace allows you to share products you’re selling locally. It also has a shipping feature, so if you’re willing to ship your products out, it can be a great place to make some sales.
The shopping buttons on Instagram are a true game-changer. Customers can purchase products without ever leaving the app, which takes a few steps out of the purchasing process. Take full advantage of this feature because it can really help your business grow. No matter the platform you choose, you’ll want to hop on the social media shopping train.
11. Engage with your followers
Last but not least, engage with your followers. You’ve heard this advice time and time again, but it really is so important – especially when you’re trying to build a brand with loyal customers. There are a lot of ways to engage with your followers, so do what feels best for your business. Whether you spend time responding to comments, replying to messages, or communicating through stories, your customers will appreciate the effort, and Instagram will reward you by bumping your posts to the top.
Social media marketing can seem overwhelming, but just take it one day at a time. You don’t have to implement everything all at once either – start small so you can see what works for you and what doesn’t. The best thing about social media is that you can adapt your strategy as social media changes, giving you more opportunities to grow your business.
If you’re struggling to come up with a social media strategy and need some help, our Scroll team can help. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click below to get in contact.