2020 was a banner year for social media, largely because of the global pandemic. So far, 2021 looks to continue that trend. So what should businesses be looking for with social media this year?
- Caring for your burned-out social media team. Social media became a lifeline for consumers and brands during the pandemic. In organizations where social media support was lacking, both in terms of staffing and infrastructure, staff became quickly inundated with the workload. Even in organizations with fully supported teams, the increased pressure of an always-on presence was felt. Not only were staff dealing with a magnified workload, they also had their personal lives to content with. Organizations will need to make support for their employees a priority, if they haven’t already done so.
- The growth of fan communities, especially fee-based groups. Social media users have been moving towards affinity groups on platforms, such as Facebook Groups, where they can interact with other users with similar interests. This move to groups affects organic reach for brands, which are starting to move into the direct-to-consumer space. It is predicted that this move will lead to fee-based groups and communities, where people will pay a small fee to interact with others interested in the brand, as well as the brand itself.
- Building trust by being human. Has there ever been a more “human” year than 2020? The impact of the global pandemic affected everyone on the most basic levels. “We’re all in this together” became the rallying cry early in the pandemic. Brands that build on and connect on a human level will be the most successful.
- More private groups and platforms. Many people experienced “social media fatigue” after months of the pandemic plus an extremely contentious political season. As a result, a lot of people have migrated to private groups and forums on social media to get away from the fray. Facebook Groups, Instagram Stories and Threads, etc., are seeing an uptick as users seek engagement with others on topics and activities of shared interest.
- Increased use of influencers. To break through the noise of social media, brands are making more use of trusted individuals, as a means of broadening their reach.
- Diversity should be shown as well as discussed. Social consciousness has grown markedly, and social media users expect brands to demonstrate this, not only with content but with imagery. Users expect brands to accurately portray lifestyles and cultures, which means if you haven’t updated your image collection lately, you’ll want to get on that pronto.
- Social media by all employees. While it’s important to have staff dedicated to your social media strategy, all employees should be encouraged to post on the brand’s platforms – within organizational guidelines, of course. According to research, seeing a brand’s employees posting about a product of service makes consumers more likely to research that product or service.
- Increased use of user-generated content. Consumers like to see real-life experiences of other users, and they trust this kind of content when deciding which products or services to use. It is expected that UGC will increase on TikTok and Instagram.
What, if any changes, has your organization made to its social media plan?