Social media trends every business should keep their eye on in 2021

With the continuously changing social media platform algorithms, and new trends catching traction in the time you go to sleep and wake up, it can be hard for small businesses, freelancers and side hustlers to choose which trains to jump on. So, I’ve done the research for you! This involved a mixture of academic journal research, trend reports and trial and error through my own businesses. These 6 trends to implement in your social media strategies and campaigns (or at least keep your eye on!), can help you to catch the trendy waves as they start, or stay riding it to reap the benefits. Make these your best practices and see the results.

Trend 1: Live streams will stay popular

Live streams have been popular for the past 5 years and it’s well known that video content does well (enter please Tiktok). Tiktok’s USP is the ease of creating such video, with the additions of other effects and music overlapping the video – hence its immense popularity, with 26% of 18-24 years old smartphone users watching Tiktok content. The lack of face-to-face contact in the past year due to COVID, makes live streaming even more precious for some. Facebook has seen a massive increase in live stream usage, and the function is also becoming easier on Instagram and Tiktok; via the Instagram TV functionality and Tiktok live feature respectively. Saying this, don’t underestimate written work - website copy and Instagram captions etc can tell a customer a lot about you, your business, your values and the products.

Trend 2: Post ‘stories’… every day.

Did you know, most of the time they outperform posts in terms of their reach and interaction. Stories on Instagram are also very important in the algorithms at the moment - especially those stories that maximise opportunities for consumers to interact with. Try some of the ideas below and you are likely to notice that an increase in story interaction will coincide with an increase in followers (note: for this to be most effective, you should have your profile on public, not private).

- Poll feature: get votes to hear your followers’ opinions. This can also be a great way of market researching.

- Quiz feature: similar to the poll feature, this allows you to hear your consumers opinions.

- Question feature: another amazing way of listening to your followers – people’s answers can even be shared helping to really generate a conversation.

- Location and hashtag: this allows people in or following that location / hashtag interact with your story.

- Rating scale: a perfect way for followers to expressions without the use of words, but a fun emoji instead!

Trend (more of a tip!) 3: Photo sizing

When it comes to the sizing of photos, you have to become clever and more platform specific in your strategy. Instagram recently changed their platform to accommodate more image sizes. Whilst this can seem great to get that amazing skyline you took for your apartment, having a shorter image means that your consumer may see other business’ posts above and below your content. Having and image sized 1080 x 1080 pixels means that your content will likely fill the whole phone screen of your followers. You may have also noticed that when you post an image on Twitter, it will seem like it shrinks. The best sizing for Twitter is 1600 x 900 pixels. If you’re doing a Facebook ad, the best sizing to use is 1200 x 628 pixels, or 940 x 788 pixels for a Facebook post.

Extra Tip: a great website to use is Canva. It gives you ready made templates as well as blank ones in the appropriate sizing format for each specific platform.

Trend 4: Tagging your products in your photos

Social media platforms should be there to be fully utilised and help to boost your ecommerce business. I see so many small businesses just using social media to increase their brand awareness and gain followers. Whilst marketing is undoubtable key in business success, the money is your products and services – so make sure you’re making purchasing from your social media pages for your consumers easy. 54% of consumers research products on social media, meaning you should ensure your social media simplifies the consumer journey. For example, have ‘click here’ buttons on the bottom of ads, insert your website links on your Facebook and Twitter posts leading straight to your products (use a website called Bitly to help shorten these links for your Twitter posts). One thing people selling on Facebook often miss is tagging their products in the images - this makes it really easy for consumers to know what they are looking at as well as the features, options and prices of the product. Make sure you check out this tool if you haven’t already!

Trend 5: Link it up!

This may seem like a big ask but continuity is so important when it comes to marketing. The same images and copy that appear on your Facebook account, should also appear on your website, within your podcast, and on your Instagram and twitter account. This makes people feel as though they really know the brand and can trust it. It’s easy to achieve. Use the checklist below to ensure you’ve got everything linked up!

§ Use scheduling apps to schedule the same pos ts on your social media accounts, put links on your website to sync all of your accounts up. My personal favourite if Content Cal, although Buffer, Hootsuite and Later are great free options.

§ Have buttons on your website that link directly to your social media platforms.

§ Tag your products (with completed details) in all your posts – mainly on Facebook and Instagram.

§ Post links to your website in your social media posts – less useful on Instagram unless you have 10,000+ followers to enable the swipe up feature.

§ Have links to your website and your other socials in your bio.

Trend 6: Be personable

People want to get to know you, especially if you are a freelancer or small business. They are in interested in you as people, your values and what interests you as well. Consumers want to know, relate to and feel connected to the face of your business. If you show people the human side to your brand or business, you are more likely to build a longer lasting relationship and connection with your audience and consumers. One reason for this is that brand loyalty is at an all-time low. People aren’t so set on one brand, for example they are likely to have multiple brands of trainers in their wardrobe right now - despite the brands being competitors. If you build personable connections, your customers are less likely to jump ship. This is especially important as a freelancer because your brand and your product / service are one in the same - you!

But how can I do this? Utilise the stories feature or social platforms such as Snapchat (if your target market is on this platform), show people what you are up to, show behind the scenes, speak up on issues you believe in, show people the day-to-day happenings, use the front facing camera and show the process in creating your product and service. Another great way to show your audience a little window into your brand is to get testimonials. Word of mouth is the most powerful method of marketing. Yes, paid fb ads and Instagram posts and trendy Tiktok videos are great - but word of mouth keeps a business alive and growing.

These trends are something that multiple business have really spent time and energy on in the past year or so – and success could happen for you too! Make these your best practices and see the results.

Got a question? Just let me know!

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