Social Media Trends of 2021 - What You Need to Know
Social media is an ever changing landscape. New platforms and opportunities open up every year so staying on top of new social media trends is vital. Here are some of our predictions for 2021.
2020 was a big year for social media. COVID-19 lockdowns made social media all but essential for many creators and small businesses to continue reaching their audience.
It was also a year with some interesting developments in the social media world, with the rise of apps such as TikTok which exploded in popularity especially among younger people.
Meanwhile, the established networks such as Instagram continued to innovate with a list of new features such as Reels, Guides, and new social shopping opportunities.
Looking ahead, what predictions can we make for 2021 which can help you when considering your 2021 social media strategy.
Here is our list of predicted social media trends for 2021.
Video remains one of the most powerful forms of content
2020 was in many defined by TikTok. This proved, yet again, that video is an essential medium for any creator.
The rise of TikTok and the app’s 15-60 second videos point to a growing emphasis on short-form and digestible video content.
Instagram seemed to agree with this by introducing Instagram Reels in August 2020.
We have seen some reports that posting Reels has enabled them to grow reach and followers more rapidly than before.
The Reel below from @chrisappleton1 received 5.1 million views which is 4 times the size of the account.
View this post on Instagram
For anyone who is currently using both Reels and TikTok, cross posting content would seem like the obvious choice to boost your content. After all, why not just post that new video you worked hard on in two places? However, the two apps have a slightly different culture and a different demographic of users. So it is worth testing where your content does better and considering what might work best for each platform.
In 2021, we may see more users cross-posting but our prediction is that Instagram Reels will favour more curated content compared to TikTok with a culture of more spontaneous and authentic posts. Consider the fact that Instagram has a slightly older demographic using the platform and also provides the Story feature where people can share clips from their daily life.
Finally, it is worth mentioning IGTV. While it landed with a splash it is fair to say it has not had a big impact. Today it is hidden as a tab in the Explore page and as a stand-alone app. The big potential for IGTV comes from Instagram’s frequent promises that ad based revenue sharing on its way. If true, it will open an exciting new opportunity for creators to monetise their content.
Social Media Becomes Search Friendly
With an update in November, Instagram became more search friendly. The app had long stuck to hashtag or user based searches. However, users can now search in a more natural way when looking for content.
The image below shows a more dynamic search for art that is not based entirely on hashtags.
Given this change, it opens the door for Instagram SEO optimisation. Users are now recommended to add keywords in captions and their bios to ensure maximum reach. Our advice to prepare for 2021:
- Make sure your captions contain relevant keywords
- Focus on what has already been working – there isn’t a need to reinvent the wheel but read more about Instagram SEO to seek our more opportunities.
It is also possible that TikTok will work on improving its search navigation in 2021. TikTok has been weak for search. It can be hard to find the specific content using their search function. Instead users tend to rely on their FYP.
Social Goes Shopping
In 2021 we see a big social media trend developing as ecommerce becomes a big part of social media.
87% of people believe social media helps them make a shopping decision. Moving shopping onto social therefore provides a big opportunity for both the platform and sellers.
The exciting opportunity around social ecommerce is that it could potentially enable new businesses to pop-up and also support existing businesses.
Instagram introduced its shopping feature back in November. This means that any business already on Instagram can easily add a digital storefront with options for streamlined payments.
The image below shows the Shop homepage which allow you to dive into specific products of shops.
We would expect the ecommerce feature to grow and develop further in 2021, providing a new revenue stream for small businesses and creators.
There is also a good reason to assume that we will see a TikTok ecommerce feature. TikTok’s Chinese app, Doyin, already runs an ecommerce feature which reportedly drives much of the revenue for the company in the Chinese market.
TikTok will no doubt looking for ways to entice creators and avoid a Vine-like situation where creators left in order to grab advertising revenue available at Youtube.
Ecommerce options are an exciting opportunity that can help broaden revenue avenues for creators and help the apps themselves to become less reliant on an advertising model.
With the introduction of Reels, Fleets, and Youtube Shorts it feels like every platform now has similar functionality. On most apps you have a feature where you can share a temporary story, post video content, publish photos, and give live.
All the social platforms are likely competing for platform dominance. Does this mean that we are heading towards one dominant platform? Or a world where most content can be shared across various mediums.
Emphasis on Useful Content
The internet is now saturated with content both education and entertaining. We believe that in 2021 emphasis should be on providing useful content to your audience.
In 2020 we saw an explosion in learning platforms such as SkillShare where creators can sell courses. Equally Linkedin launched Linkedin Learning offering video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business skills. TikTok is also testing a “Learn” feature.
It would appear that a focus on educational and learning based platforms is on the rise. Think about how you can make the most of this trend. Even if you don’t want to start your own skillshare course you can still add value to users in your posts, blogs, and videos.
Global lockdown in 2020 led to a huge and unexpected rise in people going live, both in a personal and business setting.
Many creators and businesses turned to Instagram, TikTok, or Youtube Live. Or even ran livestream sessions over Zoom. Everything from yoga classes to meet-ups suddenly became available live.
The trend towards live stream will likely continue in 2021.
If you haven’t tried live streming yet. Maybe try watching content from other users. See what works for people and what doesn’t. Live can offer great opportunities for user engagement and building new relationships.
Social Media Trends and the Year Ahead
These are some of the big social media trends that we see coming in 2021. Video, ecommerce, optimising your social platforms, and going live should all be features that anyone growing their online presence should consider looking into further.
Another great way to grow online is by working with other people in your community. beloudr provides a place for creators and small businesses to connect, work together and build a network of shoutouts.
beloudr brings together a community of creators on multiple social platforms. This enables members to build relationships with a diverse range of content creators and gets your work shared on multiple platforms from blogs, Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube, Pinterest and more. All of this ultimately drives more traffic back to you and builds your online presence