Due in large part to the pandemic, 2020 brought an all-time high for time spent on social media, streaming, and ecommerce sales with the number of social media users globally reaching over 3.6 billion . Let’s break down some of the stand-out trends from the past two years, including where budgets are being spent, how brands can join in on important cultural conversations and events, and how ultimately social media marketers can boost their engagement numbers and attract new audiences.
It’s no surprise that many factors (the pandemic, elections, budget cuts, and recessions, just to name a few) led to a recent increased pressure on social media marketers. In 2021, marketing managers' top goal has been to increase the acquisition of new customers , a hefty lift considering how much customer experience budgets were cut.
While it’s likely that ROI will remain a goal heading into 2022, social media marketers should remember that their content can provide a valuable link between a brand and a customer, taking what could be a quick online transaction and turning it into real value for both consumers and brand. While budgets for in-person experiences continue to be cut or side-lined, brands can optimize social media to keep the discovery and sense of connection present.
As social media is predicted to emerge as a shopping platform even more in 2022 (with the number of US social commerce buyers expected to top 100 million by 2023 ), it will be especially important to keep this relationship in mind.
There is no doubt that 2020 saw an uptick in brands joining big cultural conversations on social media. Knowing that 86% of audiences expect brands to support vulnerable communities , it might seem tempting to jump at the chance to engage with every topic that comes along. Smart social media marketers know, however, that there are best practices to keep in mind to make sure your brand participates appropriately and in manageable ways.
One way to do this is to choose topics that are relevant to your brand and audience, and then keep your messaging consistent . Also, remember that purpose-driven campaigns often have the biggest impact and these take planning as well as authenticity in execution. Before leaping into a conversation, make sure your brand has something to offer and is not in it just for likes and clicks. The brands who do this best are the ones who sit and listen first, then fit into the conversation, versus trying to make the conversation fit around them.
Speaking of purpose-driven, it’s one thing to have your brand speak up in cultural conversations, and it’s another to have company actions meet company words. In 2021, consumers are looking for brands who walk the talk .
Half of those surveyed by Hootsuite this year said they deem it important that a business proactively make the world a better place as well as operate according to values/principles. If your brand is creating purpose-driven campaigns, then it is wise to know how they are purpose-driven internally as well.
For social media managers, now is a good time to take stock of your crisis communications workflow, as well as any social media guidelines or policies to highlight areas for improvement.
“Less is more” was the name of the game when it came to social media posts in 2020, and continues to be a trend into 2021. With this approach comes more thoughtful and valuable content . Even when the production quality changed due to remote work, consumers engaged with content that they felt offered them true value. This trend has also extended into ad buys as well as company partnerships and sponsorships. Boosting content or creating paid ad campaigns is a great way to still see results without over posting.
It’s also important to note the type of content that users are looking for from brands on social media these days. With the current attention of the average Gen Z consumer landing right around 8 seconds, brands are creating bite-sized content as well as utilizing functions like Instagram and Facebook Stories, and short-format video platforms like TikTok to create limited-time or “disappearing” content.
Have you put any of these trends into practice this year and seen results? Let us know!