2020 is a year that has been tough for most, and in amongst all of the mayhem, the major social media platforms have evolved rapidly, shifting focus in order to meet user needs and rising demands during the pandemic.
That’s accelerated many of their plans, but mostly, the new tools introduced were already in development. So here is a collection of predictions for 2021 – all going well, it looks set to be a year of growth, and exciting developments.
1. SEO drives organic Instagram visibility
In November 2020, it was announced that Instagram would become more search-friendly. Now without the use of hashtags, if you search a keyword in the search bar, relevant videos, profiles and posts should appear. We should expect increased opportunities for more reach on posts. Take early advantage of this update by ensuring your captions include relevant keywords that will help Instagram identify what is being shown or talked about in your posts.
Other ways to show up in search within your category include following other similar accounts, and adding a relevant keyword to your name and your bio.
2. Brands must humanise
Smart businesses will understand that being authentic and transparent is good marketing in 2021. People connect with people. This means the brand should be humanised in a way that reveals who they are and what they stand for.
Get more faces out there, create videos, and talk about what matters to you.
3. Consumers will crave snackable content
As social media attention spans continue to shrink and more people scroll endlessly through feeds while bored at home, don’t expect snackable content to lose steam anytime soon.
What is snackable content? It is straight-forward, easily digestible content that tends to be visually engaging. The objective is to offer immediate entertainment or enrichment and prompt engagement. Examples include a quick-fire question, quote graphics, memes and gifs.
4. LinkedIn culture shifts to conversational transparency
2020 was a huge year for LinkedIn. Massive. They rolled out LinkedIn Live, Events, Polls and Stories. Marketers not only need to embrace these new features, but also the shift in culture created by the rise in remote working from home.
Professionals working remotely are engaging with conversational content because it mimics the team environment they might be missing. Master conversational marketing. Create polls that your audience will vote on, ask interesting open-ended questions, share candid photos from your workday, and post about celebrating milestones.
On the LinkedIn company page side of things, the LinkedIn team are looking for ways to appeal to SMBs like never before, with upcoming features that will help SMBs create a community of fans around products or services.
Conversations on LinkedIn, typically where it centres around business, have been focused on political, public, social and economic issues. Why? Because the shift is forcing brands and professionals alike to speak up and share their values. If you want to be successful on LinkedIn in 2021, adopt transparency into your marketing efforts.
5. LinkedIn networking behaviour changes
LinkedIn is plagued by mass-outreach spam, making people more sceptical and hesitant about connecting. Spam ruins reputations, but real relationships build them.
In 2021, people must focus on building relationships rather than collecting connections with the sole purpose of dropping a sales pitch after two interactions. Put effort into building meaningful, long-term relationships on LinkedIn that aren’t perceived as transactional.
6. In-stream shopping on Instagram
eCommerce is obviously the big focus for Instagram, with the new Shop tab and dedicated features aligned with facilitating more immediate purchase behaviour. Instagram will continue the development of its shopping tools – I expect them to add advanced one-click purchasing, and provide more ways for businesses and creators to facilitate direct buying.