2020 was one crazy year. It’s by far the most disruptive for everyone, including marketers. This year’s events have made it seem impossible to foresee what lies ahead. And even if the crisis is resolved in 2021, the effects will be felt for years to come. There are some emerging trends that will undeniably impact how we execute our strategies moving forward.
How will social media change next year? According to a research from Talkwalker and Hubspot, there are ten trends that will further emerge in the coming year. Find out what they are and why you shouldn’t ignore them.
Remixing user-generated content is seen to grow in the next year. Remixing is the art of taking existing formats, templates, or ideas, and recreating them to express a user’s own personality or ideas. It’s been around for a while but it’s seen to have a major growth during the lockdown. According to Talkwalker, remixing is on the rise on mobile apps like TikTok, Instagram Reels and Koji.
An example is this post from a consumer mixing Chipotle’s logos into an existing template from Koji.
The pandemic has dramatically transformed consumer behavior. According to a report by Kantar, 78% of consumers expect brands to help them in their daily lives. Because of this, marketers must focus their messaging to address the 4Cs: Community, Cleanliness, Contactless, Compassion.
The above analysis shows the number of mentions of the 4 Cs across all online platforms that are COVID-related. This means people are relying on getting information from brands about the pandemic.
In May 2020, KFC dropped its iconic slogan to promote health and safety measures.
According to Janet Machuka, Founder of ATC Digital Academy “It’s not “Finger Lickin” good anymore as KFC temporarily dropped its iconic slogan because, with a pandemic going on, finger lickin’ is “not currently advised” and because of that, they have released a tongue-in-cheek campaign to go with it.”
3. Meme Marketing
Memes are among the most popular and fun ways of keeping communities engaged on social media. The use of memes increased drastically from 19.8million in August 2019 to 24.9million in July 2020. It peaked during lockdown. Online audiences turned to memes as a form of escapism.
Memes are used by brands for a while now as a form of marketing. Here’s one of many brilliant posts from Ruffles, keeping a relatable tone in its messaging.
4. Nostalgia Marketing
It’s easy to look back at the ‘good old days’. Talkwalker’s study found that mentions of keywords related to nostalgia increased by 88% as soon as the lockdown hit.
Positive memories help people forget their current struggles once in a while. Inserting those memories into your brand will build and secure a strong, emotional connection with the consumer.
A master of this is Netflix. Their hit series Stranger Things has already been relying heavily on 80s nostalgia.
5. Conversational Marketing
It’s all about how you connect with your audience. Your brand’s messaging needs to be more conversational to create relationships and eventually build sales and expand your clientele.
A personalised approach in reaching out to your audience using chatbots, social messaging or calls can drive engagement and sales.
Offshoring company Staff Domain’s Facebook Page has an interactive chat that allows you to easily select specific services or a job vacancy you’re looking for.
Personalised content also means knowing what your audiences are talking about and joining the conversation. This tweet from Domino’s Pizza is very relatable. They’re finally speaking out about netizen’s sentiments regarding pineapple on a pizza. It ended up earning lots of hilarious responses.
6. Social Gaming
There’s a huge increase in the number of people who identify as gamers. There were 31.1 million of them in August 2019. There are now 41.2 million of them in July 2020. This is because people began to turn to online gaming as a form of escape during lockdown.
Results from the Talkwalker study suggests that the mentions on gaming are not mainly about the games they play, but who they are playing with. There is a rise in building a bigger community surrounding the gaming industry and it will carry on in 2021. Your brand can explore this world no matter how different it is from yours.
Disney Plus partners up with Fortnite to increase subscriptions.
Beauty brands are now tapping into the gaming industry as well. Tatcha Beauty works with Animal Crossing: New Horizons to promote self-care.
7. Old-School Marketing
Some marketing strategies can suddenly re-emerge in this time of uncertainty. Lately, people are turning to podcasts as information delivered from them is easier to consume.
Voice is making a comeback. Old-school means of communication such as voice calls have also made a major return and its use increased during the lockdown. Voice search, voice notes, and even voice Tweets are already currently on the rise.
8. Adapting to the New Normal
Today’s top social media platforms will maintain its place as they continue to roll out new features to adapt with changing climate of the world.
The big three (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are more flexible and capable of quickly adapting to consumer habits. Even though there’s a growing popularity in new platforms such as Tiktok and Houseparty, the big three is still the go-to source of news and information for the online community.
Facebook Horizon is the latest feature that gained traction during the lockdown.
9. Digital Disinformation
Since February 2020, mentions of “fake news”, “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories” have grown. Most of it is related to COVID-19 and vaccines. This is now called the “infodemic”, a global spread of misinformation that poses a threat to public health.
Social media has always been the place to find a wide variety of content, from delivering facts to just plain fiction. There was a drastic rise in fake news as soon as COVID-19 hit. The world continues to be misinformed everyday and brands are dragged by it too.
Brandwatch researched on the most shared fake news stories about COVID-19.
A brand who had been a victim of fake news was Vodafone back in April 2020.
In 2021, brands and social media platforms will focus on highlighting the truth and removing fake news from user feeds.
How can your brand avoid fake news?
- Be transparent. If your brand is completely open, it’ll be more difficult for people to fill the gaps with dishonesty.
- Make sure all your platforms are secured to avoid hacks.
- Monitor your brand to immediately determine if it is being connected to fake news.
- Get facts straight before sharing anything.
- Do regular checks on who has access to your brand’s social channels.
10. Socially Conscious Marketing
This is the number one trend to emerge in 2021 according to the Talkwalker study. No doubt this generation is more socially conscious and has impacted brands in a major way. As a marketer, you have to take part in topics pertaining to social justice, mental health, diversity and inclusivity.
Here’s how your brand can be part of the conversation:
- Find out what issues matter to your audience. Take it seriously and talk about it with the whole company to make sure you address it correctly.
- Have a ‘mission-led’ strategy. It will emotionally connect your brand to your audience.
- Align your marketing and PR.
- Be fully committed to your cause. You will experience some bumps on the road (can’t please everyone). So don’t miss out on monitoring your audience’s sentiments and address them.
- Your brand not marketing around social issues does not make it immune to backlash.
Nike has been consistent in becoming the voice for change globally. Most recently, it started a campaign to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
Consumers need to be at the centre of your marketing strategy. Consumer is King. It is important to listen to their voice now more than ever. The brands that understand their consumers to heart are the ones that will thrive in 2021.
Have you started planning your strategies for next year? Let us know how you’re going so far!