It’s no secret that social media sites aren’t just communication platforms but also powerful tools that are intrinsically tied to your business’s sales and marketing.
Marketers often turn to Facebook, Instagram, and now TikTok to reach and convert customers. However, to do it right, they need to take an agile approach and keep up with the latest trends and technical developments on these platforms.
That is the key to making sure that you exploit all available opportunities to market your offerings.
It’s no surprise that 2021 promises to be just as extraordinary as the last year, as far as digital marketing is concerned. And the real revolution could be attributed to social media sites. In a July 2020 study, almost half of its respondents admitted to spending or time on social sites because of Covid-19.
As a result, Snapchat quickly partnered with Amazon to create new tech that lets users scan product barcodes and buy them immediately. Similarly, Instagram also rolled out its new Checkout feature to provide customers with a seamless buying experience without leaving the app.
Businesses that took advantage of these unprecedented new opportunities tweaked their messaging to appeal to this new and very bored audience. And they reaped the benefits of it in the form of greater-than-ever sales.
The good news is that 2021 promises to be just as rewarding, despite the growing challenges.
However, the questions remain: How can I attract new fans and followers while keeping the existing audiences engaged? What’s the right type of content? When’s the right time to leverage new marketing technologies on social media?
It’s more important than ever to get the answers right.
Fortunately, we are here to help you do just that.
Let’s explore some exciting new ways for brands and businesses to improve their social media strategies and connect with consumers in 2021.
Let your audiences shop on your social media pages
Retailers understand that leveraging social media to understand consumer behavior and patterns can help facilitate product sales. But 2021 brings a new kind of opportunity, one where your leads don’t even need to click-through to your website to buy from you.
According to a survey, 25% of companies sold their products directly through social media in 2020, and 15% reported that they were showcasing their products on social media platforms.
It will be interesting to see how brands use social media channels and use them as viable purchasing platforms. Here are some quick suggestions:
Make shoppable posts on instagram
Previously, the only way customers could connect with brands directly was either through the link in the bio or the “visit link” option in Instagram stories. However, Instagram shops provide customers a comfortable, seamless experience to shop directly from their favorite brands.
Users no longer have to be redirected to a new app to buy something. Instead, they can complete their entire buying journey from discovery to checkout without ever leaving the app. And with 80% of Instagram’s users already having an active shopping account, the ability to shop directly from the app can benefit brands and customers alike.
Instagram shoppable posts are displayed with a white shopping bag icon at the bottom of the picture marked with “tap to view products”.
Moreover, Instagram will also allow influencers and high-profile creators to tag and sell products directly from their feeds. This will enable brands and influencers to develop deeper collaborations, enriching the users’ shopping experience.
It’s no wonder that popular brands and retailers leverage Instagram as an essential part of their marketing mix. The British retailer, Marks & Spencer, claims that Instagram Shopping has become one of the most important pathways in their marketing campaign.
The fact of the matter is that Instagram offers new ways of conducting business. It also opens up new challenges for brands that are unprepared for the future. Shopping is no longer limited to visiting stores to get information. Customers can get easy information about a brand and even compare a product right on this social platform.
And that means that the key to standing out is to create interesting shoppable posts.
For example, here is an example of a tech brand, iPort. Without even reading the text, the minimal sleek design gives an effect similar to that of an iPhone. And if you think that’s true, there is even an iPhone and an Apple watch featured in the advertisement. Chances are that people scrolling the feed from their iPad or iPhone might realize that they need a new case and click on the post.
Set up a Facebook shop
Facebook has always come up with new and exciting ways to serve online retail stores. Their recent most significant change is introducing a mobile-optimized end-to-end commerce ecosystem called the Facebook Shops.
Facebook Shops offers an excellent opportunity for small businesses to set up a complete online shopping experience with tools for marketing, promotion, conversions, customer support, and more. It also offers additional features for business owners to design a customizable online shop using your brand visuals and colors. SMB’s can also partner with third-party ecommerce tools such as Shopify and BigCommerce.
Some advantages include:
- A seamless checkout experience for customers
- Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can automatically tag products in your photos so people can link them out, allowing for greater brand visibility
- A real-time combined shopping experience on Instagram and Facebook
- Augmented Reality (AR) features to let customers try on products from their mobile device to see how they will look in the real world
Purpose your content around social issues
Digital activism has opened up new ways of sharing information and educating audiences about social media channels’ social issues. Businesses and brands are now channeling their own voice in the movement so that customers can associate with them and feel part of the corporate tribe. According to Accenture, consumers pay attention to brands that explore social issues. In fact, 70% of US consumers say it is crucial for them that brands take a stand on these issues.
Here are a few ways you can create activist content across social media platforms:
Use ethical marketing in all aspects of your branding
TOMS, the footwear company, has donated almost 60,000 pairs of shoes to children in need and provided 400,000 pairs of glasses to the visually impaired. If that isn’t enough, the company also has a social policy that includes donating a pair of shoes for every purchase.
They do not shy away from showing their social and environmental philanthropy in every aspect of their branding.
Show, don’t tell
Businesses are often quick to pass corporate statements about the changes they will implement at their workplace. But, only a few demonstrate this commitment with a long-term social media strategy showcasing how exactly they plan to achieve this goal.
Your diversity goals should be known to your audiences so they can see the changes you’re implementing and support them along the way. For example, if one of your initiatives focuses on helping organizations, make sure you share racial justice resources and materials on social media. Let your audiences know how this new information impacts your business and your team and how you will change your business in the future.
For example, LEGO unapologetically showed their commitment to the Black Lives Matter Movement by pledging to donate to organizations that support black children and educate all children about racial injustice and equality. They also went on to show their support by removing all product listings of toy sets that included police characters.
Educate your audience
Your global audience might not be aware of the systemic racism that’s threatening the very fabric of society in many parts of the world. They are only aware of what they see on the news and media. There is a lot of confusion, misunderstanding, and a lack of knowledge about this and other social issues.
While donating to black-led organizations is great, educating your audience through social media will go a long way in reminding people that your brand is truly dedicated to the cause.
Take, for example, Urban Decay put up a Black Lives Matter post with useful links and resources for understanding racism, injustice, and African American history.
Similarly, the dating app Feeld.co went one step further and created a blog post with helpful resources, asking their followers to reach out to them on social platforms if they need more help.
Source: Marketing Society
Explore new social media avenues
As one of the most downloaded apps in over 40 countries and the only app to reach a 2 billion+ download volume in 2020, brands are fervently tapping into the power of TikTok to reach new audiences around the globe.
An average TikTok user spends around 52 minutes on the app daily – which is enough time for brands to engage and make a lasting impression on their customers. With TikTok’s various editing and beautifying features, brands can create bite-sized short content that can reach millions worldwide.
While TikTok is often misunderstood as a platform for teens, many luxury brands are leveraging it to create fun and upbeat content to capture the attention of high-value Gen-Z audience.
So how can brands use TikTok to enhance their marketing techniques?
Start hashtag challenges
Gucci is a brilliant example of a Luxury brand that quickly made its way to TikTok to showcase its latest collections and conduct virtual fashion shows. Gucci also posts TikToks of celebrities and influencers dressed in its designs on industry events such as Fashion Week.
They further outshined others on the platform by starting the #gucci model challenge that invited users to make fashion content featuring Gucci products. The challenge went viral, and the British Vogue Magazine covered it.
Co-creation and product placement
TikTok now also allows users to purchase products directly from the app using the one-click purchase option. Levi’s, the famous American brand, was one of the first brands to leverage product placement and co-creation with notable influencers.
Levis called on famous creators like Callen Schaub and Everett Williams to create their own Levis jeans pair and present it to the TikTok community. It also showed Behind-The-Scenes videos of what goes into the creation of Levis products.
Co-creation opportunities and appropriate product placement enabled Levis to generate more traffic to their website and other social media platforms, all from people who wanted to see more BTS content.
Make user-generated content
Another business that has formed a close-knit community on TikTok is Gymshark, a popular British sportswear brand. It relies entirely on User-Generated Content (UGC) for likes and visibility on the platform.
They have implemented a well-intentioned digital strategy that involves using the hashtag #gymshark and reposting all content that uses it. This increases brand visibility and boosts brand virality through the different types of content that customers make.
Create live-stream videos and tutorials
Live video streaming an event can make your followers feel more connected to your company.
You can make them feel like they are part of it, so it’s no wonder that 4 times as many social media users say that they would rather watch a video on a topic than read about it.
2020 brought to light a new way of video engagement: live streaming.
Even though it has been around for a while, it was only during the lockdown that small and large businesses alike started to leverage Facebook and Instagram Live. Live videos are gaining massive popularity. It is estimated that by 2023, live videos can generate up to $1 billion in revenue.
Live social media has attracted audiences who were too busy to attend these events before the pandemic.
This gives you a shot at using this tactic to develop a personal connection with their audiences, allowing them to interact with the person behind the screen. With live comments, brands can also answer questions that improve communication between brands and their customers.
Additionally, live streaming is also cost-effective as brands don’t need to spend huge budgets to film a live stream video. With a good internet connection and a high-quality camera, you can show the raw, unedited side of your brand.
Hold a Q/A session
Your employees and clients are as necessary for your business as your followers are. Show your brand’s human side by interviewing your most popular clients or your employee of the month. Talk about company culture, how a particular event affects them, and ask their opinions on social issues. Give your audience something more to know about the relationships that your brand cultivates.
Start with a small live session to inform followers about what they should expect from the next live session.
Your product journey
Engage with your followers by showing how products are made at your company. For example, Dunkin Donuts held a live stream video showing how they make their famous doughnuts. Their live stream was one of their most popular content ideas, from kneading the dough to sprinkling toppings, earning them a massive engagement of about 1.4k comments.
Create a community
You can also use livestreams to create a community of like-minded individuals. As platforms like Facebook and Periscope allow users to comment while watching the video, it also increases interaction between followers. This is an excellent trust-building experience for your brand since followers want nothing more than to be part of a community.
Community engagement can also be valuable for product development. 66% of brands read comments and conversations to collect feedback about improving their services.
Hold live tutorials and recorded classes
It often happens that most of your customers are aware of your brand but are not sure how exactly to use a specific type of product or service. They are searching for the “how”.
Educational videos are perfect for showing the audience how specific tools, products, and services can be used. For example, we, at PosterMyWall hosted live stream tutorials to show followers the basics of using design tools that can benefit them for a long time to come. And in case followers can’t attend these live sessions, there are past classes all saved on Facebook and Gradient.
These classes are a brilliant way of educating customers. From basics to advanced, there is something valuable for everyone to take away from these video tutorials.
Create long-form video content to increase engagement
Video content never gets old. 78% of people watch online videos every week, and it is predicted that by 2022, 82% of all internet traffic will be consumed by video content. It comes off as no surprise that all the biggest brands have a YouTube Channel where they regularly upload content related to their products or services.
Videos are also one of the best ways of holding your audience’s attention. Research shows that the average retention rate for videos is 52%, and audiences love to engage with brands in long videos.
Here are a few ways that brands leverage video content to engage with the audiences that can garner them immense following and visibility:
Highlight your company’s mission in a short film
Patagonia’s business mission is to encourage customers to adopt a more sustainable way of living. Environmental concern is one of their core values, and they don’t shy away from highlighting it in their marketing strategy.
They have created an impressive online video campaign that asks customers to recycle their clothes and hold onto them for as long as possible. They also encourage customers to purchase reused and recycled Patagonia gear. To generate awareness for this, they created the short film “Worn Wear” that featured several Patagonia customers sharing their experience with the brand.
The message throughout the brand is clear: Be responsible and make smart purchasing decisions.
Inspirational content like this has the power to influence customer’s perceptions about the brand. The campaign helped garner Patagonia 800,000 views on the short film alone, influencing how people looked at clothing and consumerism as a whole.
Educate about your brand
You can also create an educational post about your brand to educate them about your niche, rather than out-right sell them your products. For example, Luxy Hair – a beauty brand, focuses solely on creating educational content for its users. They make comprehensive tutorials on styling and taking care of your hair, making customers refer to their brand to shop for relevant products.
Create captivating visual content on Pinterest
Pinterest is the fourth most popular social media platform with around 322 million active users. It is excellent for businesses that have a wide range of visual content to showcase.
In fact, 77% of regular Pinterest users claim that they stumble across new products and brands every day.
It allows users to create boards full of visual content and ‘pin’ images and ideas to those boards. This gives brands a good opportunity to disseminate their pictures and videos to a broad audience. And a business account lets boost your brand’s visibility and reach among global audiences on the platform.
Brands can also use Pinterest as a source of inspiration for their customers, providing them unique and trendy ideas regarding their products.
Look at how Whole Foods provides cooking inspiration, helping to spread their brand awareness through information-filled pins.
Social ecommerce is here to stay. It is being powered by visual content that makes your products and services look more enticing than ever.
Consumers are always on the lookout for ways to simplify their purchasing and shopping experiences. So why not use this opportunity to go where your target audience is the most active?
Use videos, user-generated content, and targeted copy to attract and delight your followers and fans. There is no reason why they won’t reciprocate as long as you take a more human approach to selling to them. It’s also possible to reduce drop-offs by partnering with ecommerce channels to sell products and engage with customers through interactive content.
Hopefully, this guide will provide you with 2021’s best strategies to improve your engagement. Go on and delve into each trend to see how you can make it uniquely yours.