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Social media: 10 trends for 2021

Téléphone et réseaux sociaux

To understand trends regarding social media in 2021,  you first need to take a step back and look at what happened this year. Indeed, this peculiar year will have quite an impact on social media and marketing trends for 2021. Just think about the fires in Australia, the global pandemic (that’s still ongoing, sorry to remind you), the shootings, the #MeToo movement, the American elections, etc. 

Since 2020 is getting near the end (finally I must say), here’s what to look for, according to the social media global report by Talkwalker, regarding social media and digital marketing trends for 2021.

1. Remixing, always more popular

Remixing is a form of user-generated content and consists of taking existing content and twitching it a little to make it your own. 

This method of creating content has become more popular mostly because of platforms such as Tik Tok, and more recently Instagram Reels. Both of these platforms allow you to create short videos that other users can imitate and modify adding their personal touch.

Application Tik Tok

Photo credits : Unsplash

Tik Tok’s community grew a lot during the isolation period of spring 2020 since a lot of people were stuck at home. They needed to connect with one another, share and talk about this most uncommon experience. The platform managed to do that as well as provide entertainment, which explains the boom of its users.

According to Talkwalker’s study, the remixing trend should keep on thriving in 2021, even when the pandemic situation will start to improve (let’s stay positive  🌈 ) since it fulfills two basic human needs, which are the need to feel like you belong in a certain group and the need for individuality. 

2. Memes


Memes aren’t a new trend, I’ll give you that. But they’ve been increasing in popularity over the last few years. The facts are that memes are being shared more and more between friends and on social networks. Nowadays, memes are everywhere, even on Instagram which is surprising since Instagram has always been about aesthetic and clean designs, which is quite the opposite of meme culture.

But first thing’s first, what are memes exactly and why are they so popular? Memes are images or gifs found online and created by users. Memes allow people to express themselves with humor and, most of the time, with a touch of sarcasm. 

Memes are user-generated content and also a form of remixing since meme culture consists of taking an already existing content and making it yours by giving it a new meaning.

Here's an example :

   95467956_1509567629203058_9084046750926241792_n  109825735_765999880868926_286603915713646049_n

Memes found on Reddit and Inspiration Feed.

This example also illustrates how brands can use memes as an opportunity to engage with their younger audience as well as present themselves as a modern brand that’s not afraid to use a touch of humor and embrace new ways to communicate. 

Memes are also a marvelous way for your brand to be discovered on social media since they are largely shared by users. As a matter of fact, the Talkwalker study shows that: “55% of users aged between 13 to 35 send memes at least once a week.” 

Finally, memes also are an excellent way for brands to put themselves in their followers’ shoes and create meaningful content they can relate to, based on what they’re living and experiencing, in a fun and humorous way. 

Presented like that, memes seem like a wonderful way to connect and engage with your audience. Yes, but be careful since memes can sometimes be misinterpreted or be about sensitive matters. In that way, a bad meme could have a negative impact on your brand’s reputation, especially if that content is judged inappropriate and shared throughout social media.

3. Nostalgia marketing

The third trend to expect in 2021, is nostalgia marketing, which is a type of marketing characterized by messages focused on the good old days. Nostalgia marketing aims to exploit feelings of nostalgia felt by a particular generation.

Using nostalgia in marketing campaigns helps create an emotional link between a consumer and a brand. It also brings back a lot of good memories that help take your mind off the bad stuff that’s happening right now, let’s say a global sanitary crisis. 🤷🏻‍♀️

In 2020, during the isolation period of spring, millennials mostly answered these types of messages, since they’re very anxious regarding the pandemic situation and the environmental issues. As a matter of fact, their need for reassurance was felt by analysts who noted an 88% increase in the use of nostalgia hashtags, from around 13,000 to 24,000.  

This type of marketing has been used by two famously known companies, Netflix and Marvel. They both used nostalgia marketing to create an emotional link with their consumers, respectively in Netflix’s Stranger Thing, a serie focusing on the 80’s nostalgia, and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy movie series,  relying on retro songs. 

Logo de la série Stranger Things

Photo credit: Netflix. The Stranger Things logo is representative of the 80s graphic style.

4. Conversational marketing

Social media is the ultimate way to engage in conversation with users. It is also the best way to reach consumers where they are and engage in the conversation when they want to. Plus, social media helps guide the conversation, build trust, and attract new potential customers.

However, consumers aren’t stupid. They are targeted by ads everywhere they go and are more and more aware of the marketing strategies used by the companies to make them buy. Therefore, companies now aim to build trust relationships with consumers, and to do so, brands turned themselves to a new type of marketing: conversational marketing. 

This type of marketing uses values that brands share with a consumer or group of consumers. This type of Inbound marketing is driven by three main values which are: transparency, empathy, and authenticity.

Another way for companies to do conversational marketing is by taking a stand regarding specific problems and social issues meaningful to their targeted audience. These methods help brands create a connection and a feeling of trust and penetrate new audiences.

Conversational marketing keeps on getting more popular and should continue to do so in 2021, according to the Talkwalker study. In the end, this marketing strategy is about building true and genuine relationships from one human to another, not just from a brand to a bunch of potential customers.

5. Marketing and gamers

This year especially, with the ongoing situation, people were looking for new ways to escape their day to day living room and be entertained. 

Since brands are fiercely competing on social media for likes, shares, and comments, they need to explore new avenues to connect with their audience but also engage and build relationships. One of the solutions was targeting gamers. That’s why more and more brands are using video games or VR to penetrate new audiences and meet consumers where they are.

During the isolation period, people started using video games to escape reality and take their minds off everything that was happening. That’s why, according to the Talkwalker study, in July 2020, 4,12 million people identified as gamers, which is 30% more than the previous year. 

Furthermore, a lot of brands seized the opportunity to advertise with gamers communities or during gaming events, by hiring gaming influencers or by targeting these communities. Warner Bros, for example, presented the trailer of its last movie Tenet during a Fortnite virtual event.

Gamification methods or new technologies like 360 video or augmented reality to add value to the content and make it even more fun and engaging. A well-known example of that is the use of augmented reality filters in stories on social media as seen on Snapchat or Instagram.

Image de filtre en story Instagram

Photo credits : Tech Crunch

Another example is the Duolingo app, which is a popular app used to learn new languages. Duolingo relies on gamification methods to make a game out of learning a new language. To do so, they included in the app life points, levels, rewards, virtual money, and they encourage you to play every day.

Application Duolingo qui utilise la gamification

Screenshots of Duolingo’s app. On top of the second photo, we see the crowns which are levels, the days the player played in streak, and the life points.

6. Marketing is going back to basics in 2021

A lot of people believe that older marketing practices are obsolete, but facts demonstrate otherwise. Indeed, during covid, many companies went back to basics and started sending newsletters, creating podcasts, or simply taking the phone to call clients and prospects. 

According to the Talkwalker study, “In 2020 in France, native podcasts represented 9,2 million listeners, while mentions of newsletter increased by 14% during the lockdown.

These marketing methods, considered old-fashioned, will continue in 2021 according to the study. We can therefore expect to see new podcasts emerge as well as an upsurge in email and text message marketing.

7. Social selling

Social selling is another marketing method used to create a trust relationship between a brand and a potential buyer. Considering people tend to buy products from brands they trust or when they get good feedback from friends, brands are working on developing authentic relationships and using genuine and empathic communication. 

Influencer marketing is one of the many ways used by brands to do social selling. It consists in hiring an influencer or famously known person to present a brand or give a good review about a product. 

This method has been used a lot in the past years and that’s why brands need to be cautious since users are aware of these technics and are able to recognize easily the ads or product placements in the videos of their favorite influencers.

But since it’s a method that’s been very effective, we are more likely to keep on seeing influencer marketing in 2021, as well as new social selling techniques to influence social shopping.

8. The fight against disinformation

Every day, more information is uploaded online and shared throughout social media. This year we’ve seen a lot of information about covid, some of it true, some of it in the stage of hypothesis, and some it false, like all the miraculous cures, a bunch of fraudulent emails, or even conspiracy theories. 

For brands, it’s even more important to make sure that the information they share on their social media accounts is true and verified because they shouldn’t participate in the disinformation or spread fake news. 

Arrêtons la désinformation sur les réseaux sociaux

Crédits photo : Unsplash

Besides, with social media, spreading false information or fake news is largely accelerated. It is then capital to make sure the information brands share is true and of good quality.

Plus, web users are on the lookout for such news or false information and won’t be afraid to publicly tell a brand that the information shared is wrong or misinformative, which could negatively impact the brand’s image. 

9. Get involved with socially responsible audiences 

Consumers are increasingly aware of various social issues like the environment, the #MeToo movement, the rights of marginalized people, mental health, animal rights, and a thousand more. They also seek to encourage brands that will position themselves and support such movements or share the same values.

In 2021, more than ever, brands must take a stand and display their values since consumers are in search of meaning and consume more and more according to what they believe in. 

10. Customer remains king 👑

Nothing’s changed here, but we certainly must not forget that the client remains king and must be central to all your marketing strategies. 

Digital tools, such as social media and big data have helped brands understand better the needs of their consumers. This massive data collection helped them serve their clients better and give them the royal treatment they deserve. 

With all the information gathered about their clients and prospects, they can know more about their needs and wants. Using analytics tools is therefore an excellent way to improve their marketing strategies and adapt their products and services offers to meet the customer’s expectations. 

There you have it, the 10 big trends to look out for in 2021 regarding social media and digital marketing. If there’s one thing you should remember is that your client must always be central in your marketing strategies as well as his needs and values. The idea is not to sell a product at all price anymore, but about creating genuine and authentic human relationships. 

To know more about the social media trends for 2021, you can read the report on social Media Trends in 2021

To develop effective marketing strategies that align with these trends and learn more about Inbound Marketing and Sales methodology, contact an expert at Globalia. It will be our pleasure to accompany you!

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