Social networks: 8 trends to follow in 2021

Herve Mouyal

1. Reinforcing Conversational Marketing

For some time now, the number of likes and followers has not been a criteria as important for many companies. Indeed, various events, such as the purchase of fake followers and likes and the use of robots, have tarnished the trust between influencers and brands. Interaction has become the number one criterion for 2021. Much more than the number of "likes", it is the possible conversation with one's community and the long term link that prevails.

Conversational marketing is about interacting with customers in a deep and personalized way. It's no longer about asking a question via a Facebook or Twitter survey, but about offering real dialogues via message boxes, for example.

Before buying, customers now want to question a company, make sure it can meet their needs, and fit their values.

It's time to promote access to this information by encouraging dialogue, whether through a chatbot (Messenger or on the website), publications that encourage companies to contact them (with the "send a message" button on Facebook, for example) or the provision of after-sales service via WhatsApp.

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2. Temporary Content Continues to be Plebiscite

Story Instagram or Snapchat have not finished appealing. Social networks result in a concise audience attention span. And stories can be very addictive because they can be read continuously and fed continuously throughout the day.

This trend will continue to increase in 2021.

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3. Remix to bring authenticity

TikTok, Instagram's Reels, or Triller have reinvented user-generated content. They use existing concepts or templates to recreate formats and express their ideas. A popular practice is called "remix".

This trend, born with lockdown, will become popular in 2021. Brands have understood that they need to encourage consumers to take ownership of their products. They provide their community with filters, stickers, templates, and other options.

When they appropriate these contents, they immediately become brand ambassadors and propel brand awareness. Remixing has, therefore, become an efficient strategy for managing its image at a lower cost.

For example, on Instagram, McDonald's in France offers its subscribers the opportunity to create an augmented reality story, allowing them to wear a diamond bar with the brand's famous "M".

4. Entertainment and Social Gaming

During the lockdown, consumers looked for virtual ways to connect. And video games are a great form of entertainment and connection!

However, beyond the entertainment side, users want to strengthen their connection with their gaming partners. That's why we are seeing the development of platforms like Twitch or YouTube, which allow a real exchange between members of the same community.

What if your brand communicated with its audience through interactive content?

For example, WWF has distinguished itself with its #NoBuildChallenge on Fortnite, in partnership with the Solary team (a French team). The idea was to invite Fortnite fans to survive, in the game, without using natural resources. The goal? To make users aware of the fact that it is difficult to stay alive without natural resources... This directly echoes current environmental issues.

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5. Very Short Videos

The new social networks have not only revolutionized User Generated Content; they have also led to a new form of video consumption. Today, TikTok has more than 690 million active users who spend more than 46 minutes a day on the application for content that rarely exceeds 15 seconds.

Videos of less than 30 seconds are back in the spotlight! Easy to make and watch, they are fun to consume at any time of the day.

A trend amplified by the rules of physical distancing and the development of telecommuting. Users are looking to communicate quickly with their family and friends, and brands via their smartphone.

As a result, this type of content is exploding and is likely to become part of the social media industry in the long term. Especially with the arrival of Reels on Instagram, stories on Pinterest, and Triller!

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6. A Strong and Committed Positioning

Consumers are increasingly engaged. But 2020 marked a turning point in this commitment. Social, political, and environmental issues were at the heart of the news throughout the year.

As a result, many brands took a stand to defend their social networks' convictions and share committed content. They no longer hesitate to use their pages to raise public awareness of major issues.

The time has come for open dialogue, welcoming the interactions and opinions of their audiences.

7. Private Communities

In the same desire to strengthen the bond and connect with their audience, brands continue to focus on private communities.

This is particularly the case with the private Facebook groups that have been flourishing for several years. There are several advantages to this:

  • Group members take part in the animation and create links between them.
  • They can become true ambassadors by recommending the group to others.
  • They maintain a close relationship with your brand.
  • You can respond directly to your members with more simplicity.

8. Ever More Dynamic Advertising

As a direct consequence of the previous point, advertisements must adapt to the evolution of information consumption on the web. This, combined with the fact that consumers are increasingly used to and comfortable shopping via social networks, advertisements are becoming even more dynamic.

As a result, advertisements increasingly encourage users to shop directly on the platform. After Instagram Shopping, YouTube has recently integrated new sales functionalities on the platform.

These trends mark a new turning point for companies' social media strategy. The content is intended to be engaged, strong, creating a real connection with users. To succeed, brands will have to break down digital barriers to bring proximity in their communication. And above all, don't neglect any social network.

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I have always needed to create and for the past 7 years I have been sharing my creativity by producing photo and video content for luxury hotels around the world as well as for brands. I don't like to stay in my comfort zone because I can get bored very quickly. I need to try new things because for each brand the speaking is different.

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