What will be the social media trends of 2021?
Social media has become such an integral part of life, that it is hard to believe it is still in its relative infancy. Facebook, the behemoth of the social media landscape turns just 17 in 2021. Not even old enough to drink yet. Twitter is turning 15 this year, so can at least have certificate 15 films to look forward to. Whilst Instagram will become 11 and is off to big boy school now.
Social media is the place were friends and family interact, it is a preferred source of news and information and brands and businesses’ main communication channels to their target markets. Few businesses can operate successfully without some degree of social media reach and engagement. Yet, with an ever-widening breadth of options and an ever-changing landscape, it is important to stay right on top of your social media strategy.
In the last two years, TikTok has soared in prominence. The Chinese platform has risen from around 20m global downloads in the second quarter of 2016 to 220m in the third quarter of 2019. An estimated 60% of users are Generation Z, ie, born after 1996. Its rise has coincided with the decline in useage of SnapChat, once a preferred domain of Millennials and Generation Z, but with Instagram stories taking a bite from SnapChat’s unique feature, it has slipped in popularity.
Facebook and Instagram remain the UK’s most popular social media platforms.
Yet, such is the volatility of social media, assume nothing. Facebook’s strategic moves towards centralising the leading platforms, with Instagram and WhatsApp both now under the Facebook umbrella, does not find favour in US Politics. Recently elected President Joe Biden said of the American company and its owner: “I’ve never been a fan of Facebook, as you probably know. I’ve never been a big Zuckerberg fan. I think he’s a real problem.”
It’s not unthinkable that the platform could face a reckoning. It has long denied that it is a publisher and has avoided the accountability more traditional media platforms must adhere too. Such is its role in societal discourse, that is looking an increasingly untenable position.
Meanwhile, another Chinese giant WeChat has yet to make a concerted move on Western markets. WeChat combines the functionality of Facebook, WhatsApp, with music app Spotify, dating app Tinder and ApplePay. It is a one stop shop for more than 500m Chinese users. Could it one day play the same role in our lives?
Other platforms are not searching for world domination, but with their distinct personalities, Pinterest and LinkedIn have attracted tens of millions of users. The former as a visual discovery platform for those seeking lifestyle inspiration for recipes, crafting, home and fashion. The latter as a way of connecting professionals and recruitment.
It can be an overwhelming proposition to get social media right and many companies make the mistake of going scattergun. Instead, it’s important to take a thorough, considered review of your approach. Understand who your market is, which platforms do they inhabit, develop content that they respond to and consistently review and refine.