Social media marketing has emerged as the prevalent form of marketing in the wake of the pandemic. More than 3.6 billion people are using social media worldwide and the number is projected to increase by almost 4.41 billion by 2025. This particular medium of marketing not only supports big brands to connect with their regular customers but also serves as a major source for new businesses to expand their network in no time.

Social media marketing as a whole is incredibly valuable and beneficial to your business growth. After following a brand on social media, consumers continue to engage with their content. It also helps the companies to increase brand awareness by directing traffic straight to their websites. According to reports, 91 percent of the consumers visit the brand’s website or app, 89 percent consumers buy from the brand while 85 percent recommend the brand to a family member or a friend. 

Here we list seven most important social media trends that you need to know in 2021:

1. Live streaming on social media 

Live streaming adds a human touch that text and images can’t justify. People often tend to believe those things that they see happening rather than a recorded video or written text. Lockdowns across the world brought significant change as concerts, exhibitions and tours turned into live streaming, and now people have started enjoying them from the comfort of their homes.

While the situation is still no different in 2021, people have gotten used to being able to interact with brands live. For instance, many face makeup brands are live streaming full face makeups on different skin tones in order to give their customers a more realistic feel. Social media streaming on the other hand also gives brands and businesses the opportunity to attract viewers and bring them to their websites. According to a recent Sprout Social Index, 40 percent of consumers want to see more live videos from brands.

2. Virtual reality 

Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. Interacting with people through VR gives you a sense of actually being together even if they are far away. Facebook is leveraging the Oculus VR platform to beta-test a virtual world that allows people to explore, connect with others, and play games. Virtual Reality applications require more than just graphics.

3. Augmented reality

Augmented Reality can be understood as having one foot in the real world. Augmented Reality simulates artificial objects in the real environment while virtual reality creates an artificial environment to inhabit. 

AR doesn’t require additional hardware beyond a smartphone, making it even more easily accessible than VR. Retailers and companies can use augmented reality to promote products or services, launch marketing campaigns, and collect unique user data.

By incorporating augmented reality into catalog apps, stores let consumers visualise how different products would look like in different environments. This increases the users’ interest and credibility in the product showcased.

4. Inclusivity 

Inclusion is about welcoming, developing, and advancing a diverse mix of individuals. Inclusive marketing refers to the processes and technologies that enable marginalised or underrepresented groups to feel connected with brands. The products should match an individual’s requirement and should cover all communities.

If the brand doesn’t reflect the audience’s views on identity and diversity, it ends up losing customers. Clothing brands need to include models of all shapes and sizes to let people understand whether a clothing item will suit their body type or not. Marketing teams of companies should bring a diversity of thought and cultural awareness.

Fenty became the biggest beauty brand launched in the history of YouTube within a year because of its inclusive line of beauty products. It even places “beauty for all” at the core of its marketing messaging.

5. Authenticity and Transparency 

People want brands to be more truthful and transparent about their products. If a brand shares a part of its production technique on social media, it automatically increases the trust of a consumer in that brand. It’s really important for a brand to allow its customers to easily reach out to the company in case of any problem or disappointment.

6. Sharing Stories 

More than 500 million users interact with Instagram Stories every day. Brands need to take a more organised approach and plan for stories as a content format. Many businesses have started to put their sale announcements in their stories to receive more customer engagement. Giveaways, gift vouchers, the product of the day, best selling products of the week are some commonly posted stories by different brands nowadays.

A Socialinsider study found that images in Stories have a 5.65 percent higher tap-forward rate than videos. Around 51 percent of brands are using videos in Stories, and the number is likely to increase in 2021.

7. Purpose-driven Campaigns

Social media has become the official space to convey your message and opinion regarding any issue. People are always looking for ad campaigns by their favourite brands which pick up a social issue. Social media campaigns speak to a larger audience, and it also brings a positive change in society as it impacts a vast audience.

Social media campaigns are the rocket fuel of marketing efforts that pay off in a major boost to your brand reputation. 74 percent of respondents in a Twitter survey want brands to showcase acts of kindness. And 77 percent feel more positively about brands that try to support society during the crisis.