The New Roaring Twenties: Marketing Trends for 2021 To Help Your Business Grow
2020 has been a really challenging time for many of us. With so many unexpected situations we have faced throughout the year, predictions for next year can almost seem quaint.
But the show does indeed go on, and as 'normal' continues to twist and turn this long windy path, people are adapting to the shifts we all continue to experience; some of those shifts may be predictable while many in hindsight might not.
Savvy business owners and marketers have been adapting too. We have seen many businesses push to align more seamlessly to the circumstances that were thrust upon them. Taking businesses online and finding innovative ways to keep serving their customer communities was a big initiative for many.
Eventually, the dust will settle into the new year, and at this point, who knows what that will look like. But according to some experts, we are headed for a healthy rebound in society and the economy overall by mid-year.
So for the moment, let's imagine we will have reached a new place in a happy, more healthy world and get to the business of ushering in the new roaring '20s. In this article, we'll go over a few predictions of what I think we might see play out in marketing and social media in 2021 and beyond.
Ongoing Diversification of the Marketing Mix
It's no surprise that the pandemic has dramatically increased the amount of time people spend online, including how they research products, brands, and offerings.
Keeping a diverse marketing mix is extremely important. Every day we read news from the major platforms about looming changes that could significantly affect algorithms, or perhaps how a 'glitch' impaired many businesses' marketing and advertising efforts during the latest Facebook black Friday debacle. Marketers must work hard to keep all their eggs out of these extremely fragile and volatile baskets.
For example, the recent YouTube announcement proclaimed, "Ads can now appear on videos from channels not in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP)." This means that YouTube will begin "gradually placing ads on brand videos." According to YouTube, this is part of "ongoing investments that help advertisers responsibly tap into the full scale of YouTube to connect with their audiences and grow their businesses." What does this mean? If you were solely investing in your YouTube channel, your biggest competitor could potentially hijack your audience, and YouTube will get paid for it.
It's also essential to understand each of the platforms, their algorithms, and the content they deem more valuable to serve up. Where does video content fit, or infographics, for example? Monitor your analytics to determine which posts are performing better than others and why that might be.
Own Your Email List
Another effective way to market to people is through an email list. This way, you ensure that your offerings are seen by people who will most likely have an interest. These are people who visit your website or one of your social media profiles and decide that they like your brand enough that they want to sign up to be notified about you in their email, a big first step to building a strong relationship.
By cultivating this list, you don't have to depend on social media for direct communication with potential and existing clients. People on social media may scroll right past your content. But, if you send an informative email to your email list, you are more likely to reach people who have already expressed support and want to learn more.
Growing your in-house lists should be an important goal for all businesses in the coming year that can be accomplished by encouraging as many people as possible to sign up for your email list. Be sure to include a call to action in your content mix or have a small pop-up with a simple form on your site to give visitors an easy way to commit to the list. You can even consider a lead magnet, a free ebook, or a discount code as an extra incentive to sign up.
Gone are the days of promotional marketing. Today brands must establish a 2-way conversation with consumers and connect directly on matters that are most important to them.
Conversational marketing engages your community and builds relationships through timely and personalized content delivered by bots and humans. Brands should leverage tools such as chatbots, live-streaming video platforms, and social channels to create authentic connections with consumers while showing them the brand's human side.
Bots can help make sure that there are responses to any comments or inquiries about your products; make sure that a human can step in when needed to create a seamless communication flow with your visitor.
Genuine engagement and relationship-building are key to creating a robust customer experience in 2021 and beyond.
Short videos have been around for several years now, and as a result of the lockdowns, they have become even more popular.
Platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram Reels have played a big part in the increase. Tik Tok has grown to 2 billion downloads worldwide and was the #1 downloaded app in 2020. The sixth-largest social network, with 800 million monthly active users, TikTok has already surpassed LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.
These succinct videos can be seen by thousands or even millions of people. It's crucial when making these videos to grab your viewer's attention as quickly as possible. It's easy for a viewer to scroll away to the next video, but if you're able to hook them and keep them interested, they might stick around.
Live videos made their debut on Facebook and Instagram in 2016. So although they are not 'brand new,' they are becoming more widely used, especially during and following the lockdown. LinkedIn is even getting in on the live video action, having recently launched their live video feature.
Live video allows brands to connect more deeply with their target audience in real-time. Another big plus is that creating live videos help you 'game' the algorithm because platforms prioritize live content in the feeds. In fact, according to Hootsuite, Facebook Live videos, for example, get six times more interactions than prerecorded versions.
If you have a special event at your business, make a live video to show how it's going. Or set up a Q&A to answer questions about your company, specific product, or a big announcement. Live videos can offer an immediate connection with your business that prerecorded media cannot substitute.
More than just being viral images, memes are trending themes and attention-getters.
Especially if you have a talent for comedy, memes are a great way to reach people who may not have sought out a business like yours on their own. They may enjoy a meme you made and click on your profile to see what you're about.
Social media sites often highlight these trending themes and serve them up at the top of the feed; companies can capitalize on them to reach a wider audience.
If you don't know where to start, look at what other people are posting. Sometimes you might find a meme that you can alter to fit your brand. You could even Photoshop an existing meme and add your product to it. Memes are not only good for a laugh, but it can create a better chance of leaving a lasting impression, sometimes even more so than a traditional ad.
Getting a solid base of followers and fans takes time, but it is worth it. Some brands might pay for followers, but the people who follow them usually aren't interested in that company's products or social media presence. It is best to attract as many people who are genuinely interested in your offering. Real people who care about your business are more likely to interact with your posts, share, and comment on them, which will attract more like-minded individuals.
There will always be a "one-off." After all, 'going viral' is where quick thinking can gain traction and expand organic reach for a business.
While advertising remains a valuable part of marketing by generating site traffic and expanding awareness, people don't trust it. (Rightly so, in my opinion, but that is another article).
People do, however, trust family and friends. In fact, they will even trust some strangers' opinions over the brands themselves. Consumer ranking and reviews can have a more significant conversion impact than advertisements alone. Investing in solid relationships with customers and local influencers can help a brand earn trust through their key brand messages.
These are just some of the trends that I predict we will see in the coming year, and no doubt we will see more, perhaps unexpected trends materialize. With practice, experimentation, dedication, and consistency, you will grow your following, increase your conversions, and have a better chance of growing your business in the year 2021.
What do you think 2021 will bring? Let me know in the comments below.
Brandi J. Bergeron is a Marketing Practitioner, Branding Strategist, Content Creator, and Partner in Moon Mission Media. Her finger firmly on the pulse of digital media's leading-edge, Brandi and her colleagues have advised some of the top global fitness and wellbeing brands. A graduate of LSU, Brandi has 20+ years of marketing experience. She loves to help her clients thrive in both traditional marketing and the constantly changing seas of digital and social media.