A year has passed in a whirlwind, and predicting what awaits us is not easier to navigate. Our friends from Hootsuite have launched their fifth annual Social Trends Report which highlights the major trends set for brand design in 2021 and how to adapt and thrive. You can download the full report here, but here we take a peek at some high – level insights backed by the fastest minds in marketing and data.
Transition to short-term ROI
This year saw a rush of short-term return on investment (ROI) to make up for lost sales due to the pandemic turmoil. In fact, 73 percent of all marketers in 2021 rated “increased new customer acquisition” as their top social score, compared to just 46 percent last year, up 58 percent from last year. This led to a very focused year.
But the transactions themselves do not create memorable brands or long-term growth.
That’s why you need to innovate to win loyalty and commitment in the long run. How? Putting fun back into the buying process, making shopping more social, and using social networking as a way to connect with customers, encourage loyalty, and prevent split experiences.
Finding your place in social conversations
The increase in the use of social media in 2020 has turned into numerous opportunities for brands. Unfortunately, many stumbled by jumping in too early instead of taking the crucial time to listen to their audience. The reality is that many people want to interact with each other, not with brands. Those whom the audience allowed to lead them could find spaces in which they could fit meaningfully and authentically into the conversation.
Brands that will find success in 2021 are not necessarily the ones leading the conversation, but finding creative pathways that will fit into it and break through the walls of indifference.
To join the conversation, instead of just interrupting, lean on user-generated content (UGC) instead of expensive content production, step up social listening to find the place that suits you, and choose your time and place to engage and participate.
A turning point for the baby boom
Baby boomers are now spending even more time on social platforms as a result of the pandemic, but retailers are still overlooking and under-representing this lucrative group in favor of targeting younger demographics.
Why? First, we tend to fall prey to the irresistible pursuit of novelty – rather than striving for efficiency. To take advantage of the growing technological enthusiasm of boomers, make sure you have smart segmentation and thoughtful representation. So smart brands like yours will skip companies that still carry stereotypes.
Link engagement information to identity
Social media is not just a collection of likes, but only a means to an end. You want to be sure that your social efforts will bring real results for your business. To do this, go beyond reactions and dig deeper to see how social data can help you better understand your customers.
Linking social media engagement to identity is more crucial than ever for marketing professionals. After so many traditional approaches have gone down, it has become the strongest bridge between brands and customers. To achieve this, strive to establish a solid UTM framework for paid and organic ads and integrate your data into your CRMs. This will ensure greater visibility of customer touchpoints and untapped opportunities.
Success will come down to taking steps – large or small – to gather key insights from quantified data. Be sure to bring them back to your broader marketing goals to avoid getting lost in the attribution pit or getting stuck in measuring the social network in the silo.
Become a purpose-oriented brand
While 2020 wasn’t the beginning of a shift toward targeted marketing, it set things in motion at high speed.
Now 53 percent of people say they want brands to proactively make the world a better place.
Becoming a dedicated brand is not something you can fake or simply emulate on social media. You cannot mark a box and be done. Brands need to be aware of what is happening in the world and take into account the conversations that are already taking place. If you are going to take a stand, make sure your actions support it.
In 2021, the strongest brands will balance the double demands of building a better business and a better world. This strategy must begin in your meeting room and should use social listening to learn and gain intelligence.