Social media marketing 2021

We stand on the brink of a much-anticipated new year. Vaccines are rolling out, positive change is inching forward in areas of racial equality and climate action, and it’s fair to say that most people are feeling cautiously optimistic about 2021.

For marketers, 2021 planning will look a little different than in previous years. While it is true that change is constant in marketing, 2020 shook up the field so dramatically that many marketers are revisiting everything from personas and buyer journeys to brand purpose.

Hootsuite, the most widely used social media management platform, just released its annual ‘Social Trends Report‘ to help marketers plot their course in 2021. The report is based on a survey of 11,189 marketers and is supplemented with insights from interviews with dozens of industry experts and third-party research from leading industry analysts.

Inclusivity also became a bigger focus in 2021, with the Black Lives Matter movement highlighting endemic issues that linger within various elements of society.

A study by Accenture shows that the cultural shift towards inclusivity is also impacting purchase behaviour, with 41% of shoppers shifting away from retailers which don’t reflect their views on identity and diversity – and 29% are willing to switch brands completely if they don’t show enough diversity.

Brands that are seen to be non-inclusive, or who don’t appear to be a part of the inclusivity conversation, will likely see impacts in 2021. On the flipside, brands which openly showcase their involvement in inclusive causes, will reap the benefits and drive deeper connections with their buyers.

LinkedIn is currently plagued by mass-outreach spam, which is making people more hesitant and sceptical about connecting and more easily offended by a sales pitch. Outreach spam ruins relationships and reputations but real relationships build them.

In 2021, marketers will want to focus on building relationships rather than collecting connections whose sole purpose is to drop a sales pitch after two interactions. Real 1:1 connections begin when the connection request is customized for the recipient, making them feel valued.

The sophisticated social media marketer will put effort into building meaningful, long-term relationships on LinkedIn that aren’t perceived as transactional.

Central to that success will be accurately assessing the customer life cycle and the average customer value so you know how much you can pay for a lead and still remain profitable.

Review the records of your past customers to get a solid sense of how leads join your list, the length of time between someone joining your list and becoming a paying customer, and how much your average customer spends with you.

Use that information to build out your projections and a Facebook advertising strategy that reflects your true customer data. Then you can move into developing innovative ad campaigns that play to Facebook’s preferences with creative.

For example, because Facebook is giving more prominence to Reels on Instagram, I predict that video ads will convert better than images.

I recently tested ads that featured an image with audio, a static image, a moving image, and a video and found that the ad with video converted at as much as half the cost of the others. Test videos, GIFs, and Reels in your own ads to see which perform best with your ideal customer.