Most tech-savvy entrepreneurs today understand that omnichannel marketing is important for connecting with customers, but not all retailers understand how to create effective omnichannel marketing campaigns. Social media plays a significant role in developing a consistent brand voice, but the key to driving traffic using these platforms is not just about regularly updating your content. Instead, brands need to ensure that they deliver the right messages and the right types of content that their target audience will value and engage with.
According to multiple sources and eCommerce experts, consumers in 2021 will expect their favorite companies to go above and beyond to show their commitment to important issues, remain authentic and transparent, and deliver personalized experiences. To stand out from your competitors, here are 6 of the top trends to incorporate into your social media approach this year:
Enable social commerce capabilities.
According to a professional writer for Sprout Social, Jacqueline Zote, 54% of social media users research items on social platforms before making a purchase, and social media referrals can influence over 70% of regular users. Instagram and Facebook have made it simple for stores to set up shops directly on their platforms so users don’t even have to leave the page to complete a transaction. Adding this social commerce capability increases the chances of someone buying something they like the first time they see it, instead of seeing it on social media and then having to navigate to the store’s website. In 2021, incorporating product tags or “Buy” buttons to your products on social media can lead to increased sales as customers will experience a more seamless journey.
Prioritize video content and live stream.
In 2020, live stream viewings spiked by 50% during major lockdown periods, and TikTok stood out as the latest quick-form video sharing platform. Instagram live streams and Amazon Live events gained popularity, and the ability to shop recommended products while streamers were reviewing them was a game changer.
Jose Angelo Gallegos, an award-winning content marketing and SEO strategist say that live streams and authentic “human driven” content will continue to thrive throughout 2021. “Influencer live streams can create trust and tap into the ‘in-the-moment’ connection that . . . consumers crave,” Gallegos explains. Candid expressions, honest reviews, and immediate reactions cultivate a sense of community amongst viewers, which can improve brand loyalty and increase the likelihood of someone choosing to purchase an item the influencer recommends.
Try social listening.
Social listening is by no means a new technique, but it is sorely underutilized by many brands. Attempting to stay updated on all the latest social media trends, conversations, and relevant issues can quickly become overwhelming on your own, which is why there are several social listening tools available. These time-saving tools, such as Buffer, Keyhole, and Synthesio, are designed to track key discussions and brand mentions across all your social media accounts to give you a comprehensive view of the most crucial topics to address. For instance, you can set up alerts to receive a notification whenever your brand name is mentioned, even if your business itself isn’t tagged. This way, you can quickly resolve any potential misunderstandings and be proactive in managing customer queries.
“Twitter is constantly changing,” writes marketing expert Neil Patel. “Not only should you strive to understand what your audience thinks, but you should also take the time to become part of the conversation in real-time. The last thing you want is to be left out of meaningful conversations with both previous and current users.”
Improve customer service on social platforms.
As brands have migrated to social media for marketing purposes, customers have taken that as a sign that they can directly interact with brands on these channels. It’s not uncommon for people to tag brands directly when they have a question or request for the brand instead of heading to the website and finding the traditional contact information. However, when paired with a great social listening strategy, turning your brand’s Twitter or Facebook channel into a customer service platform is not only possible, but beneficial to your company, loyal customers, and potential buyers.
People who reach out to companies on social media typically do so because they believe they’ll get a faster response than emailing or calling the business. Furthermore, by publicly posting their question online, gives other people the opportunity to see how the brand responds. Companies that can quickly resolve customer issues with friendly and easy-to-understand language will stand out to other potential buyers who may be convinced to give the brand a try.
Establish transparency and authenticity.
In the midst of the pandemic, countless businesses went above and beyond to show support for their employees, local communities, and frontline workers. From offering free products to essential employees to changing their operations to manufacture PPE, brands that showed genuine authenticity and humanity were viewed with greater respect and admiration from their customers.
“Smart businesses will understand that being transparent, authentic, and even vulnerable is smart marketing in 2021,” explains author and founder of Social Media Examiner, Michael Stelzner. “This means the brand should be personified in a way that reveals who they stand for and what they stand for,” Stelzner emphasizes the importance of humanizing your brand by revealing the real people who make your operations possible, highlighting the unique dynamics and values of your organization.
Take action to address social issues.
Merkle’s Q4 2020 Media Insights Report found that 56% of consumers report lacking respect for any businesses that stay silent about key issues. When it comes to equality, feminism, and environmentalism, businesses have the opportunity to utilize their social platforms to keep their customers informed and reassured of their core values.
Maisie Tomlinson, the digital marketing coordinator of Penguins Events and Incentives, refers to major brands like Nike and Ben & Jerry’s that have used social media to create educational content about the Black Lives Matter movement and the Covid-19 pandemic. “In 2021, consumers will be looking for more meaningful content that they can share to educate others,” Tomlinson continued. This content may include sustainability, climate change, social justice movements, or other major talking points that impact our nation. Brands should be motivated to do this not because they want to create highly shareable content, but because they genuinely want to promote ideas that could lead to a better future.