Social Media is an everchanging atmosphere that is in a constant state of evolution with minimal signs that it will ever slow down. There are new technologies and apps popping up every day with a new addition and role to play in the industry whether that be a positive or negative contribution.

We have come up with 5 trends for 2021 that we think will be coming into play and will affect us more than ever.

1. User-Generated Content

Apps and interfaces such as Tik Tok and Instagram reels made their biggest boom in 2020 and they don’t look like they are slowing down anytime soon as their user demographic gradually starts to get older with Tik Tok already obtaining 3.7 million active users in the UK.

These apps’ primary force comes from its users creating the content for other users and whether a video has the potential to go viral comes down to a little push from Tik Tok’s algorithm but mostly from user engagement.

This spike in user content has lead to the sharpest influx in influencers. Many companies have caught onto this and targeted these new influencers for product placement and brand promotion whilst also utilising Tik Tok’s paid ad platform.

Although the opportunity to promote is abundant on Tik Tok, the criteria to create successful leads is extremely niche. The content must appeal to the young demographic of the app, it must be 60 seconds and it must contain some rare USP whether that be humour or dramatic landscape to stand a chance of going ‘viral’.

For example, if we at SHINE were to promote some of our hospitality clients on the app, there is a strong chance we would gain a strong viewer rate due to some of the unique landscapes we could utilise, but the chances of turning those viewers into successful conversions is very low due to the price point of our client and the demographic of the viewers.

2. ‘Comfort Content’

We as a society have never been more vulnerable than we are now. As social media reaches its peak bringing with it fake news, unachievable beauty standards and depreciating communication skills it is coupled with a global pandemic that has shaken the world and left us distrusting companies, governments and brands more than ever.

This has resulted in the creation of what we call ‘Needy Nations’. We are left seeking comfort and reassurance from whatever is put in front of us to be able to function freely.

Companies and brands fully understand this and are tweaking their promotions in favour of ‘Comfort Content’ to reduce backlash and to try and be more appealing than the next company.

Many brands are adapting their wording and promotion to include the 4 C’S –

  • Community 
  • Contactless 
  • Cleanliness
  • Compassion

Using the 4 C’s can keep you on track to building a sustainable and trusting consumer database who you can then convert into reliable leads.

This is something we at Shine have already started to implement into our own clients’ Social Media whether that be through soft promotion or highlighting cleanliness.

3. Social Commerce

E-commerce and social media will become more seamless in the upcoming year. With companies like Etsy, eBay and Amazon trying to take advantage of social media platforms, digital shopping is getting a whole new life. In 2021, we will see more Instagram storefronts and tailored platform ads. Social media data will be used to personalise ads, making them all the harder to ignore.

Overall, there is a lot of innovative social media features to get excited about in the coming year. We will see a more personalised experience thanks to increases in technology, but at a cost. With more machine learning running behind the scenes to figure out our tastes, we run into issues of privacy, legality and credibility. In the future, we will have to figure out how to balance all the new technology with our basic desires to feel in control.

We will be shown more and more products that relate to our specific tastes and it is almost getting the point where when a product is shown to us that is too similar to what we need, it might actually put us off because we are scared of what data companies hold on us. It could reach a point where brands are forced to cut back on targeted ad’s as the detail of them are actually having the opposite effect.

4. The continued rise of disinformation

Covid-19 isn’t the only virus we are having to deal with at the moment, there is a new and very real virus that has the power to affect us in many more ways than just a high-temperature.

If the last two years have taught us anything, it is that ‘Digital Disinformation’ is real and is not going away. It can range from menial fake news such as “Cocaine kills Covid’ up to the disinformation that Russia deployed during the USA 2016 elections.

Disinformation can easily be compared to a virus due to how it replicates. In a recent research project by Stanford University, they have identified the movements of fake news can scarily mimic that of a virus.

The researchers have adapted a model for understanding diseases that can infect a person more than once. It looks at how many people are “susceptible” to the disease – or in this case, likely to believe a piece of fake news. It also looks at how many have been exposed to it, and how many are actually “infected” and believe the story; and how many people are likely to spread a piece of fake news.

“Much like a virus, the researchers say that over time being exposed to multiple strains of fake news can wear down a person’s resistance and make them increasingly susceptible. The more times a person is exposed to a piece of fake news, especially if it comes from an influential source, the more likely they are to become persuaded or infected.”

5. Conversational Marketing

As our information regarding social media grows and we begin to release the power big corporations and business have in-regards to data and knowledge there is a unanimous feeling of fear among the general public towards social media and the complete ambiguity of it.

In light of this, Businesses need to acknowledge that now more than ever they need to be more accessible and bring down any ‘virtual wall’ that may lie in-between their business and consumer and must appear to be at one with their customer.

Smart businesses will understand that being transparent, authentic, and even vulnerable is smart marketing in 2021. Building a connecting between people is now essential to promote longevity and solid frameworks of marketing. This means the brand should be personified in a way that reveals who they stand for and what they stand for.

This particular ‘transparency’ will see the rise in conversational marketing such as chatbots, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp for Business in an effort to build relationships through personalised one-to-one content.

This will more than likely be accompanied with a rise in ‘human-voice’ social media presence that adopts a more conversational tone through the potential use of humour and relatability for example

In short, Social Media is both at its strongest and scariest with so much potential for growth into areas that we don’t know exist yet. Although some aspects of Social Media can be scary, we try and harness the best of it and use it to promote organic growth and stimulate businesses.

As an agency who deal with clients’ Social Media directly, we are constantly looking out for juicy new trends to latch onto and are constantly trying to learn and progress to make our social management some of the best out there!

If you are interested in how we can adapt your social strategy to get you miles ahead of your competition.


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