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Episode 108: What To Expect From Social Media In 2021 (Minisode)

It's time for a minisode! This week Iris dives into all the trends we're expecting to see on social media next year. From types of content to calendar scheduling to social shopping, 2021 is going to be an exciting year - and this is where you can get a head start on your social strategy planning! Happy listening!

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Episode Transcript

Iris: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Outside by Design. I'm Iris, I'm on the creative team here at Wheelie and today in a minisode I'm going to be covering social media trends to expect out of 2021.

Recently, on the Wheelie Instagram, we made a post about social media trends to expect from the next year. And it really blew up. We had a lot of interest on it. So we decided that we might as well do a minisode and dive in a little bit deeper into those different points and explore what the data is looking at and what different social media forecasters and data analysts are expecting to see out of 2021. So let's get started.

Number one, the first thing to expect from social media in 2021 - and you might be seeing it blow up a lot right now because of the holiday season - this first point is all about social shopping. Shopping on social media and checking out continues to improve, continues to grow in popularity. And in 2021, it will continue to go along that trajectory.

Right now, 70% of Instagram users say they use Instagram to discover new products. And Instagram continues to build out their Instagram shopping capabilities, their product tagging capabilities, as well as Instagram checkout. So you can check out completely without leaving Instagram at all in certain shops.

Helped along partially by the pandemic because many, many people are turning to more online shopping and supporting small businesses online and through social media, this trend continues to grow and the tools on social media are also developing and improving. And on top of that consumer attitudes towards shopping on social media, where maybe they would follow a brand on social media, but then transition to a desktop computer and visit the website directly, that's starting to go away. More and more people are in favor of shopping directly from Instagram, checking out, and then going right back to scrolling.

The data shows that 130 million users tap on shopping posts every month. That's according to a study done by Oberlo. And that's not slowing down. It continues to grow week to week and month to month. And we're definitely going to see this grow in 2021. So establishing your Instagram shop, establishing your Facebook shop as those continue to boom is going to be a really big deal for next year. The consumer attitudes are there. People are wanting to shop there and it's a place that you should be if you are a B2C business, especially for smaller dollar items where you feel very comfortable checking out directly from your phone, just in a few minutes and moving on with your day. So social shopping is going to continue to grow and as an excellent way to increase your sales from social media.

Number two: customers are no longer looking for just entertainment from the brands that they follow on social media. It used to be that we were really pushing being entertaining, funny, sharing viral videos, sharing memes.

And after this year, we've spent a lot of time on social media. A lot of us have been pent up at our homes, just scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. So consumers want more from the brands that they follow on social media. They want useful content over entertaining content. So they want to consume content that provides value to their lives. They want content that is less frivolous and has more substance.

So as a brand, this is going to entail posting with purpose, having a purpose behind every single post that you put out. Is this post going to start a conversation? Is this post going to inform people about a new product? Is this post going to let someone know a new way to use your product?

Sprout Social data shows that 45% of users say they will unfollow a brand if they are posting irrelevant content. And this is an area where you can really lose your following. So on top of just being entertaining and having dog photos, people are looking for more and more value while they scroll.

Number three is authenticity. So we've talked about this on the podcast, we've talked about it on our social media, but shoppers prefer brands who take a stand. The numbers are constantly changing, but at the moment it's around 70% of consumers say that they prefer to shop at brands that have the same values that they do and are vocal about those values. And we learned this in 2020, we learned that consumers expect brands to take a stance and to align with their values.

It used to be that brands could be very neutral, very quiet about what they believed in, very quiet about their values and not anymore. More and more, especially millennial shoppers are looking to spend their money at businesses that support the same values that they do.

So this point is that as we move into 2021 brands need to continue to voice their values and stand up for what they believe in, take a stance on issues, and be authentic, not being wishy-washy.

Number four, the fourth trend that we are going to see in 2021 on social media, is customer service happening through social media.

This is a trend that has been growing for quite a few years, and it's not going to stop. Customer service discussions are going to continue to happen in the DMs. Whether we like it or not. Oftentimes we prefer those discussions to go through email directly to our customer service teams, but more and more our social media managers, our social media teams are going to be fielding customer service questions.

According to Sprout about 30% of customers say that they use DMs for customer service issues. So instead of going to an email address or a chat bot on your website, or - God forbid - calling you on the phone, a lot of customers are turning toward your Instagram page, your Twitter, your Facebook page, to send a quick message on how they can get their customer service questions answered.

So your social media team needs to be prepared to answer customer service questions, and they need to be able to do it in a timely manner, because 40% of consumers expect a response within an hour of DMing a company on social media. That is a really quick turnaround time. And that is asking a lot of social media managers.

But further than that, a vast majority of consumers expect a response within 24 hours. So if you can't get to messages within an hour, if you're a one person show at your company, if you have a really small social media team, if you value your sleep like I do, still, those DMS need to be responded to within a day in order to keep your customers happy. So don't overlook the DMs and their power to serve as a customer service tool and to turn frustrated customers into happy, happy customers.

Number five, the fifth trend that we are expecting to see from social media in 2021, is video video, video. Again, this is another one that we've been talking about for a long time, but video continues to rule on social media. Video is preferred by the algorithms on nearly every social platform. And we continue to see features pop up on these social platforms that are designed for video content like Reels, IGTV, Stories. We also have the success of Tik-Tok, Facebook algorithm really prefers video in ads and in organic posts. Video is huge. And if you don't have a video strategy in place, especially when it relates to your social media strategy, you're going to want to create one for 2021.

And this is going to be not only native video, but live video as well. Use of Facebook live increased by 27% in 2020, use of Instagram live, as you probably noticed, increased by 70% in 2020. And the more we get used to seeing this live content, the more we get used to tuning into live content, the more effective that live content is going to be.

So either live video, natively uploaded video, video that is perhaps in a vertical format or video filmed in a really short format, like a 15 second video that we see on Tik Tok and Reels. This is all going to continue to be effective to reaching customers and compelling them to learn more about your brand.

And lastly we have number six, the thing to expect from 2021. And this one is something big that we learned this year in the nightmare year that has been 2020. And that is the death of the long-term content calendar. And if you know me, I love to pledge to our clients to schedule out their social media in advance. Using social media scheduling apps will save you.

However, what we learned from 2020 is that things change really quickly and too quickly for us to effectively pivot messaging if we're scheduling out content too far in advance. So what we're seeing from 2021 is that a weekly basis of scheduling out content is going to work a lot better than a monthly type of schedule.

Let your team be flexible, let them react to things happening in the world. You want to make sure that you're not having content out there that's insensitive because what we learned from 2020 is that things can change very quickly. So continue to schedule out your content it is going to make your life so much easier, but do it on more of a weekly basis or short term basis so you are flexible. You know what's coming up and you can pivot if something bad goes down.

So those six main points are our biggest trends that we're expecting to see in 2021. And of course, things can change, new features get released on social media all the time. So I'm so excited to see what the next year holds.

Now is a great time to sit down and think about your social media, perhaps go through a social media audit or a social media training to get your team on board and ready for 2021. So many big things are coming.

Thank you so much for listening to this minisode. You can follow us on Instagram at @wheeliecreative to keep up with what's going on on the podcast and at Wheelie. And you can find the rest of our podcast episodes in your podcast app by searching Outside by Design or by going to Please subscribe. And if you haven't left a review, please do that. It helps us reach more people. And recommend us to a friend you know who might like to listen to the show.

Thank you so much for joining us, for letting us be between your ears. And I hope you learned something.

Stay cool. Be kind. And have a wonderful day.

We'll see you next week.

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