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2021 Social Media Forecast

It’s a long one, boys and girls…grab your coffee and get comfortable.

Gone are the days where you could get away with logging in to your Instagram account, post content and call it a day. Social media is evolving and getting smarter literally every 24 hours. With record numbers of people shooting their screen time percentages through the roof with app use, it’s no wonder why every platform is becoming business-focused and the place to be.

Our job has turned into a delicate balance between keeping a finger on the pulse of overnight trends, pivoting your content strategies to stay classic and on-brand while participating in said trends, and staying up-to-date with all the algorithm changes and trigger points.

Of course, our agency focuses on Instagram first and foremost, but these days, you’ve got to have *backup* platforms too. So let’s see what 2021 has in store for how we all use social media for business, shall we?

Instagram

Get ready to be required to share the most engaging and creative content that you’ve ever shared before.

  • Reels: we’ve discussed how video content is taking over. Instagram has finally confirmed video is king not because the algorithm says so but because videos encourage better engagement: longer view time, more thoughtful interaction, and because the explore page dedicates 40% of it’s real estate to video posts. Changes for Reels in 2021: they will become shoppable, ad-friendly and the length will be extended to 60 seconds. If you’re not ready for Reels, you should at least be considering animated content.
  • Curated Aesthetic: FINALLYTHANKGOD is all we can say. If you work with us or are considering working with us, you know this will always be our number one, but now Instagram is feeling it too more than ever. Every piece of content shared should be branded but…
  • The No-Filter-Filter Edit: personally I think this is a result of quarantine, where businesses couldn’t editorialize their content the same way as before, but we’re back to OG-sharing: selfies, mirrors, less curated poses and less saturation. Consumers are favoring brands that depict reality and the reality is, we’re not glammed up, or in offices, or walking around with a full production team. Real is relatable…which leads us to:
  • Community-led UGC and Inclusivity Content: brands are leaning heavily on their influencers and fans to produce content for them. This also gives elements of reality and inclusivity.
  • Memes: Memes are literally the easiest way to up engagement and stay on trend, and show your creativity by making them relevant for your brand. We’re really good at this, and at knowing which meme trend should be skipped – that’s equally as important.
  • Graphics: we’re also getting text-heavy these days, with some old school graphics, grainy film-like filters and text-on-post imagery. People are shopping for brands via Instagram (shoutout new Keywords search option), so the easier you make it for them to find what they’re looking for, the faster the conversion from search to follower, to fan to client/consumer will become.
  • E-commerce: If you have products for sale and you are not creating shoppable content, you’re in your own way. Sorry.

Phew. Now let me tell you a little bit about the algorithm’s future. Instagram will be ranking posts in this order:

  • Interest: based on posts, keywords and accounts you’ve previously interacted with
  • Relationship: the followers you’re closest to (your likes/comments/dms all come into play here)
  • Timeliness: while the feed isn’t chronological anymore, most recent posts are prioritized
  • Frequency: how often you post and use the app matters
  • Following: the posts of who you follow come first, then similar accounts follow
  • Usage: how often you’re on the app will determine how much content is put in front of you

And for Stories, Reels and all video-based content timeliness and consistency matter most. Increasing engagement is still a priority, and analytics reporting is still our best way to determine what’s working and what needs to be revisited and revised.

Facebook

Facebook, as Instagram’s owner, obviously has it’s hands full. But they’ve made it easier than ever to fuse the two platforms. Facebook Business Manager operates both your Facebook Page and Instagram Business/Creator account, e-commerce, bookings, ads, etc. It’s all kind of just streamlined now.

Pinterest and TokTok

The future of e-commerce lies on these two platforms. Pinterest has become a go-to, necessary platform for some of the largest retail brands of our time. If you are a company which prioritizes sales and website traffic, you want to have a full Pinterest marketing strategy.

TikTok is video-based, and we’ve already discussed how video content is topping all marketing plans for 2021. They will be rolling out and refining an e-commerce channel to their platform. And just like with Pinterest, if you prioritize product sales, you want to be ready to jump on this as soon as it’s possible.

LinkedIn and Twitter

LinkedIn and Twitter, in their own ways, are keeping up. They both have their versions of Stories now – fleeting content with short-term availability – and are incorporating more tools to maintain their user base. We still consider them lowest priority in a 2021 social media strategy.

We’re here to help

As you can see, the hardest part of owning a social media agency is making sure I keep us all ahead of the curve and ready for whatever comes next. That’s why our management packages take care of all of this without stressing you out or nickel-and-diming you every time something new needs to be addressed. All packages are all-inclusive, and give you the option of choosing up to three platforms for your custom strategy (always Instagram + two others).

We also now offer Social Media Coaching, where we will just guide you through the evolutions, work with you on a customized plan, keep you on track to reach your goals and cheer you on.

xo, Jessica