Every year we expect technologies and strategies, such as digital marketing, to evolve. However, the year 2020 came with a lot of unanticipated events, which brought on massive changes in the digital marketing sphere. 

In 2021, we are relying more on the digital world as compared to before. COVID-19 caused an upheaval around the world, and technology became everyone's savior.  With the increased shift of people on the usage of the internet and social media specifically, we observed a few changes in trends and will continue to do so as the world gets warmer to the idea of depending on technology.

Here are a few trends you can expect from 2021:

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1. Updated Search Optimization for Instagram

Instagram keeps changing its algorithms to shuffle the posts that you need on your feed and to make the content more relatable for every user. It is becoming normal for us to search on Instagram or Facebook to know more about a product. 

In the last quarter of 2020, Instagram announced that they would improve their search and make it more relatable for the audience. Now, the search isn't entirely based upon the hashtags; rather, there are other factors such as the keywords you use and the content you post. 

Try to focus on a single niche so that the Instagram algorithm can organically pick your content and increase the reach. If you now search for a keyword on Instagram, you will find relevant posts, videos, and pages as a result of your query. 

With these changes in the search algorithm, what you can do is make as relevant content as possible and add keywords in your description, bio, and posts so that Instagram can categorize your posts. 

2. Video Trends Are Evolving

Videos are an integral part of social media, and with increased competition on social media after COVID-19, videos are playing a great role in marketing. Let's have a look at a few stats: 

  • 60% of businesses include videos in their strategies. 
  • 50% of marketers continue to use videos even after a year. 
  • 36% of marketers use video once a week, and 14% use it daily 
  • 94% of marketers will continue using videos in their content 

The videos that we see on Instagram or Facebook play a huge role from a marketing perspective. That is why social media platforms keep updating their practices to make the user experience better. 

Another feature that Instagram recently introduced was Reels, which are short edited videos that can be shared for the audience to engage with. A recent trend is that 15-second videos outperform 30 seconds or longer videos. The shorter you keep your videos, the better engagement you can receive. 

The 15-second content also plays on preview, so the user doesn't even have to watch the full video and free stock pictures to see what is in the video. This can lead to more views and engagement because even someone scrolling hurriedly would be able to watch your video content. 

Another important tip is to add text and captions in your videos so more people can understand what you are trying to communicate through the video. Sometimes, people prefer to watch the video with the sound off while at work or in a public place. So make sure they can understand your video with the textual information on it.  

3. Human interaction is preferred

As shopping has changed over the past year, people now depend on apps and websites to get items delivered to their places. It has led to more and more businesses opening virtually and shifting their sales from in-store to online. 

You must have observed several services for groceries and other commodities showing up as businesses have shifted their models. 

It means that people would need guidance and assistance while shifting from in-person interaction towards online interactions, which is why it is essential that instead of auto-generated replies, you keep the interaction organic. 

A human is more comfortable interacting with a human rather than a bot, so it is essential that you show more human behavior on your social media. You can also do this by showing more faces in your content, such as videos, posts, etc.

4. Gift Card sticker and button 

To support businesses, Instagram keeps introducing new features. A recently introduced new feature is a gift card sticker (labelled as Gift Cards and Food Orders). You have to post a story on your Instagram's business account with the Gift Card sticker on it, and the audience will then tap on it to continue their shopping experience and avail themselves of the respective discount. 

Once people choose to place an order, they are redirected to the respective website to complete their purchase. It is an interesting way to use Instagram to convert the audience into customers and attract them with discounts. This integration by Instagram can be useful for businesses trying to increase their sales and increase customer base.

5. Countdown Sticker

The countdown sticker on Instagram is also another useful feature that can be used by businesses. The countdown on Instagram appears on stories, and once it is finished, the viewer can be notified that the time has come. 

It is a useful way to create interest and anticipation in your audience and keep them engaged with your social media. Setting up a countdown is very easy and simple. You can name it depending on the thing you are setting up the countdown for. 

For example, if you are offering a 50% sale on Black Friday, set a countdown for the exact date and time and name it as "Black Friday 50% sale", once the countdown is complete, the users will be notified that the sale is now live. 

This is an interesting way to engage the audience and keep them in the loop with your social media. 

6. Live Feature making waves

Ever since COVID-19, you must have observed an increased number of live sessions on Facebook and Instagram. The year 2020 and now 2021 are for virtual events, and the live streaming feature on social media has made it more convenient for everyone to interact with people in seconds. 

Considering how everything is now virtual, the live feature is an incredible way to interact and hold communication with your audience. Live feature is reducing distances and enabling people to take advantage without being physically present at a point.

You don't need famous figures or a public speaker to go live; you can casually go live or have a discussion within your organization and go live for the audience to know. This can also help in personalizing the user experience with your brand. 

For example, if you are a digital marketing agency, you can do a live session with your marketing lead or the CEO addressing the new trends or anything else they want to have a chat about. You can also go live and show the working space that is shared by the team. You can be as creative as you wish. 

To summarize 

These were some of the top trends and changes on social media for the year 2021. Things have drastically changed over the year 2020-2021, and the world is adapting to this new normal. 

This is why you, as a marketer, have to stay updated with the changing practices and newer trends in the market.  The more aligned you are with new trends and practices, the better it would be for your business to grow and excel in social media marketing.

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Written by:
Myrah Abrar is a computer science graduate with a passion for web development and digital marketing. She writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions, Digital Marketing.