10 Things Brand Marketers Need to Know About Social Media in 2021

By January 20, 2021News

1. Know your Brand Identity

A brand’s identity is comprised of elements and characteristics, in the same way that a human being is, and is based on the brand’s life story and background, its roots and how it evolves over time, its values, relatability, politics, who it interacts with, how others perceive it and how it perceives itself, its purpose and its place in the world.

Having a strong brand identity is key to building credibility and trust with both an existing and potential clientele, and making its ability to efficiently navigate different times and situations known. An example of a company who has achieved this is Netflix, whose identity is primarily centered around users. 

The visual aspect of Netflix’s platform is simple, accessible, and allows for the user to find what they are looking for through categories and suggestions for different film and television genres. In 2015, the term ‘Netflix and Chill’ was coined as internet slang, but was later capitalised by Netflix for promotional purposes. In 2020, while most of the world was staying home, watching Netflix became a global ritual. Statistics by Julia Stoll show that as of the 3rd quarter of 2020, Netflix had 195 million users worldwide. That same year, Netflix Party was introduced, a Google Chrome extension allowing users to watch content with friends and family “together” virtually.

2. Know your target audience, but don’t be afraid to cater to a new market.

In 2020, the global marketplace saw an oversaturation in brands’ audiences, with an overwhelming number of people surfing the internet and developing new interests in new companies and products. Many companies found themselves attracting an entirely new pool of clients through this sudden spike in online shopping. While knowing your existing audience by heart is crucial to analysing and creating products and services, as well as to your overall brand identity, it is important to always think outside the box in terms of who could become part of that audience, and what climate or other aspects should reinforce your thinking. 

3. Make transparency a top brand strategy  

Building effective brand strategies allows your company to set achievable goals and make you stand out in unique ways. Good brand strategies include keeping your target audience at the front of your mind when decision making, thinking outside the box when it comes to advertising, consistency, and honesty.

In marketing, focusing on your positive efforts is key, but remember to only make statements you truly believe in. 

The dichotomy between Nike and Patagonia’s sustainability statements highlights the difference that transparency can make in terms of maintaining client trust. Both brands claim to practice ethical product manufacturing. But when Nike’s continuous use of sweatshops came to light following their claims of being environmentally conscious, they were accused of greenwashing, causing their clientele to lose trust in their marketing and thus in the company. While Patagonia advertises their products as being ethically made, they have kept their word as seen through posts on their website clearly outlining the details of their fair trade manufacturing, recycling, and the lengths to which they go to educate their customers on the climate crisis.

Avoid being wishy-washy and always be clear on your mission: what you stand for, and how you can prove it to your audience. 

4. Content creation and curation is as crucial as it’s ever been

Content curation is all about finding material that speaks for your brand that will hold your followers’ attention. Curated content is created and then assembled, in this case digitally, in order to attract a given audience. We like to think of it as something of a virtual museum exhibit: what content can we bring together to create a greater experience for our consumer? Curating content simultaneously increases engagement with your brand and awareness of its identity. Moreover, acknowledging a creator’s effort and production is of paramount importance, for instance by crediting them on social posts so that audiences can discover more about them. 

5. Social remains a key channel for e-commerce 

In 2021, social media platforms are expected to double as a shopping device. Facebook currently has a marketplace feature where users can buy, swap and sell to locals in their area, and Instragam has a shopping feature which allows users to purchase anything they want just by typing it into the search bar. Brands have also taken to tagging their products in their posts, which sends their followers straight to the product with a simple tap of the screen, where they can make an immediate purchase.

Digital marketers like Neil Patel have emphasized the importance of social media for e-commerce, as today it is where most internet users spend their time when browsing the web. In just two years, 90% of businesses will be using some form of social media for customer service. The benefits of social media as a form of e-commerce include expanding your online reach, engaging your target audience on the platforms where most of their time is spent, and helping your brand to be found and shared by potential partners.

6. Keep it consistent

Consistency is essential when presenting your brand to audiences across different platforms and can increase revenue by 23% (Smallbizgenius). Content and information should be consistent across all platforms when it comes to the brand’s online presence, and ensuring that company information is always up to date is key. This means not only being consistent in how often you post, but also when it comes to design and content.

7. Choose and focus on the right social platform for your brand

When picking the right social media platform for your brand, you must think about who your customers are and where they already spend most of their time on social media. It is important to properly research your platform, as different demographics are better suited to certain platforms. For example, 73% of Gen Z adults use Instagram and are more likely to turn to social media when searching for inspiration (Marketing Charts), making advertising fashion to Gen Zs on Instagram the most suitable option compared to Facebook or LinkedIn, where the amount of Gen Z users is more limited. 

8. Utilise TikTok as a part of brand content

TikTok was the most downloaded social media platform of 2020 and has over 800 million active monthly users. The magnitude of this audience allows for a greater potential reach for brand content. TikTok’s main users are aged 18-24, with the other 50% of users under the age of 35.

As TikTok has seen an overwhelming amount of trends emerge on their platform, including them in your marketing strategy will allow your brand to stay current and up-to-date. TikTok allows brands to experiment with content in a less polished and easygoing way, unlike Instagram, which thrives off beautifully put-together grids. 

The For You page is the best place to spot and jump onto emerging trends that can be angled towards your brand. The main goal in creating content for TikTok is to advertise without looking like you are. This can be done by picking a popular trend and molding it to fit your product or service. Finding trends that have around 50-150 million views is a good start, as your post has a greater potential to be seen if it’s a newer trend. Because TikTok works by showing the most popular videos on the For You page, brands should aim for two posts a day, as volume and consistency are key for brand awareness.

9. Instagram SEO to increase discoverability

Instagram has expanded their search bar options beyond looking up hashtags and profiles, and you can now conduct searches using keywords in six English-speaking countries, including the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland. This new feature allows for users to search for posts by typing “luxury fashion,” “tennis” or “London restaurants” for instance, which results in the platform providing recommendations in the search results with those keywords.

By writing descriptive captions, you can optimise search results with a greater chance of being discovered in keyword searches.

Another important way of increasing visibility is by optimising your Instagram bio. Furthermore, adding clickable hashtags will help boost the chances of being discovered if someone searches for the tag.

10. Optimise Instagram stories

Instagram Stories are temporary posts that appear on the platform for 24 hours and can be used to showcase what your brand is currently doing. IG Stories provides interactive opportunities to your followers, including replies, polls, and an option to swipe-up to a given link or article. 

Create engagement

You can create engagement on IG Stories by asking your audience questions through polls and quizzes, for example, the current “This or That” trend which lets viewers pick their favourite option. Not only will this help create engagement, but it will also let you know who is interacting with your brand and let your audience know that you care about their opinion.

Go behind the scenes

Offer your audience a chance to get to know your business on a personal level, so your customers can form a deeper connection to your brand. Show them a day in the life of your business with behind-the-scenes footage, or what it’s like working on a photoshoot, picking out new shades for a make-up brand, or even a tour around the office. Offering sneak peaks to up-and-coming projects creates excitement when it comes to the launch date, making customers feel as if they were a part of the process.

Other ways that stories can be efficiently used includes:

  • Sharing new product releases
  • Letting customers use the “Swipe Up” feature to increase sales opportunities
  • Announcing online sales and promotions
  • Reposting customer reviews or purchases 
  • Letting your followers know that you have a new post uploaded to your feed

No matter what you post, always make sure that your content is engaging, entertaining and informative to help your audience feel connected to your brand.

Ilona Aboduka

Author Ilona Aboduka

More posts by Ilona Aboduka

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