Coronavirus has changed many things, but one constant that remained was social media. In fact, a survey by DoubleVerify found that nearly half of consumers reported increased time on social media platforms in 2020. In today’s environment, brands are continuously challenged to adapt in real-time and meet people where they’re at to stay relevant. In turn, brands are laying the foundation for the future direction of social media marketing. As we head into the new year, there’s no question that brands will continue to maximize their social media efforts. Here are a few social media marketing trends we can expect to see in 2021.

Social commerce on the rise

Apps like Instagram have made shopping from social media easier than ever before. By simply clicking on the shopping bag icon on the main navigation menu, users can discover products and shop directly in the app. In 2021, we can anticipate seeing added features and updates from Instagram as they pivot their focus towards social commerce. According to Absolunet, 87% of e-commerce shoppers believe social media helps them make a shopping decision, so it’s no surprise that only two years after launching Instagram Shop, they’ve seen more than 130 million users tapping to view Instagram shopping tags on photos each month. Facebook joined the trend in 2020 with Facebook Shops, and it’s likely more platforms will follow with small and large businesses alike testing out their success with social commerce.

Treading into TikTok

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been the powerhouses of social media for years, as far as active monthly users, but more recently a new app has been making waves: TikTok. TikTok’s popularity is evident as it passed Facebook for the most downloads in 2020. TikTok is unique in the sense that you don’t need to follow anyone to receive content. The “For You Page” is an auto-populated feed of videos that the algorithm thinks you’ll like. This allows creators with little to no following to reach hundreds, if not thousands of people who will be interested in their content at no cost. With so many videos going viral every day on TikTok, brands that monitor the trends and jump in with their own content are sure to expose themselves to a new and engaged audience.

More transparent brand image

At the touch of our fingertips, our smartphones allow us to search for anything at any time. With endless results in an instant, it’s important to consider how to stand out in a noisy marketplace. Is your brand successfully conveying the message you want your audience to know? As people are becoming more specific with their searches, (Google searches have doubled for small businesses and black-owned businesses have seen a 7,043% increase on Yelp!) it’s important to identify your brand differentiators and make them known. For example, if you make sustainably sourced products, that should be clear across all of your marketing and branding as that’s something many consumers are searching for, especially today.

Continued investment in video content

Studies continue to show that video content outperforms other forms of content on social media, so it’s fair to anticipate that the investment in this category will only grow and be among the most important social media trends. According to Ad.IQ, more than 175.4 million people are watching digital video content in the United States, so while smaller businesses may be hesitant to invest, it’s important to provide content consumers gravitate toward.

Live content grows in popularity

As we adjust to the “new normal”, brands are looking for different ways to connect with their consumers in place of in-person events, and live content is an effective way to create an authentic connection with your consumers. A survey by software company Livestream and New York Magazine shows that 80% of audiences prefer livestreamed videos to blog content, so brands should seriously consider incorporating live content into their 2021 marketing plan.

The beauty of social media is that it’s always changing. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a social media rut in the new year. Take time to understand and adapt to new changes and social media trends as they come. Your brand will thank you!


Jillian Grammer is the Content Marketing Manager for Concept2Completion and a graduate of ASU. She is a Chandler native and is always studying digital media trends and emerging platforms and an avid follower of “Gary V.”