Many of us were detained at home for months that year. From launching Zoom ‘Happy Hours’ to taking final time for our apprenticeship and making our dreams come true, 2020 made us go digital. Yuval Ben-Itzhak, President of Socialbakers, gives a guide on what to expect in 2021, from social commerce to micro-influencers.

Who could ever have predicted 2020? The year many of us were locked up at home for months. The year that Zoom introduced Happy Hours to the world, and the year when almost everyone but the slightest technician among us was forced to study online, get together with friends and of course shop. The CEO of Nike called it. He said that “today’s consumer is digitally honed and just won’t return.” What should social media marketers focus on in 2021 when learning from the trends we saw in 2020?

Social commerce

Social commerce is by no means a new topic, but it is an area that many brands are not fully exploiting. We know that today’s consumer is largely digital and that users are shopping more online than ever before. With social media platforms today providing the tools to manage everything from product discovery to after-sales care to community management, organizations should take advantage of the reach and infrastructure of these platforms. At a time when more and more purchases are being made online, companies can secure tomorrow’s sales by investing intelligently in the social commerce component of the customer journey today.

Social messaging

The pandemic is having a huge impact on the way consumers interact with brands. While the impact has been far-reaching, one area where they can be clearly identified is through the use of conversational messaging. Today, customer conversations have shifted from traditional call centers and email to social media and messaging apps. Customers are online and expect brands to be there too, answering their questions and providing immediate feedback. To meet customer expectations, more brands will be looking for a hybrid of human agents and AI-powered social chatbots. Conversational AI chatbots are used by businesses to help them flag and answer the repetitive, frequently asked questions instantly, regardless of volume, time of day, or language. They also serve as a conduit for quickly escalating more critical conversions to agents.

Micro-influencers will continue to make the money

Earlier this year, Socialbakers conducted a state of the art influencer marketing analysis that looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the influencer industry in the first half of the year. Among the key findings, we saw a clear trend toward influencers with smaller, more niche followers who could offer higher value to brands with tighter marketing budgets. Nano and micro influencers have turned out to be high quality resources and achieved a high impact without the high price of macro and mega influencers.

Earlier this year, Hanes, the US apparel brand, ran a campaign to encourage people to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID19. With the #MaskAround campaign, Hanes used influencers to expand its reach among younger consumers, who are usually active on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram and whose opinions are shaped by social media personalities. According to a survey by Econsultancy, almost 61% of 18- to 34-year-olds said that digital influencers had at some point influenced their decisions. Data from Socialbakers shows that in 2020 more than 60% of brand / influencer collaborations in the social arena were with influencers with fewer than 50,000 followers. We anticipate that number will increase in 2021 as more brands leverage the personalized, niche-specific powers of nano and micro influencers.

By Yuval Ben-Itzhak
president
Socialbakers