We are on the brink of an eagerly awaited New Year. Vaccines are being rolled out, positive changes in race equality and climate change are advancing, and it is fair to say that most people are cautiously optimistic about 2021.
For marketers, the planning for 2021 will look a little different than in previous years. While the shift in marketing is constant, 2020 has rocked the field so dramatically that many marketers are rethinking everything from personas and buyer journeys to branding purposes.
The resurgence of social media
A marketing discipline that has regained importance in 2020 is social media. It makes sense – since the world has been forced to stay physically aloof, social media has bridged the void and kept us connected with family, friends, and the brands we love.
By the beginning of this year, most brands knew where they were on social media. They had the right balance between engagement, listening, content and promotion. However, once the pandemic hit, the rules of the game changed.
New social rules for marketers
Hootsuite, the most popular social media management platform, just released its annual Social Trends Report to help marketers plan their course in 2021. The report is based on a survey of 11,189 marketers and is complemented by insights from interviews with dozen of industry experts and third-party research from leading industry analysts. Here are some of the highlights for marketers:
Trend 1: The race for ROI: Social closes the gap to a new customer experience
Nearly three-quarters of marketers surveyed for the report rated “increased customer acquisition” as their best social media score in 2021, up 58% year over year. However, transactions alone don’t create memorable brands or create long-term growth.
In 2021, marketers will continue to use social media to address two equally urgent needs:
- Deliver short-term ROI with targeted performance marketing tactics
- Building innovative digital experiences to gain long-term loyalty
Clarins’ Beauty Coach is taking the makeup counter digital with online tutorials shared during blackout times
Trend 2: Silence is gold: brands find their place in conversation
Many brands made the mistake of capitalizing on the increased activity on social media during the pandemic, completely overlooking the fact that people wanted to connect with each other first, not brands.
For the most part, these brands spotted the mistake of their way early and pulled back their ad spend by focusing on crisis response, social customer care, and engagement. In 2021, marketers will strive to place more emphasis on content than engagement. Passive audiences are still consuming your content.
Trend 3: Much more than OK: A generation that is ignored by digital marketers is booming in the social field
Marketers have typically addressed baby boomers through traditional television commercials, which is still one of the most effective ways to reach them. However, over the past four years there has been a 66 point increase in baby boomers discovering new brands and products through social media, and more than a quarter of baby boomers are spending even longer on social media due to the pandemic. In 2021, social marketers will continue to explore this increasingly digitally savvy audience.
Poundland is an example of a brand sharing user-generated content to increase brand preference among baby boomers.
Trend 4: do I know you? The attachment to identity gives advanced marketers new impetus
The pandemic has given a renewed appreciation for social media to executives who have become the strongest bridge for connecting with customers after the collapse of so many traditional strategies.
Research from Hootsuite found that 85% of companies that integrate social data with other systems have confidence in their organization’s ability to accurately quantify the ROI from social media.
In 2021, marketers will take steps to bridge the gap between engagement and customer identity by connecting more customer data with social data.
Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs combines social media and CRM for a deeper understanding of the customer journey
Trend 5: The Dangers (and Promise) of Purpose: Bold brands start in the boardroom, not the front line of the social
In 2020, marketers stumbled under pressure to publicly address issues their organizations had never focused on. Strong CMOs will use the information gathered by social media teams in 2021 to help the company adapt to new buyer beliefs and pave a new growth path that requires addressing the dual requirements of building a better business and a better one To bring the world into harmony.
Brands like Ben and Jerry’s have fulfilled their branding purpose and used their platform to educate their followers about the Black Lives Matter movement.
If you want to read more about these trends or learn how brands can benefit from them in the New Year, download Hootsuite’s Social Trends 2021 report.