2020 really did us dirty. The entire world came to a halt, and then took a downhill ride down the steep slope of a pandemic. And life for us humans, professionally, recreationally, and generally has been more or less slowed down a great deal.
One aspect of our lives that 2020 somehow, and very obviously managed to nurture and grow for us was our presence online.
Everything, from groceries to academia to entertainment had been housed for an unknown amount and length of a time period on the Internet. We seemed to have emerged from quarantined life, only to be put back into it, yet again for an indefinite amount of time.
So it can be safely assumed that we will be here for quite a while.
And even if we do emerge from lockdown quite soon the world, and especially, the marketing world has made itself so efficient, convenient and comfortable on the internet, that chances are we'll probably be living this more or less cyber-dominated life till much ahead.
So what trends should you, as a traditional marketer planning on switching to online marketing (where have you been this entire time?), or you as a new business owner or marketer, or as an already established social media marketer expect in 2021?
How do you think the new year and fresh life will take on Social Media Marketing?
How can marketers change, adapt and improvise to take on 2021 and overcome any post-pandemic challenges, or hopefully, returning-to-normal-life challenges?
Let's take a look
A Conscious Social Audience at all ages
All generations existing and alive today, be it Gen Y, Millennials, Gen Z and even Gen Alpha that go as old as a mere 8 years of age are very well aware and conscious of today’s global crises and other issues.
The pandemic being the cream to all issues, all ages and demographics are aware of Middle Eastern wars, droughts and terrorism, of the injustice being presented to races of colour and non-binary individuals, of environmental problems that are going hand in hand with international politics and of moral uprise and improvement that is being reinforced everywhere to make a better, safer world.
In 2021, companies, brands and marketers will have to be conscious of such issues. Not just of the mainstream problematic stories, global crises etc, but of issues that seem to be future big talk. Of issues that will predictably become bigger issues.
From this prediction we can understand that brands must humanise in order to engage properly with it’s audience by not offending their moral and crisis sensitivity. Brands must be transparent, authentic and must be morally upright while adhering strictly to what is acceptable by its viewers.
That is the only way brands would attract an audience this socially aware.
Creator and brand personality is key to growth via video media
Online businesses and marketers obtain a huge spurge of growth via video dominated media. The new mass intake of video content by consumers, be it on youtube, IGTV, Instagram Reels and Facebook videos, is increasing by the day. Hence, making videos and consistently posting a lot of content is not enough for the audience of 2021.
Maintaining and exhibiting a distinct, positive and wholesome yet iconic and updated personality as individuals, as a brand and as one platform is what is most essential to keep your audience on the edge of their seats.
Gaming And Movie/Show is hand in hand with Social life
Ever since the commencement of lockdown, everyone more or less has been indulging in gaming since Netflix and other entertainments or distractions didn't seem to be enough. While people could not have possibly met each other in person throughout this year, they chose to meet virtually not just via Face-timing and Video calls, but on Gaming Platforms too.
The potential for marketing based on gaming fandoms and their related features, and the marketing for the gaming companies themselves has exploded exponentially.
Collaborating with Game-developing corporations and companies is one way to attract a huge audience that previously would have been limited to a much smaller demographic, but has now grown over several tiers of demographic audience.
Marketing embedded with nostalgia.
As anyone active on Instagram, youtube and Pinterest may have seen, Y2k and retro fashion, lifestyle and design has made a huge and celebratory comeback in 2020, which is predicted to continue and thrive strongly way forward into 2021.
Fashion trends such as scrunchies, tie-dye sets, glitter and soft glam alongside dramatic notes of colour and design just to name a few are the way to go into 2021 for both, the consumer and the brands.
Smaller brands focusing on these nostalgic aspects of fashion and lifestyle, that also appropriately managed to market these themes while maintaining a heavy note of nostalgia managed to blow up in the least amount of time with utmost efficiency and a positive customer reception.
This nostalgic aspect does not only have to be limited to fashion and lifestyle brands.
Marketers branding many other forms of products and services can maintain this theme in their content and advertising to make their online presence be more noticeable, interesting, iconic and visible to all kinds of customers.
Simply said, with all the hardships and tough times that brand and consumers, and every single individual has been enduring during the past few months, everyone has been narrowing their social interactions and interests down to mostly one factor;
The first and foremost way to attract and entice a customer and viewer is being relatable and being something or someone they can see themselves as after engaging with the product of service that brands have to offer.
Everyone only just wants to be heard. To be understood. And to relate to the people they meet, the media they consume and lifestyle they see advertised to them.
And what more dictates relatability better than visual content.
And what better visual content to frame relatability than memes.
Memes have been a quite a popular deal among the younger generation, and at times even with Gen Y for quite a while now. They aren't really a new concept, but they way people obsessively converse, engage and relate to memes has not only changed, but in fact intensified over the course of the lockdown period. Sitting at home, for some isolated and for other, stuck with the same bunch of people for months at an end has created a deeper and more compelling need for visual relatable content. And so Memes are back as a crucial part of Social Media Marketing and Advertising.
Brands must keep up with this aspect of gathering an appreciating audience online by being more relatable via memes. And that is another potential way of ranking higher up above their competitors in 2021.