The tone and overall interaction that is done through social media have changed drastically over the past year. Ever since 2020 began with all of its terrors, our voices became more amplified with social apps, and that content stood as proof of those actions. The pressure was on for how and when we should post. Changes in consumer behavior brought on by the pandemic made it crucial for brands to recognize them and apply necessary tweaks to keep the effectiveness and audience interaction going.
There are always new, up-and-coming star apps in the social media sky, making it challenging for existing platforms to adapt to the trends and maintain audience attention. Companies had to adjust to numerous changes in 2020, particularly those concerning tone, messaging, and selling products. This article covers four trends that defined the year behind us, as they continue to impact brands even today.
Sharing an Opinion is Presumed
No year has ever changed social media as 2020 did. Before this era, there was an unspoken rule on how and what should be posted across platforms. Twitter was politics and news-oriented posts, Instagram was posting visual content among friends, and Facebook was a nonchalant mix of the two.
However, events from last year sparked a strong movement endorsed by every platform out there. Posts and stories targeted the cultural issues, covering topics from social justice and the pandemic to employment and politics. Many users felt uneasy with the intensity of this new type of opinion sharing online.
Posting strong opinions has become somewhat expected from audiences, and it seems as if it will indeed become a social media norm. This implies to individual users, but brands, and companies as well. The best advice for companies and brands is to devise a social media strategy with solid content approval procedures and social media policies so that disasters can be averted.
Social media — a News Outlet
Recent research suggests that 53% of the age group from 18 to 29 receive news from social media. This particular demographic category not only informs itself through social media but also gathers information. This is more than any other method, outperforming news websites, searches, and apps. A debate fueled on social media regarding misinformation raised some critical questions; who is responsible and who determines misinformation?
The answer is the platform itself, which encouraged Facebook and Twitter, for example, to put warning labels on particular posts, employ fact-checkers to review the posted content, etc. Nowadays, platforms are taking the initiative compared to the past, when they chose to stay silent and uninvolved.
In 2021, brands and companies should closely monitor on-platform information flow, considering how they are presented to users. All brands that want to stay on top of the game need to implement this new evaluation process, as it is expected of them to take a stance and share a clear POV on specific burning issues.
Content Lives Forever
Everything that we post is permanent and stays on the internet forever. This proved to be a real pain for many in the past year. Inappropriate posts haunted public figures and brands all year long, further underlining the importance of content reviewing. Temporary content is a thing on the internet. In fact, Snapchat is the first app to introduce disappearing stories back in 2013.
Nowadays, all “majors” have similar features, “stories” that last up to 24 hours.
Despite this feature being present everywhere, users can still screenshot temporary content, so it doesn’t go away permanently and is stored somewhere after all. This is why brands need to be extra careful and ensure that the content follows corporate guidelines, even if it will be available to users for a short time.
A strong sales surge on social media is a direct consequence of the pandemic and how it changes the way we function daily. The numbers suggest that an average person spends approximately 82 minutes on social platforms daily. It comes as no surprise that brands take advantage of these platforms for e-commerce purposes. The pandemic limited in-person shopping, making room for online shops, which are now available on Instagram and Facebook.
Online shopping was a steadily growing trend, and COVID-19 only made it expand faster. Brands need to recognize the evolution of online sales and take advantage of social media for further growth. A comprehensive e-commerce process that integrates well with owned social media channels and partner websites is somewhat crucial for brands, which is a trend that is here to stay.