After a tough year of global pandemic, economic collapse, unignorable calls for racial equality, and an ongoing climate crisis, it is time to reflect on things that have changed when it comes to social media and how are these impacting your brand in 2021.

As businesses struggle to recoup lost sales in the wake of the pandemic, they turn to social to meet two equally urgent imperatives: deliver short-term ROI with targeted performance marketing tactics while building innovative digital experiences that win long-term loyalty by bringing discovery, connection, and fun back to the customer experience.

According to Hootsuite, more than half of businesses (60%) are planning to increase their Instagram budget, and almost half are planning to do the same for Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn.

Businesses will continue driving quick bursts of ROI through lower-funnel ads to keep the lights on in 2021, but they will also be working toward delivering innovative experiences that dovetail with unchanged, fundamental buying behaviours and customer needs.

The very nature of social media revolves around discovery, connection, and fun— elements that customers are sorely missing in the absence of in-person experiences and events. Livestreaming events on social platforms have been helping fill the void, offering new ways for brands, experts, influencers, and customers to connect. And 2021 is only bound to see this trend continue to soar in popularity.

Simply chasing bottom-funnel clicks in 2021 will not be enough. Businesses must use social’s performance abilities, while also helping to recreate missing customer experiences.

Multichannel campaigns tend to have a higher ROI than single media campaigns. In fact, for every channel you add, you can improve your ROI and effectiveness by up to 35%, according to Analytic Partners.

The dramatic uptick in social media use in the past year presents an irresistible opportunity for brands to put themselves front and centre in the conversation, overlooking the fact that people primarily want to connect with each other, not brands—especially in a time of crisis.

When it was the right time to talk, the campaigns that stood out provided much-needed moments of levity and fun—aligning with why people turn to social media in the first place. On average, 32% of key demographics (Gen Z, millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers) say “finding funny or entertaining content” is their main reason for using social media.

Useful and entertaining ads are most likely to drive purchases, as consumers increasingly crave a return to normalcy.

Not only should brands and businesses be looking at how they can have the right conversations with consumers but how they can be the best communicators too.

In 2021, businesses cannot afford to overlook older generations on social media.

By using smart segmentation and thoughtful representation, businesses that include baby boomers in their digital strategies can leapfrog those still stuck in stereotypes and capitalize on this growing technological enthusiasm.

According to our Digital 2020 data, 70% of internet users aged 55-64 say they have bought something online in the past month, 23 and 37% are planning to continue doing so more frequently when lockdown is over.

The shift toward purpose-driven, socially responsible capitalism that had begun well before 2020 was certainly sped up by the events of the past year.

Modern brand building is clearly changing as organisations adapt to the socially conscious mindsets and expectations of younger, more diverse generational cohorts like Gen Z.

Purpose-driven companies will certainly be on the right side of history in the years to come—but becoming one is not something you can fake or simply mimic on social media.

2021 is going to be the year that brands and businesses need to start being authentic and accountable for their actions.

What is your social media strategy for 2021? If you find it difficult to achieve your social media goals, we are here to help. Let’s talk social!

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