Social Media and the Future - Trends in 2021 and Beyond

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If there’s one thing the last year has taught us with Covid-19, it’s that our lives will never remain the same again, ever! 

The pandemic-related lock-downs that kept people indoors brought about a lot of changes in lifestyles across the world. 

Our lives have been impacted by changes in how we do business, how we shop, how we think, and how we approach innovation and disruption. 

Thanks to Covid-19, the world of business and social interactions is witnessing one of the most remarkable transformations ever in the history of man.

The pandemic brought about a rapid increase in the role social media plays in the lives of both the millennials and the older generation. 

This has resulted in social networks becoming an essential tool for researching brands and finding information about the products we want to buy. 

Further statistics reveal that 55% of individuals buy products through social media, while 87% of online buyers claim that social media helped them make a purchase decision. 

With these numbers, it becomes clear that the future belongs to social media and organizations that can tap into this gold mine. 

Below are some other social media trends we can expect to see in 2021 and beyond.

  • The increasing popularity of Ephemeral Content 

A flash-based or short piece of content is available only for a limited period before disappearing. 

Snapchat and Instagram Stories are good examples of ephemeral content. When the average attention span of 8 secs is less than that of a goldfish, most online users like to consume content in formats like stories. 

The stories are short, engaging, and addictive in a way that makes people want to scroll through them for hours. 

In January 2021, there were over 500 million daily active Instagram Stories users, an increase from 100 million users in 2016.

  • The Dominance and Growth of Social Commerce 

As mentioned above, social media commerce is here to stay. 

Numerous brands have embraced social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to sell their products. 

The trend of social commerce has gained traction in the last few years, and it will only continue to grow as we transition to the future.

A recent survey by Hootsuite recently asked their clients what they were trying to achieve with social media. 

This aligns with the statistics mentioned above, where 87% of customers identified social media as helping them make purchase decisions, with 70% of individuals purchasing products online at least once a month.

  • Video Content and Live-streaming Will Become Part of the ‘New Normal’ 

Video content remains one of the most engaging content types. 

Covid-19 has thrust us all into a world of video interactions with people who may have never used their video cameras before but are now participating in Zoom calls like seasoned videographers, with everyone adapting to live-streaming and online chat. 

This means that the future of sales and customer success belongs to those creating compelling short informational video content. 

So, suppose you’re not currently creating videos. In that case, it is time that you include them in your content strategy because, shortly, videos will dominate social media, and anyone who doesn’t realize this will have a tough time keeping pace.

  • Sophisticated technology will be integrated into Social Media more than ever 

Looking into the future of social media, we can expect to see a rise in the adoption of Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR). 

This is a market that is projected to hit $73 billion by 2024. VR adoption is still in its infancy in the social media space, but AR is a different story. 

There are now augmented reality filters on powerful platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. 

Take Instagram, for instance, which offers numerous photo filters that use augmented reality. Have you seen the filters that can add makeup to your face, sunglasses, or bunny ears? 

That is an example of augmented reality for social media. 

Another example is Sephora, a beauty brand that uses AR to allow its customers to try makeup before buying. The brand recently launched this feature on Facebook.

  • Increase in User Generated Content (UGC) in the Marketing Space 

People trust friends and family over brands isn’t just a trend. 

It’s a fact of marketing. This is why companies are embracing the idea of using social media to create UGC for their brands. 

By demonstrating authenticity and directing consumers towards products, UGC eases product trust issues. 

According to Stackla, 79% of people said that UGC highly influenced their purchasing decisions last year. 

As we move into the future of sales and marketing, UGC will play an increasingly pivotal role in the success of brands, particularly within the social media space, where prospects relate better to stories from customers like themselves.

With the swift pace of change and a shift in sales and marketing trends towards digital content and social media, companies that will thrive in the post-Covid-19 future must strategically position themselves to adapt to these changing trends.

Key Takeaway

The world has turned a new leaf in the aspect of professional work and the impact of social media cannot be overlooked. Ephemeral content has become key and, to have a chance at sustainability, jumping on this bandwagon is essential.