social media trends for 2021

New year, new opportunities. 

The only thing that is constant in pandemics is change – especially when it comes to social media platforms.

Social media showed to be a blessing for both marketers and users during the time of COVID-19. 

Access to social media and interacting with friends and family has helped boost users’ mood, get a sense of well-being, and survive the required social distancing.

On the other hand, we have marketers who understood social media’s importance in consumers’ lives, encouraged the offline customers to transfer online, and hurried up to connect and engage with their target customers’ favorite platforms.

The social media landscape is changing so fast. The need to stay up to date with the latest trends in emerging now more than ever. 

No worries. We gather all the latest social media trends you need to fuel your social media strategy and connect to our audience on their favorite platforms.

If you still don’t have these updates, be patient – they are coming on your way. 

This post will share the latest updates in social media and, based on them, analyze their current adoption and predict future social media trends.

Come back next month to learn all the new updates or subscribe below, and we will send you useful how-to articles on how you can implement these new features today and uplevel your social media marketing strategy. 

1.Direct to consumer interactions becoming more direct

The pandemic was a test of how capable are brands to gain the trust of their fans. Those brands that encouraged users’ content, whether employees, influencers, or shoppers sharing their experience or asking questions, outperformed their competitors effortlessly. 

This served as a good lesson – it’s not about the production value anymore, but the quality of human connection that matters. Building trust through interacting with fans shows to be a must-have in 2021. 

Several social platforms developed features to tackle precisely this:

Organize paid online events on Facebook to engage your audience 

We know that nothing beats the value of face-to-face meetings. However, in times of coronavirus, online events come as a blessing. 

Since its introduction, Facebook’s paid online events feature has helped thousands of event professionals organize their events virtually. Additionally, this allowed many creators to reach wider audiences and monetize their online efforts more effectively.

As a result, the feature has led to hosting different kinds of online events such as virtual tours, make-up tutorials, live podcasts, etc.

Since now, the paid online events feature was only available in 20 countries. Facebook announced bringing it to 24 more countries. 

We expect this feature usage to grow tremendously by giving many content creators and event organizers another way to monetize their Facebook presence by hosting paid events.

Go more direct on TikTok with Q&A options

Although YouTube still rules the long-form videos, when it comes to engaging with fans, TikTok is mastering it. The platform announced launching a new Q&A option that will allow users to ask creators questions that will answer in the upcoming video clips.

This is how it will look like:

As you can see in these screenshots, creators can have the option to switch on the new Q&A function. Once the Q&A icon is enabled, users can pose questions via the creators’ profile.

When tapped, viewers can type their questions in the composer.

Creators can see the list of queries and use it to prepare answers for their next video content. Additionally, visitors can also see the list of questions users have asked the Creator and even vote for their favorite one. Awesome, right?

This is not a direct competition to Reddit or Quora, but it’s definitely an innovative way to prompt fan engagement and maximize connection within the app. We cannot wait to see how this will work in practice.

2. Niche social media platforms are becoming more popular. The rise of Clubhouse

This year we expect to see more than 3 billion people using social media platforms. And as the number of social media users is expanding, the number of platforms emerging in the social media sphere is growing.

This poses a massive potential for open-minded marketers to try new emerging social media networks and reach a large and engaged audience.

Here are the most promising ones in 2021 you should keep an eye on:

Takeover your industry niche Club on Clubhouse

clubhouse new social media app

Clubhouse is the new community app based on audio conversations organized within niche categories. 

The concept of an invitation-only platform has helped it to become viral amongst opinion leaders and community creators. 

It is already becoming the first to go to location when getting relevant opinions on the latest digital marketing and tech topics (mostly). Why? 

Well, because its early adopters happen to be exceptionally well-established company founders, social media marketers, influences, musicians, public speakers, and cool brands. 

So what can you do now? Here are the steps how to get started with Clubhouse: 

  1. Get an invitation and install the app. If you are still not on the platform, find a way to get an invitation (if you need one, let us know we have a few) it is still iPhone available only. 
  2. Set up your profile, bio, pic, and similar 
  3. Get inside groups and clubs that are relevant to your knowledge
  4. Listen and learn how other people interact
start clubhouse room

Once you go through the newbie period, you will start getting some ideas for you and your team to start getting more involved. 

Being an early Club creator is a good idea if you want to adopt an up-and-coming trend very early. 

So, to create a Clubhouse Club, you will need to become eligible by being more active, organize Room chats, and similar. Once you are more involved, you can fill in the application form and apply to create a Clubhouse Club. 

In the meantime, you can still organize Closed Rooms or within a Club that you are already a member of. 

3. Influencer Marketing will continue to grow

The popularity of TikTok and Instagram influencers skyrocketed in 2020. This trend significantly escalated during the extended lockdowns that inspired people to become content creators and attract a huge follower base. 

These networks are top-rated among millennials, but seemingly for specific industries, Linkedin is getting the throne from the more traditional ones, such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Facebook. 

Most brands try influencer marketing to see how it works, but as finding the right niche influencers, most of the brands have gone all in. 

Nearly 90% of all marketers find ROI from influencer marketing comparable to or better than other marketing channels.

statistics for influencer marketing roi

Now, as 2021 is unwrapping influencers and their power in specific industries is undeniable. For example, once a prominent fashion influencer posts a photo of the latest winter collection or creates a live video showing how it looks like on them, the brand can expect it to sell out in a matter of hours. 

This power was never seen before in any other channel – mostly because of the enormous reach these people have.

Influencers have indeed adopted the short-form video format such as TikTok and Instagram Reels videos. We should expect that this format will continue to get immense exposure and, thus, more significant users’ adoption. 

4. User-generated content becomes a must-have section for e-Commerce websites

UGC continues to be the center of building trust and supporting customers in making better purchasing decisions. 

Individual influencers and creators will drive brand recognition and be the first to provide reviews and promote new products. 

And brands are already aware of the power of the content they create around their products. 

Having social media aggregation tools such as EmbedSocial, brands can aggregate the UGC created by other people on social media and sync it with their website.

ugc example

Social listening will help you be on top of your brand mentions. So, don’t forget to track, analyze, and respond to conversations about your brand on social media and show them on your website.

5. Social commerce leading the hyper-adoption of new products

As we mentioned, influencer marketing is already the main channel for building awareness and is becoming the secret weapon for convincing customers to make a purchase. 

Therefore, social commerce will exponentially grow in the coming years. 

And the numbers are here to prove this trend: 

‘In 2019, social commerce sales in the United States were estimated at 22 billion U.S. dollars. As social media’s influence continues to increase, U.S. social commerce is projected to reach 84.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2024 and accounting for 7.8 percent of U.S. retail e-commerce sales.’

social commerce statistics
Source: Statista

6. Programmatic advertising is becoming mainstream 

The proliferation of digital channels has made it so hard for marketers to correctly target prospects with the right message, on the right device, and at the right time.

Faced with these challenging market dynamics and increasing pressure for ROI, marketers can rely on the functionalities of social media platforms ads that are getting even more advanced options as time passes.

Targeted automatic advertising allows marketers to understand the networks’ algorithm and use the wide availability of demographic data to create relevant marketing campaigns, save time and reach out to more people.

Here are the latest updates that are changing the game in social media ads:

TikTok personalized ads based on users in-app activities

Starting on April 15, the ads you will see on TikTok will be based on what you do on the platform, such as liked videos or previous interactions with ads.

Currently, you might notice ads that have nothing in common with your TikTok activity. However, this will change soon. 

To make ads even more personalized, TikTok will use third-party data from their advertising partners. Still, as a user, you will remain in control by managing these settings via your profile.

These changes will roll out worldwide. An exception will be the European Union countries, where GDPR makes it challenging to implement this transition.

Save time with automatic Pinterest ad targeting and creation

Pinterest is trying hard to rank as “the destination for personalized shopping”. The latest update shows that they are on an excellent way to achieve this goal.

The platform announced launching a new way to automate tailoring ads to different audiences with a new ad specialty – dynamic creative.

This is a massive deal for advertisers. Apart from saving them time and resources, they will automatically create hundreds of ads with unique messaging to their desired target audiences.

Additionally, this will allow them to test various creatives and identify which elements drive higher performance.

Once the update is rolled out, advertisers can use Dynamic Creative platforms such as RevJetStitcherAds, and Smartly.io to design their own performance-driven Pins, with dynamic audience-specific messaging.

7. Social media Stories will out-throne the Feed

The Stories format seems to be on every leading social platform for a reason. Stories proved to be one of the most popular growing social media trends among users. Their usage growth certainly indicates that they are here to stay (and marketers should use that wisely).

Due to the fast adoption of the format, Facebook already predicted that the Stories views would overcome their Feed’s views.

Here are the latest updates when it comes to Stories on social media:

LinkedIn launches Stories for Pages with swipe-up links

After introducing the Story format last year, LinkedIn just went a step further by announcing Stories for Pages, available for all Pages and Page admins.

Following the example of Instagram’s swipe-up links, they applied the same functionality within the Story frame. 

The goal is for organizations to maximize engagement, conversion, engage with their customers, partners and fans using the LinkedIn Stories format.

This is how it works:

  1. Post a Story
  2. Use the ‘swipe up’ option
  3. Once users click on it, they will be redirected to your desired URL destination

It sounds familiar, right?

New Stories Panel at the top of Pinterest’s feeds for reaching the community

Pinterest showed that despite being a platform for finding inspiration, it’s also a great place for creators to reach their communities and share their passion and interests with like-minded people.

Since the beginning of January, some Pinterest users have noted a more dynamic format of the Stories panel, with a unique visual flair. This is not a bug. 🙂 Pinterest tests a new Stories panel at the top of the user’s Feed.

This is what it looks like:

Pinterest new story section

Before you roll your eyes and say that this is already a familiar format, wait a minute. Story Pins are not the same as Stories on other apps. The difference is that Story Pins live within a Pin, and they don’t disappear after 24 hours. 

This feature is still in testing right now, and we can expect it to roll out in the upcoming months to every user’s profile.

However, this looks like an exciting, engaging way to generate interest in Story pins and, once again, prove Stories enormous popularity.

Instagram is testing a new way to display Stories on desktop 

instagram stories desktop

Although users connect to Instagram mostly on mobile phones, it shows genuine care for its desktop version users. 

As reported by Engadget, Instagram started redesigning parts of the UI to suit the big screen better. One of them is transforming Instagram Stories into a carousel format to give users an easier way to go through Stories on desktop.

The new design’s goal is to make Story discovery and consumption a lot better and minimize the need for extra clicks.

What can we expect next?

Just 2 years ago, we thought chatbots would critically replace sales and customer service. Now, it turns out that this trend is adopted but not at all critical.

The importance of following trends is to try them out, test in your own industry, and see what will stick. 

Don’t sit and wait for your competition to get unfair advantages just by adopting social networks where some of your new customers might spend much more time. 

Just be aware, follow, read and we are here to update you with all the latest. 

At this point, we are closely monitoring what might be the next social media trend. 

And the ‘to watch’ list for becoming new trends are the following: 

  • Augmented reality; 
  • Live streaming and real-time podcasting;
  • Instagram and TikTok videos displayed at the top of the Google mobile search results.

To wrap up

Is there any social media trend we have missed? We are continually updating this article, so drop us a line and let us know which social media trend deserves to be part of this list.

Avatar for Dance Azmanova
Dance Azmanova

Dance is the Content Marketing Manager at EmbedSocial, responsible for planning, creating, and sharing valuable content about social media marketing, and online reputation.