Social Revs the Engine for 2021 (Part 2 OF 2)

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Social Revs the Engine for 2021 (Part 2 OF 2)

Hang on to your hat – social media is revving its engine in anticipation of 2021. With the increase in online activity through remote learning and work-from-home in 2020 social media saw big increases in activity. Where is that leading us in 2021? Let’s look ahead at the top social media and digital trends expected for the coming year, according to recent reports published by Talkwalker and Hubspot, and some in-the-trenches experience here at Axiom.

Vaccine or Not, COVID will Shape 2021

Even if the COVID-19 pandemic ends in 2021, according to Talkwalker, the virus will drive conversation as brands continue to talk about the 4 Cs: Community, Contactless, Cleanliness and Compassion.

They go on to say a communications gap exists between consumers and brands, which needs to be addressed. Businesses focusing on messages aimed at communities and consumers will emphasize cleanliness and the steps they are taking (and require) to maintain a safe environment.

“Meme-tastic”

Memes (pronounced MEEM) – those fun internet images that describe a feeling or event  – are here to stay. Memes are big and growing among Millennials and Generation Z’ers. Talkwalker and Hubspot say 55 percent of 13-35 year-olds are sending memes every week. From mid-2019 to mid-2020, meme usage increased 20 percent, to nearly 25 million. Expect this to continue in the year to come.

Nostalgia for the Good ol’ Pre-COVID Days

Doesn’t 2019 seem much longer than 11 months ago? We were able to socialize in groups. People got closer than six feet! We hugged. And, no masks *GASP*. Then COVID struck and we’ve been looking fondly at those carefree days ever since. As consumers, we all long for good memories during times of uncertainty. It isn’t the first time brands played to those feelings. The same thing occurred during The Great Depression, rationing during WWII and the turbulent 1960s. The difference is, social media is adding a new dimension where history comes alive every day, and instant creativity is shared by millions in just milliseconds.

“Old-School” Mixed with New School

Talkwalker and Hubspot are predicting a rise in “old-school marketing” in 2021, with a digital twist. What they consider old-school is not actually that old, however – podcasts and e-newsletters. They state that 55 percent of Americans now listen to podcasts, while reading e-newsletters is up 14 percent during the COVID lockdown. So, get ready to publish. Your audience is ready and waiting.

Misinformation Continues

From February 2020 through today, social mentions of fake news, misinformation, and conspiracy theories have increased dramatically. Brands and the social networks are expected to continue focusing on highlighting truth and fact-checking over fiction. Expect substantiation of facts and claims to be a big part of messaging in 2021. Side note: we’re hoping consumers regularly check facts too, rather than believe everything they see, read and hear.

Social Consciousness Will be Top of Mind

Talkwalker and Hubspot agree – the number one trend for 2021 will be social consciousness for individuals and businesses. Younger generations – Generations Z and Alpha – are looking to be more socially aware in greater numbers than previous generations. They’re building knowledge in politics, inclusion, education, mental health, the environment, finance and even sourcing food. These generations are looking at local and national brands to be transparent and engage more with information about chain-of-custody in the products they buy and causes supported by brands they frequent. They’ll make buying decisions based in part on corporate responsibility, philanthropy and a company’s position on social and political issues. If companies remain ambiguous or opaque, brands risk becoming irrelevant and potentially obsolete in the eyes of their next-gen customers.

If you have questions about these or other social media trends for 2021, feel free to reach out to Matt Main at mmain@axiomcom.com.

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