5 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2021
For the Makers

5 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2021

The social media landscape changes with lightning speed, which can make it feel daunting to get started or frustrating to engage with — but it’s also essential to marketing your business! You can make a big impact with a small budget on social media. It allows you to reach a wider audience, build relationships with potential and current customers, and provide insights into their wants and needs. Check out our top five tips for staying current with social media in 2021.  

Stream it live

Live streaming increased measurably in 2020 in response to the pandemic (seeing a 73% rise from February to March 2020). With opportunities for in-person events and interactions drastically reduced, smarties switched to live streaming! The next best thing to face-to-face interaction, streaming through Facebook or Instagram Live, for example, brings your audience into your store/workshop/home and provides an opportunity for much-needed connection. Take your customers on a tour of your space, update them on what’s in stock/sold out, show them how you make their favorite product, or provide some education on your product or service. Even when we’re once again able to shop in person, streaming will continue to be an important opportunity for brands to bolster their online presence and connection with customers.  

Share it through video

Data provided by a SocialInsider study shows that images in stories have a 5.65% higher tap-forward rate than videos. The tap-forward rate indicates the number of people who saw the story and moved on to the next one instead of finishing it. You can capture, and hold, your audience’s attention with video! The same SocialInsider study posits that “videos create authenticity, which ultimately results in better retention as compared to photos. People spend a longer time on it which influences Instagram’s algorithm on how many people your story is shown to.”  

While we’re talking stories, don’t forget about Instagram Reels. Developed to compete with TikTok, Reels have been center stage in Instagrams recent upgrades and is a clear priority for the platform. Even if you’re not a TikTok fan, make a free account and get the feel for what’s popular on the app, then make some Reels on your business Instagram page! The Instagram algorithm prioritizes Reels above stories in an effort to curb the trend of resharing TikTok videos on Instagram.  

Digital ads and feed posts are also benefitted from animated GIFS and video. GIFS are very easy to produce. Simply take 3–15 seconds of any video and create your own GIF on a site such as Giphy.com. Experiment and discover if the addition of GIFS or video to your content produces better engagement and reach!  

Sell it in platform

Platforms are pushing for smooth, easy shopping experiences in which the customer doesn’t leave the app to make their purchase. For example, Facebook now allows you to create a shop from your business page and Instagram allows you to add product tags to feed posts. In 2020, 55% of users purchased an item directly through social media and 57% are shopping online more often because of the pandemic. More social platforms will likely integrate native shopping experiences in 2021, but Facebook and Instagram are already there!  

Keep it real

Authenticity, transparency, diversity, social causes — all these social media “trends” boil down to one thing: keeping it real. Customers are looking for brands who engage authentically with their values, give back to and support causes that align with their business and aren’t afraid to speak up on issues that are relevant to their industry. For example, an apparel company should probably refrain from engaging in a controversial topic that isn’t directly relevant to their business or taking a stance they can’t back up with action; however, they will probably draw equal criticism for abstaining from a conversation about diversity of models in product listings or the fair payment of the garment workers who make their clothes. Listen for relevant social movements such as #WhoMadeMyClothes and engage fearlessly if the movement aligns in a real and authentic way with your business. Merkle’s Q4 2020 Media Insights Report found that 56% of consumers say they have no respect for businesses that remain silent on important issues. 

Similarly, keep it real by being transparent and equally fearless in making apologies should you face criticism. Sit back and listen to your customers, pay attention to their values, struggles, and pain points. Frame criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow!  


SEO isn’t just for ads and web copy. You can improve organic reach, especially on Instagram, by building stronger SEO from your profile to your posts. As of November 2020, Instagram is more searchable. Now, all the content in your posts and profile, not just your hashtags, will appear when searched in the app. You can boost your Instagram SEO by:  

  • Making sure your captions include relevant keywords that will help Instagram identify what’s being shown or talked about in your post.
  • Consistently post content that’s relevant to your niche.
  • Following other similar accounts.
  • Adding a relevant keyword to your name in your bio (Ex. Soap Works | Artisan Soaps)