2020 was a hectic year. With the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on gatherings and movement, most businesses were forced to quickly adapt to a world where almost everything had to be done online.
This accelerated shift to the digital space brought about by the pandemic has brought increased competition in the digital space, especially when it comes to social media marketing.
As we head to 2021, businesses and brands will have to be very strategic with their social media efforts if they want to get their message heard amidst all the noise on social platforms.
In this article, we are going to look at 9 social media hacks that will help your business to stand out from the crowd in 2021. Let’s jump in.
Table of Contents
- Take a less is more posting approach
- Put greater emphasis on video
- Automate your social media activity
- Take advantage of humanized chatbots
- Take advantage of the reach of stories
- Start sharing more snackable content
- Turn your social platforms into shopping channels
- Make your marketing conversational
- Don’t forget your competitors
1. Take a less is more posting approach
Before 2020, social media was more of a quality over quantity thing. Brands were focused on making sure that they were constantly in their audience’s minds, which meant constantly sending out social media posts, sometimes several times in a day.
But now, with almost every business shifting their attention to social media, customers are starting to get overwhelmed with messages from brands.
If you want your brand to stand out on social media in 2021, you will need to adopt a less is more posting approach. Rather than posting simply because you need to, you should focus on sending out thoughtful posts that add value to your audience, even if this means posting less frequently.
Ideally, you should aim for one post a day. According to a study by Hubspot, posting more than twice a day can lead to a reduction in engagement. However, the optimal posting frequency for you will depend on your followers, their age, their browsing habits, and so on.
The aim here is to avoid overwhelming your audience. You don’t want to get to a point where your audience is tired of your posts.
2. Put greater emphasis on video
Today, the demand for video is insatiable. In 2021, there will be an even greater demand for video. Estimates by the Cisco Visual Networking index predict that video content will make up about 80% of the world’s internet traffic in 2021.
Other reports also show that video is the most preferred content type for social media users, with 81% of internet users saying they prefer video over other types of social media content.
What’s more, videos are very effective for driving conversions. 60% of shoppers report that they have decided to purchase as a result of viewing an online video.
With such statistics, it is not surprising that social media platforms are giving greater priority to video over other kinds of content.
For instance, Facebook gives greater priority to videos shared natively on the platform over other kinds of content. Videos that are natively shared on the platform achieve 86% higher reach compared to other kinds of content, including YouTube videos that are shared on the platform.
Also, videos shared on Facebook drive greater engagement – comments and shares – than any kind of content shared on the platform.
Other platforms like Instagram are also giving greater priority to video content over other kinds of content.
If you want your brand to perform well on social media in 2021, therefore, you will need to start putting greater emphasis on video content.
So, what kinds of videos should you post on social media?
There are several kinds of videos that you can post on your social media pages. Here are a few ideas:
- Explainer videos
- Tutorial videos
- Behind the scenes looks into your brand
- Product information videos
- User-generated videos
Mashable is a great example of a company that’s putting great emphasis on video.
If you look at Mashable’s Twitter handle, you’ll notice that they post video content more than any other kind of content. Doing this has made it possible for them to grow their following, increase their reach, and boost their engagement, all this without having to pay for sponsored tweets.
3. Automate your social media activity
At times, pushing your brand on social media can become overwhelming, especially for small businesses that do not have a dedicated social media team.
You might feel like you’re spending all your time on social media, creating posts, creating captions for your videos and images, interacting with followers, and so on.
If you want to make your social media efforts more effective, start automating your social media activity using some of the best social media automation tools in 2021.
Social media automation allows you to schedule your social media posts, which are then automatically posted on your social profiles at the scheduled time. For instance, if you’re marketing on Facebook, SocialPilot allows you to create Facebook posts in advance and then schedule them to be published at specific times on specific days.
Automating your social media activity will free up your time and allow you to focus on other equally important aspects of your business.
Of course, even with social media automation, you will need to check in once in a while to interact with your followers and monitor brand sentiment.
4. Take advantage of humanized chatbots
Unless you have a dedicated social media team, it is impossible to promptly respond to all social media inquiries from your audience.
Even with a dedicated social media team, this can still be a challenge, especially for businesses that serve a global audience across different time zones.
This becomes a problem because your customers are not ready to wait until you’re ready to respond to their inquiries. They want you to respond to their questions immediately. If you take more than a few minutes to respond, they’ll quickly move on to your competitors.
Instead of letting these potential sales opportunities get lost because you do not have a dedicated social media team, you can take advantage of chatbots to capture these leads and add them to your sales funnel.
For instance, when you visit the Facebook page of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, they have a Messenger chatbot that is ready to answer any questions you might have.
This chatbot keeps visitors engaged and answers the most basic questions. However, if it cannot handle your request, it will hand you over to a human customer service agent who will be able to handle your request.
The beauty of having chatbots installed on your social platforms is that they work tirelessly around the clock, responding to customer inquiries and getting their details until you’re ready to take over in person.
Some of the benefits of using humanized chatbots to respond to your social media leads include:
- Immediacy: Chatbots allow your business to respond to customer inquiries promptly at all times. Whether it is the middle of the night or a public holiday, you don’t have to lose customers because you didn’t have someone manning your social media at that moment.
- Personalization: Another great benefit of chatbots is its ability to give personalized responses. This, coupled with the immediacy of chatbot responses, makes your customers feel that they’re highly valued.
- Neutrality: Chatbots do not have emotions, and therefore, they can maintain a professional and unbiased demeanor with your customers regardless of the situation.
5. Take advantage of the reach of stories
Stories started as a feature that was only available on Snapchat. However, other social platforms realized how popular stories are, and today, many of the top social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter have their own version of stories.
Stories is a feature that allows users to content – either images or videos – that appear at the top of the app and disappear after 24 hours.
Instagram’s internal reports show that Instagram stories are viewed by over 500 million users every single day. Facebook also reports a similar number of daily stories users across the main app and Messenger.
Many big brands have already taken note of the extensive reach of stories and are already taking advantage of this feature. For instance, in the image below, KFC are using the stories feature to tell their followers about their partnership with Uber Eats.
If you have not been taking advantage of the stories feature on different platforms, and particularly Facebook and Instagram, you should start using this trend in 2021 to expand your reach.
The best part about stories is that they allow your followers to take actions such as responding to polls and swiping up on the story to visit a webpage.
6. Start sharing more snackable content
The attention spans of internet users have been steadily decreasing. Today, the average internet has an attention span of just 8 seconds, down from 12 seconds 20 years ago. The attention span of today’s internet is less than that of a goldfish.
Source: Muck Ruck
Realizing how inattentive internet users are, most social media platforms are now focusing on shorter, snackable content. These are pieces of content that can be consumed in about 30 seconds or so.
A good example of platforms taking advantage of short, snackable pieces of content is TikTok, which rose to prominence in 2020. Despite having been created just four years ago (2016), TikTok already has over 500 million active monthly users.
Seeing the success of short-form pieces of content on TikTok, Instagram has also introduced a similar feature, which they’ve dubbed Reels.
Big companies like Apple have taken note of the feature and are already sharing Reels with their followers. This shows that even big brands realize the power of creating snackable content.
As the attention spans of internet users continue dwindling, demand for these short-form pieces of content will increase.
7. Turn your social platforms into shopping channels
In the past, most businesses have been using social media solely as a marketing tool. Basically, this involved promoting your products on social media, and then directing interested customers to your online store to complete the purchase.
Lately, however, the tide has been changing. In an attempt to keep users on their platforms, some popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have come up with features that allow people to complete purchases without ever leaving the respective platforms.
For instance, if you’re browsing through Facebook and come across a jacket you like, you can order and pay for the jacket without leaving Facebook or interrupting your browsing session. This feature offers unprecedented levels of convenience for social media users.
One of the brands that is taking advantage of this hack is Ink Meets Paper. The custom cards brand has set up a Facebook shop and added the Facebook “Buy Now” button, allowing its customers to order cards and complete the checkout right from their Facebook page.
While this feature is not entirely new, there has been increased uptake of the feature by online businesses over the last one year.
If you want to provide a seamless experience for your customers in 2021, you should start using this feature to turn your social media platforms into shopping channels.
8. Make your marketing conversational
The rise of social media marketing turned marketing into a two-way street. Before social media, marketing was a one way street, with brands pushing out their messaging to consumers, who didn’t have much in the way of getting heard by brands.
With social media, it became possible for consumers to connect with and get heard by brands. Even then, marketing has still carried some level of bias. So far, much of social media marketing has been centered on pushing products and promotions.
As we head into 2021, however, this has started changing. Rather than using social media to only tell consumers about your products, brands that want to remain relevant on social media will have to make the conversation more meaningful to consumers.
Making the conversation more meaningful to consumers means putting greater focus on helping them with the challenges they’re facing, educating them about effective solutions for their problem, and gradually nurturing them until they’re ready to become buyers.
This will be a significant change from the current approach where the sole focus of brands is getting consumers to spend their money, whether they find a solution to their problem or not.
A good example of a brand that has mastered the art of conversation marketing is Dove.
Dove regularly holds social media campaigns meant to help its followers overcome some of their challenges. For instance, in the campaign shown below, Dove uses its social media to drive a project whose aim is to help girls get confident about their bodies. You can also use social media tools for best results in social media marketing
The campaign does directly promote any of Dove’s products, yet it has helped Dove gain more customers by showing it cares.
Just like Dove, you should start thinking of ways to make your social media conversations more meaningful for your audience, rather than focusing solely on marketing your products and services.
9. Don’t forget your competitors
The Covid 19 pandemic has pushed almost every business into the online sphere, making the space more competitive. As we head into 2021, if you want your business to thrive on social media, you must start keeping an eye on your competition, if you’ve not been doing it already.
Even as you focus on pushing your brand, constantly watch your competitors and see what they’re doing on social media. Perform a social media competitor analysis, map out their strengths and weaknesses, and then use these to come up with a strategy to help your business gain an edge in social media.
Social media is a constantly changing landscape, and as we start a new year, what worked for you before might not be as useful tomorrow. Therefore, it is a good idea to look ahead and start preparing yourself for the changes that will come in the next one year.
In this article, we have shared with you 9 social media hacks that will help you stay a step ahead of your competitors in 2021. All you need to do now is to start adapting your social media strategy to take advantage of these hacks before your competitors get in on the secret.