Social media trends to follow in 2021
The dawn of the digital age has made the world even more global, giving rise for people to connect virtually through social media. Platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Reddit and Twitter host millions and millions of users across the world. The social media has become a living and breathing world, albeit digital, where users can access immense information and interact in a virtual manner. The internet and the digital technologies have also taken the GCC by storm.
This interaction has been even more pronounced ever since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world and confined everyone to their homes. During this time, a number of trends are expected to develop even more in 2021 as the world tries to get back on its feet. For example, social media platforms are doubling down as shopping channels such as Facebook Marketplace, Instagram and WhatsApp business accounts. Further, users will embrace gaming and virtual reality. These trends are also emerging in the Middle East where appeal for such services is high.
Understanding that these technology platforms have disrupted the way companies interact with their consumer base and conduct their business, Orient Planet Group employs key strategies in all its digital projects and services with several key points in mind.
When posting, less is more
A business trend that is seeing a rising curve is that brands will continue to take a less-is-more posting approach on social media. When the pandemic struck, social media turned into an asset for companies, including those in the GCC, to take their business online in order to reach the target audience at home. To make their message stand out in a sea of information, social media advertising became a very important factor that could not be taken lightly.
Better with visuals
Prices of sponsored ads on user timelines shot up and new trends caught on to match the pace of the new normal. Visuals have a better chance of catching eyeballs on the internet. Another trend, which was already present before the pandemic but gained massive traction since the past year, is video streaming. With a massive market value of USD42.9 billion in 2019, the industry is expected to grow 20.4 per cent between 2020 and 2027, according to 2020 research.
Live streaming picks up
There is higher chance of businesses to engage with users when live streaming their content on Facebook or Instagram. In order to keep the direction of the engagement graph up, social media marketing has become a coveted job. Marketers pay for sponsored ads, launch campaigns, and even pay social media influencers money to give publicity to a certain brand or review a product on these platforms. In the Middle East, the influencer culture has taken its root in the present generation and has been effective in building the brand. A recent study shows that nearly three in ten consumers use social media to communicate with a company.
More videos and stories
One of the rising platforms for this kind of marketing is TikTok which shot to popularity in the past few years. The app grew 210 per cent year-over-year in 2019 by offering engaging content to users. Social media platforms take advantage of new features such as Instagram’s Stories which has a cycle of 24 hours after which they disappear automatically. Users can leave reactions, comments or likes to whatever they like on the platform, which bridges the gap between the consumers and the companies.
Microblogging platform Twitter offers an important feature for businesses called the poll. It allows companies to understand what their consumers are looking for by directly interacting with them about their preferences and requirements.
Business on messaging apps
Instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger have 1.6 million and 1.3 billion monthly active users respectively. These platforms have further made reaching consumers an easy task. For instance, WhatsApp has an option for users to create business accounts where users can communicate directly with the companies. Facebook also launched the Marketplace a couple of years ago where local businesses could market their products and make sale. Users can order the products through Messenger. These features open a plethora of opportunities if used in the right manner.
Wary on fake news
However, recent events such as the US elections or the COVID-19 pandemic have proved that social media is a double-edged sword. It has opened a gate to unlimited information but has also given troublemakers a tool to circulate disinformation or, in common terms, fake news.
The latest research shows that digital misinformation on social media has been on the rise since February last year due to the pandemic as people flocked to social media to learn more about it. Social media platforms have regulations in place to prevent fake news from being further propagated, it has not had much effect in preventing the circulation. Facebook and Twitter flag posts that include such “synthetic and manipulated” content.
Social media, with all its disadvantages, has become an important channel of communication for consumers who are looking for services and branded products. With nearly 70 per cent of US residents say that being able to reach a company instantly through social media makes them feel more confident about the brand they choose, other markets across the world such as the GCC and the wider Middle East are following the trend. So it is important to always be updated of the developments in this field to stay ahead of the game.
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