Looking toward the months ahead in 2021, Lukas Partners shares key brand engagement trends. As we all know, the pandemic drastically impacted the way brands and businesses interact with consumers online, especially when it comes to marketing products and services. Consumers expect an appropriate response from businesses and want to connect with brands that have thoughtfully navigated unsettling times by leveraging digital media platforms. In 2021, Lukas Partners expects organizations to continue adapting their social media strategies to incorporate the following trends.
Brand Authenticity and Adjusting to the “Now”
In past years, brands have focused on creating eye-catching content that would be engaging to the masses. In 2021, consumers will expect the brands they interact with to be authentic, aligning their mission with consumer values. This strategy is being accomplished through niche marketing that targets and can inspire specific groups of people.
Brands also will have to adjust to the “now” in 2021 just as much as they had to in 2020. Our lifestyles were completely turned upside-down at the beginning of 2020, and we have slowly adapted to a new normal throughout the year. With the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine, the norm will begin to change again. Brands are expected to prepare for a second major lifestyle shift later in the year when consumers may be more willing to spend. The theme of “togetherness” also is expected to be a major theme across marketing campaigns in 2021.
Video content surpassed other mainstream forms of social media content in 2020, and we can expect this trend to continue and grow in 2021. According to Search Engine Watch, video content generates quick SEO results. Even Google prioritizes video content. Instagram Reels, TikTok videos and long-form YouTube content have allowed consumers and marketers to creatively expand the scope and complexity of their content. Since a majority of consumers have access to a smartphone with a high-resolution camera, making videos for the internet has never been more accessible. The ease of accessibility also allows consumers to create User Generated Content for brands.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-Generated Content, or UGC, is any form of content posted by users, generally consumers, on social media platforms. As the consumer value of authenticity continues to increase, marketers can move beyond traditional advertising tactics and implement UGC tactics into their strategy. Brands also can monitor content and engage with everyday users by searching for discussions or posts about their products.
Remixing Is In
Social media marketers have a new, fun way to reach audiences through remixing content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels. Marketers can take a popular sound or trend and put their spin on it to make the content relevant and trendy on other users’ feeds. For example, American Eagle Outfitters had an effective campaign in 2020 that featured its apparel on major creators like the D’Amelio sisters. The social media personalities remixed popular dances and songs from the app to create a campaign that was true to their brand, but also reflected what was currently trending on TikTok.
Continuing To Address COVID-19 Consumer Concerns
As we have all personally experienced, consumer concerns have shifted in the wake of the pandemic, and traditional marketing tactics have shifted with them. In light of the pandemic, 2020 brought creativity and resilience as many organizations had to adapt and find new and impactful ways to reach their audiences. The importance of health, safety, community and compassion were magnified by organizations this past year, from drive-thru events to contactless food delivery. Brands that have shifted their strategies to align with what the consumer is feeling have benefitted during 2020, and this will continue in 2021.