December 17, 2020


I think it’s safe to say that this year has been the most peculiar year for marketeers and employer brand professionals. With the rise of TikTok and new additions to known platforms (still questioning Fleets?!), we’re now turning our attention towards 2021.

First, let’s look at the changes that occurred this year on social media:

  1. TikTok – In January, TikTok marketing was barely established. Now, you have brands creating UGC content, influencer marketing and dance trends all to capture the attention of their Gen Z demographic. This is definitely a channel we expect to continue growing in the new year.
  2. Instagram Reels – Zuckerberg has done it again, with his duplication of the TikTok format on Instagram. Although paid advertising isn’t possible yet, organic UGC from brands have already rolled out on the platform. I expect advertising will follow soon.
  3. UGC – The term “authenticity” has spread like wildfire this year. Brands are really getting stuck into employee influencers, and are opening themselves up with a Lo-Fi, first-hand perspective. Something no doubt we expect from brands in the New Year, following everything that’s happened in 2020.

Looking forward, what do we expect to see in the shiny new year of 2021? Here are our five predicted trends for social media:

  1. Authenticity – This trend is something that has been growing the past year and will continue to blossom as we start stretching out of our bubbles in 2021. According to Later, a lot of influencers shared less filtered content, talking about topics surrounding loneliness and self-esteem.
    Transparency will grow into an expectation from consumers towards brands, and will influence their decision. We expect to see more brands and influencers sharing less curated content in the new year.
  2. Video content – This is going to dominate social media in 2021. According to a Cisco study, by 2022, 82% of all online content will be video. Whether it’s short or long form, there’s no doubt video will be going everywhere. Besides the rise in video services like TikTok and Twitch, we’ve noticed high levels of social engagement and click through rates on all our video campaigns this year.
  3. Short-form content – We ended the year with LinkedIn stories and Fleets, and they probably won’t be going away in 2021…users are spending hours scrolling through endless stories, no matter the platform. With their attention spans getting shorter, use of short-form content will continue to rise and will be an excellent tool for brand awareness campaigns.
  4. Audio – Some say that “the future is audio”. With Twitter working on a new meet-up feature, ‘Audio Spaces’; and the rise of audio consumption, with around 6.5 million adults in the UK listening to podcasts weekly (Podnews), this trend is continuing to grow into the new year. Even with the likes of MasterCard rebranding with a music single, audio should fall into your marketing strategy to create a personalised experience with your audience.
  5. Snapchat – The platform had been overshadowed this year due to the rise of TikTok, with some brands not considering Snapchat as part of their marketing strategy. However, according to Social Media Today, Snapchat added 11 million more daily active users in Q3 (2020). Snapchat is preparing for a 2021 battle with a recent partnership with Twitter, taking on TikTok with ‘Spotlight’, and their recent acquisition of music creation app ‘Voisey’. The platform has developed a niche audience globally, and isn’t going anywhere. Expect to see more AR integrations, with its partnership with Apple’s AR lenses focusing more virtual e-commerce for the platform. If you don’t know, get to know.

Special mentions:

Live stream content is something that has increased significantly during the pandemic, and this feature is only going to grow on platforms such as Instagram and LinkedIn. With brands opening their doors, it’s a great opportunity to engage with an audience and offer unique experiences online. For employers, LinkedIn stories have shown promise in highlighting the day-to-day running of their business, so expect the rise of short-form content on LinkedIn from next year.

From a consumer marketing perspective, all of the above elements will feature in the growth of social media commerce and digital shopping. Expect live stream content to add price tags and online auctions.

If you’re thinking of refreshing your employer brand on social, why not have a chat with our team!