So, December is here! The end of a year we’d very much like to forget. How amazing would it have been if our lives could switch
back to what they were before the catastrophe called COVID-19 struck us this year! But unfortunate as it is, time does not have a
Refresh option. And as 2020 ends, a new way of living, socializing, and working will begin and emerge more prominently in 2021.
It’s time to embrace the ‘new normal’, as it has been hailed by so many and so often. And this applies to the way you look at and
use social media as well.
Social media has been a savior for us in more ways than one. Apart from its staple function of keeping us connected in these harsh
times of self-isolation and social distancing, it has also kept us entertained, engaged, and even given us a means to make ends
meet. Since March, when the pandemic gained momentum, there has been a 21% rise in social media usage by people. Brands
have also latched on to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter stronger than ever before during this period.
Instagram has become a hot spot for brands to get discovered, what with 52% of new brand discoveries happening on it. And
while it has provided brands with a prominent platform to make themselves visible, interact and transact with their consumers,
Instagram is also rapidly bringing in new updates and features that brands and marketers need to understand and follow.
So, stepping into the new year, with the wide cast shadow of the COVID pandemic and the changes it has necessitated, what
should be the social media trends that you should be aware of? Talking specifically about Instagram, here are five factors that we
predict would be pivotal to your brands growth on it.
REELING IN THE POWER OF REELS
Reels was Instagram’s counterpart to the (in?)famous Tik Tok, which saw a meteoric rise in popularity in India. However, after
being banned in the country, Reels became the go-to option for Tik Tok lovers and its soaring popularity bears testament to the
same. As per research, views on Reels are almost 10 times the number you’d expect for your Stories and Feed Posts. So, it’d be
safe to say that Reels will be a popular marketing tool that you, as a brand, must capitalize on in the new year.
The popularity of Reels clearly shows a shift in trend towards short duration videos. While a Reel can be 15-30 seconds long, it
would be preferable to package content in the 15 second Preview option rather than the 30 second extended duration. The
engagement factor of Reels lies in its simplicity, scope for creativity and the ability to add music and text. The Green Screen Effect
is also great to display photos, screenshots, and other videos in your Reel. Brands can use this popular tool to show a Before-After
effect, to address customer queries, organize contests to generate engagement and even showcase their products via the Green
Screen effect through images and videos.
Hence, if you are looking to market your products/services effectively via Instagram, make sure you use Reels. With its current
popularity, Instagram itself is promoting the tool more and bringing down the reach of feed posts, as it did previously when it
launched Stories in 2016. So, you can’t really afford to skip it, can you?
SEO TO INCREASE VISIBILITY ON INSTAGRAM
If you have been following the recent news on social media, you’ll know that in November 2020, Instagram said that it will work
towards being more search friendly. What this also translates into is that now SEO will also play a major role in increasing the
visibility of your posts. Till date, Instagram has been heavily hashtag driven. But with this declaration, if users search for a certain
keyword without a hashtag in the Search bar, it will still yield images, posts and videos that are relevant to that keyword.
This will definitely aid marketers and brands alike in increasing the reach of their posts. However, in order to get that reach, it is
important for them to be prudent and use relevant and related keywords in their post descriptions and content. They should be
careful with their bio and be as precise and relevant as possible. It’s also important to mention the domain of your brand
succinctly in the bio to aid Instagram in locating your account and categorising it in that domain.
BRICK & MORTAR SHOPS MAKING A MAJOR DIGITAL SHIFT
As we mentioned before, the words ‘new normal’ have been the buzz words of 2020. Things have changed, and how! So, it is only
natural that brick & mortar brands embrace this change and conduct their business accordingly. With the pandemic making
buyers wary of their safety in public places, we expect brands to firmly adapt to and embrace Instagram as an e-commerce
platform. You can already see the shift in 2020 as events, tuitions, seminars, and meetings are happening via Instagram Live or
through apps like Zoom. With such impetus on contactless shopping, brands will be keen to convert all possible traditional
operations into digital.
Expect things like curb side delivery, online browsing, use of features like Instagram Shopping and online payment gateways to
become standard in the new year. However, brick & mortar brands need to adapt to this shift soon by understanding the
expectations of their buyers when it comes to online shopping. They need to sign up for features like Instagram & Facebook
Shopping and most importantly, focus on creating a good Customer Experience digitally. Slow loading websites & websites not
optimized for mobile phones will significantly affect their conversion rate. A smooth transaction process will be vital. Incomplete
information or a lack in clarity in the product description will cause buyers to drop off. So, if you are a Brick & Mortar brand, we
suggest you get working on making the shift to digital or further strengthening your digital presence right away.
A STORY/REELS/SHOPPING FEED?
While it has been a matter of gossip and speculation for a while now, there is a possibility that Instagram might create a more
varied and focused user experience by introducing a Stories Feed parallelly to its Post Feed in the new year. If it sees that a
particular user or set of users invests more of their time in Stories rather than posts, it will show them a Stories Feed to cater to
their browsing behavior. Does this mean the posts would lose significance? We don’t think so. What could happen is that
Instagram would give such users an option to switch between their Posts & Stories Feeds as per their preference. The same could
happen in the case of Reels and Shopping as well. Users who are inclined more towards these features could see a separate feed
for them with the option to switch back to the standard Post Feed. In this way, Instagram would be able to generate concentrated
engagement for each of its features, thereby strengthening its presence more.
VIDEO CONTENT TO STILL REIGN SUPREME
While most of the trends we have predicted so far have been breakthrough developments or completely new trends, this is one
prediction that stays evergreen. Video content is expected to stay as relevant and engaging, if not more, in 2021. This can be
attributed to the sudden rise and popularity of apps like Tik Tok and social media features like Reels. In a recent survey, video
content was found out to be the most commonly used marketing content by brands and the second most popular type of
engagement content. As a result, Instagram and several other major social media platforms are stepping up and promoting video
content and enhancing their own video production capabilities.
While we will learn more about how things pan out in 2021, these are some factors that should definitely play a part in deciding
your social media strategy. Reach out to us on email@example.com for more clarity and creating an effective Instagram
Marketing plan, based on these and other insights. We hope your brand continues to grow in the new year!