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*Brand Partner Content*

When we finally get to kiss 2020 goodbye and consign its 365 days to the history books, it’s doubtful if it will be a fond farewell. This year has been an extremely challenging one for everyone. Businesses and brands across the board have had to adapt to a new way of doing things, and that ‘new normal’ for many involved getting to grips with social media marketing for the first time.

In 2020 everyone finally caught on to what those in the industry have known for some time; digital marketing is the future, and you ignore your brand’s social media presence at your peril. The founder of Baby Shark Networks, Shomaila Niaz, has been advising businesses and brands for the better part of a decade on all things digital. It is something she has always been passionate about, and with 2021 set to be the year when social media marketing takes center stage, there’s never been a better time to find out what trends we need to keep a close eye on.

Social Media Will Become Socially Conscious 

Even before the pandemic and the damage it wrought upon society, social media users were becoming increasingly socially aware.

Climate change, racism, poverty, mental health issues, homelessness, gender identity, and equality are all things that matter greatly to people on social media, particularly the younger generation. As it stands, your brand needs to take a firm stance on such issues in 2021 and engage its audience. Social media users need to identify and relate to a brand, so ensure yours engages appropriately with them if you want to win their loyalty and trust.

Fake News and Digital Disinformation 

Fake news has always been something of an issue on social media, but in 2020 the bad got worse. Conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 were rife as more and more users looked for updates and news regarding the pandemic. This disturbing trend of digital disinformation left everyone disturbed, particularly the social media platforms themselves. To remedy this, in 2021, they will take active steps to label content they suspect as inaccurate or misleading. Next year, if a brand isn’t transparent about its core messages and values, and proactive in its measures to protect its reputation, it will be penalized by social media.

Communication Will Be Key 

Communication between brands and consumers on social media is no longer a one-way street. In 2021 more and more individuals will look for brands who will engage in a two-way conversation. Genuine engagement and the fostering of relationships will be essential between brands and individuals in 2021. The most effective way to do this is to give your brand an identity with compelling content. Live streaming video platforms and chatbots will all play their part on the consumer’s journey to identifying with the human face of your brand.