2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year, but if there’s one thing to take away from it, it’s the importance of being prepared for both the expected and unexpected.

This year has been a rocky one for many businesses globally, and some of the business trends we see today are likely to continue in the coming year. While a complete recovery might take some time, it is still important for brands to equip themselves with a robust marketing strategy for 2021. Here are 5 tips to do so…

1. Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is all about engaging customers and building relationships through personalised content. Brands today can no longer simply put out messages and hope for the best. There is an increasing need for brands to establish a two-way conversation with consumers, and connecting with them on matters that are most important to them. Especially during a crisis, sales are no longer a priority for consumers. Rather, genuine engagement and relationship-building are the key factors in creating a robust customer experience strategy.

Brands should leverage tools such as chatbots, live-streaming video platforms and social channels to build authentic connections with consumers while showing them the human side of the brand.

Conversational Marketing SCS

2. The Rise of Digital Disinformation

While the problem of ‘fake news’ has been plaguing social media for the past few years, 2020 saw this issue being brought to the forefront due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to high levels of uncertainty, consumers were desperate to obtain, as well as share, COVID-19 related information – but it was not always accurate.

In light of the rise in digital disinformation, 2021 will see the major social media channels taking active steps to curb this trend through means such as labelling of social content that are deemed to be inaccurate or misleading. We would expect that brands will also need to adopt a culture of transparency with consumers to reduce the chances of people filling information gaps with inaccurate news regarding their brand. Businesses should also practise brand monitoring to detect any instances of fake news being tied to their brand, and address the issue before it becomes a full-blown PR crisis.

3. The Impact of Socially Conscious Audiences

Consumers today are more socially aware than ever before. Generation Z and Alpha actively engage in conversations surrounding social issues like mental health, equality, education, and climate change. They consciously search for brands with social values that are in line with theirs, while avoiding those which aren’t.

2020 saw people around the world being negatively impacted by the pandemic. This, along with other significant 2020 occurrences, led to consumers being even louder in speaking up regarding the issues affecting society today.

Conversations surrounding these issues will very likely continue in 2021, especially on social media. Hence, brands need to regularly engage in discussions regarding topics that matter most to their consumers, while ensuring that they actively create a positive social impact. It is also crucial for brands to be actively identifying issues most relevant to their target audience in the region.

Protest social media SCS

4. Nostalgia Marketing

It’s easy to look back on 2019 and think how much better it was. The positive emotions connected with the ‘good old days’ help boost current emotions. And that’s where the power and the appeal of nostalgia marketing lies. It connects strong positive emotions to your brand and it gives it a sentimental boost.

During times of uncertainty and economic downturn, it appears more frequently as consumers look to connect with happier times to distract from current situations and social media will be perfect for this.

5. The Four Cs 

Even if the pandemic is resolved in 2021, the repercussions will be felt for years to come. The shadow cast by coronavirus will most likely linger, making it hard for consumers to simply forget its consequences.

Brands will need to adapt their communications with this in mind – with the tone of 2021 shaped by the 4 Cs of coronavirus content:

  • Community 
  • Contactless 
  • Cleanliness
  • Compassion

Want to up your social media game? Whether you’re an established brand or just beginning your business journey, at South Coast Social we work with start-ups and challenger businesses about to launch through to global brands, spanning a wide variety of sectors including health and beauty, fashion, media, finance, design and technology. 

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