The Most Interesting Facts from Hootsuite’s Social Trends Report 2021

Hootsuite just published their social trends report for 2021 after having surveyed 11,189 leading marketers and executives regarding the most effective and efficient ways to boost traffic, generate leads, and bring new customers to the brand in 2021. The report is a detailed analysis on some major questions marketers face in today’s world, from the effectiveness of social platforms to which target audience they have been neglecting, to why their ROI-based approach may be a bit limited, to aligning their strategies and messages according to a change-driven purpose demanded by today’s generations.

We’ve done the hard part by going through the entire report, and we’ve highlighted the most interesting facts for you in this blog. Have a look below.

The Most Effective Social Platforms in 2021

The Hootsuite report starts by telling us about the most effective social platforms in 2021, according to them,

1. 60% of businesses are planning to increase their Instagram budget, with almost half planning to do the same for YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

2. The report states that in the most recent quarter, Instagram’s advertising reach grew by 7.1% – more than three times that of Facebook (2.2%).

3. The report also took into account marketers who don’t do paid advertising, observing that most of their growth comes through Twitter and Pinterest, with Pinterest receiving the highest amount of bottom-of-funnel conversions.

Hootsuite Social Trends 2021 - Effective Social Platforms

4. Further, according to Hootsuite, smart marketers are closely analyzing where they’ll achieve the most reach from; they’re spending more time on platforms they’re most comfortable with rather than experimenting on new platforms or strategies.

5. For all the hype and growth of TikTok, it’s still not an effective part of any marketer’s investment plan, even in 2021.

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Customer Acquisition

With everything happening in the world right now, from Covid-19 to economic issues, it’s not shocking to realize every brand is trying to gain more customers to try out their products and become part of their audience. Keeping this in mind, Hootsuite found,

1. 73% of all marketers are ranking “increased acquisition of new customers” among their top priorities for 2021.

2. While only 23% of marketers are making “improved customer experience” a key business outcome for socials.

3. “Improve customer insights” is a priority for just 15% of marketers, which is concerning, looking at how social conversations are now being shaped around customer behavior and demands.

Hootsuite Social Trends 2021 - Customer Acquisition

The report takes all these figures into account and suggests that marketers should try to bring more of the customer’s own experience into better consideration. Because even though focusing on ROI is a huge priority on its own, but doing that alone won’t make memorable brands or result in long-term growth.

Find Your Place in Conversations

Brands have always tried to be a bigger part of social conversations, but they don’t always hit the mark with their message, and this was on clear display last year with the pandemic. When brands tried to implement an overly emotional tone in all their content, they became subject to memes with people mocking them in their desperate attempts to be the center of attention and instead making their audience feel more disconnected from them.

1. According to Hootsuite, 68% of people don’t believe brands are sharing interesting content. Meaning that brands have been miscalculating what type of content people want to see on their socials, and how much they’re interested in interacting with them.

2. According to Morning Consult, useful and entertaining ads are more likely to drive sales as people try to return to post-pandemic normalcy.

3. On average, 32% of key demographics i.e. Gen-Z, millennials, boomers, etc. are looking for entertaining content on social media.

The report states that in 2021, a year when content is being curated to revolve around the consumers, the smartest brands should understand where they fit into their audience’s lives, and find creative ways to start conversations instead of trying to be in the spotlight.

entertainment - interesting content

The age we’re living in demands content that breaks the walls of indifference that have long been associated with marketing. Hence, curating content just for the people you interact with isn’t the way to go. One of the major points to notice would be to not dismiss any passive visitors coming to your website/profile.

4. Hootsuite’s Digital 2020 data shows that an average Facebook user only shares one post in 30 days.

5. Moreover, according to Hootsuite, Twitter’s total website traffic is larger than its user base, meaning that even though retweets and likes are considered Twitter’s success metrics,  millions of the platform’s content is read by passive visitors. This makes Twitter the 11th most visited website in the world.

Count Boomers in Your Strategy

The pandemic brought one of the most neglected generations back into the marketing spotlight, as boomers became more and more active on social media platforms with nothing else left to do.

1. 70% of internet users between the ages 55-64 reported having bought something online, while 37% planning to continue doing so more frequently even once the pandemic is over.

2. Social media has seen a 66% rise of boomers discovering brands and products via online platforms in the past 4 years.

3. TikTok has been ranked as one of the least effective platforms while Facebook the most effective, with Gen-X and boomers being more active here than any other platform.

But since targeting baby boomers alone may not be effective, the report suggests marketers should target people according to their hobbies, meaning a cross-generational audience can easily be reached through this tactic, with boomers, as well as younger generations, getting equal weightage while being targeted by brands.

Points for Marketers

1. According to a survey of 2,162 marketers and executives, 54% said they aren’t confident whether their social media followers are more valuable than audiences they don’t interact with.

Hootsuite’s analysis observes most social media managers have no idea if they’re replying to a lifelong customer, new lead, ex-employee, or a critic. Meaning, most marketing strategies are being wasted on engagements that aren’t driving any guaranteed results.

While this might be the case, it isn’t all in vain. Your audience exists, and you can create valuable relationships with them through social media. You just need to ensure your content is designed according to their searches and close the gap between your brand and your target market.

2. 69% of respondents agree that social media helped prepare them for Covid-19’s impact on business disruption by maintaining customer relationships via social.

3. According to CMO, 33.5% of marketers believe retaining customers should be their key objective rather than improving ROI (3.5%) or acquiring new customers (14%).

social ads - paid and organic strategy

The report states that the biggest lag preventing marketers from reaching their audience is the lack of data integration, with only 10% reported having integrated their data into enterprise systems.

4. 85% of organizations integrating social data into other systems i.e. Adobe, Salesforce, etc. have confidence in accurately quantifying the ROI of social media.

Along with this data integration, marketers also need to focus on taking a balanced paid-organic strategy to reach their target audience efficiently. These paid ads can go a long way into determining which demographic is more interested in your brand and how you can strengthen your relationship with them further.

5. About 28% of respondents in the survey reported not running any social ads at all, while 32% reported having a completely integrated paid and organic social strategy in place.

According to Hootsuite, your social media needs a strong basis and objective to determine whether you’re reaching your target market effectively or nit, because unless marketers are keeping focus on this objective, they will start creating content just for the sake of engagement instead of creating a long-term relationship with consumers.

Social Responsibility and Purpose

In the past year, a lot more has caused change in social conversations than just the pandemic. From racism to gender equality, from economic fallout to environmental changes, brands have found themselves in the midst of one social conversation to another, pressured to make their own voice heard to take a stand against all the things happening around the globe.

Brandwatch 2021

Today’s branding is built around adapting to a socially conscious mindset and meeting the expectations of younger, more diverse generations, that of Millennials and Gen-Z.

1. According to the report, about 60% of respondents say they plan on buying more products and services from businesses that have taken care of their workforce and brought positive change in the world during the pandemic.

While this sounds like a simple statement, ensuring your organization is on the right side of history isn’t an easy job; this isn’t something you can just “do” on social media by posting a socially acceptable message, you have to show it in your day-to-day practices as well. And this is where most brands faced problems in the last year.

Social Responsibility and Purpose

Brands may take a stance due to pressure, but establishing an image of a brand that actually behaves according to the values its promoting through social statements is what consumers want from them so as for it to not seem hypocritical. Because if your purpose-driven objective is only limited to social media and not implemented in your organization, this entire act is quite inadequate.

2. A Brandwatch survey shows that consumers are more concerned about whether a brand is proactively operating according to its values and making the world a better place, or whether it’s just concerned about its performative actions around those values, i.e. posting a social statement but not following through with it practically.

In conclusion, if businesses aren’t proactively administering purpose-driven change in their practices, they can’t expect to create a facade of purpose through just social and marketing perspectives.

These were the trends from Hootsuite’s social trends report 2021. Now you know what you need to do to gain better interest from your audience, you just need to implement your strategies around this knowledge. As a brand, it’s your responsibility to know when you have to communicate with your audience and what you have to communicate about, this also includes knowing whether it’s even relevant for you to send a message and what kind of message you’re sending.

Keeping your customer at the crux of your marketing makes it easier for you to make an impact on their investing decisions and makes the audience-brand relationship stronger.

Maha Abdul Rehman

A content writer and a psychology major, I procrastinate for 6 months or write consecutively. And I occasionally watch (see: obsess about) Football.

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