Social Media Marketing 2021: Trends and Opportunities

As with all marketing channels, social media is continually evolving.  Since it was first introduced, it is continuing to grow, providing tremendous opportunities for brands to reach their customer base.

Before diving into social media today, did you know that the first recognizable social media site, Six Degrees, was created in 1997? It enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. In 1999, the first blogging sites became popular and social media took off from there with sites like MySpace and LinkedIn gaining in popularity in the early 2000s. By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world and other sites rapidly began to be introduced. (source)


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Social media is a way of life today. Last year was particularly significant for social media as the pandemic drove more people online to find new ways of engaging with one another.  Take a look at some of these interesting facts from Sprout Social about social media usage today:

  • Over 3.6 billion people use social media. This is projected to increase to to 4.41 billion users by 2025.
  • Facebook, the oldest of the social networks, also continues to be the most used social network in the world with over 2.7 billion monthly active users.
  • Instagram has 1 billion monthly active users, the largest demographic being women aged 18–24 years old.
  • 90% of US marketers name Instagram as the most important social media platform for influencer marketing.
  • Pinterest has over 442 million users. Women make up more than 60% of the global Pinner community and male Pinners are up almost 50% year over year.
  • 98% of Pinners say they have tried new things that they found on Pinterest and when looking for purchase inspiration, 89% of Pinners use the network.
  • LinkedIn has more than 722 million users in more than 200 countries and territories.
  • 96% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for organic content distribution and 83% for paid social, making it the top most-used platform in both content distribution types.


Social Media Advertising Statistics

Social media ad spend continues to grow.  In 2020, the amount reached 40 billion U.S. dollars, and by 2022, advertisers are expected to spend over 56 billion dollars on promoting their products on social networks.

US Social Media Spend 2021
  • Of the 63% (two thirds) of consumers that have clicked on a social media advertisement, 33% made a direct purchase, according to an Episerver survey on cross-channel consumer preferences.
  • According to DataReportal, there’s been a 7.8% (255 million) increase in active social media users across the globe since 2019. Some 46% of global consumers are active on social media sites.
  • Social media is the most relevant advertising channel for 50% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials.
  • Non-customers are three times more likely than customers to visit retailers from social media ads.
  • 50% of consumers said that seeing user-generated content would increase their chances of buying products through a brand’s social media. 49% said that easy payment systems (like Amazon Pay) would increase their chances of buying through social media.
  • Posts with links to more information are the most preferred type of content on social media. 30% of consumers said that it’s the content they like to see most from brands on social. 18% preferred graphics and images, while 17% would like to see produced video. (Sprout Social)

Where is Social Media Headed?

As seen in the earlier stats, Facebook remains one of the most popular social media platforms, but Instagram is quickly catching up. (Social Media Marketing Industry Report)

Social Media Marketing 2019

93% of marketers surveyed said that their social media efforts have led to increased exposure for their brand, 87% stated it brought increased traffic, and 74% have generated leads.

Social Media Marketing 2019

According to consumers, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter rank highest for discovering new brands. However, as of 2021, TikTok is up there in the top four. (Infinite Dial 2021)

However, marketers need to undertand that the demographics of each site varies by age. Facebook ranks top for those aged 35 and older, while Instagram is the top site for ages 12-34. 

How do Marketers Prioritize Social Platforms?

According to a new report by Sprout Social, 7 in 10 social marketers say that increasing brand awareness is one of their top goals when it comes to social marketing. When deciding which platforms to invest in in order to achieve this goal, 54% of marketers are prioritizing potential audience reach. Additionally, 47% choose platforms based on cost of paid ads, 38% base their choice on the potential for driving traffic and 37% choose based on the potential for lead generation.

Potential audience reach takes into consideration factors such as demographics and popularity among age groups.  Facebook, for example, is the primary platform where members of Generation X Like or follow brands (77%), but for members of Generation Z, Instagram is most popular (69%).

Social Media Marketing  2019

When asked how they define engagement when measuring social success, likes and comments, and shares and retweets were the most popular.

Social Media Marketing  2019

What Do Consumers Think of Brands on Social Media?

Social marketing must align with what consumers are looking for from brands and do so in a sense that encourages them to act.  Consumers follow brands on social media to learn about new products or services (50%), to be entertained (48%), or to stay up to date on company news (40%).

Social Media Marketing  2019

Likewise, consumers will also unfollow brands on social platforms. The top reasons include poor customer service (56%), irrelevant content (51%), and too many ads from the brand (43%).

Social Media Marketing  2019

When it comes to posts that consumers will like or share, posts that entertain, inspire or teach are the most favored.

Social Media Marketing

Targeting the Right Audiences on Social Platforms

Your audience is constantly changing and what they care about also changes.  Do you have a clear picture of who they are, what they look like and what inspires them to act?

Building your audiences from your first-party CRM data is paramount to get a clear picture of who you should be targeting.  By profiling your database, you can gain insights into demographics, age, location, lifestyles and behavioral attributes.

Audiences become truly powerful when third-party data is appended for deeper insights or third-party data is used to create additional, look-alike audiences.

Not everything you put out on social is going to work so remember to keep testing, listening to your audiences and continually measure results.  Social media advertising continues to grow in importance – now is the time to optimize your strategies and start reaping the benefits.

Interested in learning more about additional marketing strategies and tactics? Download our Success Kit to Skyrocket Your Customer Experiences and gain access to some of our most informative resources on customer experience marketing trends, strategies and tactics. The most convenient way to research, this success kit contains topic focused blogs, webinars, white papers, case studies and more – all with one download.

Customer Experience

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