2020 has been a big year for social media, with businesses around the world having to lean heavily on their social media strategies to make up for the downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ongoing themes displayed across social media this year highlight connectivity and authenticity as integral parts of their use and development.

As we head into 2021, here are five big trends from social media we think are here to stay!

TREND #1: Authentic Influencers

Authenticity is here to stay, and fans have become highly savvy to influencers glossing over the negative aspects of life and instead only portraying very stylised and ‘highlight reel’ content.

The most successful influencers from 2020 have been upfront about their struggles, celebrated their wins and documented it all along the way. Social media users are also loving the upfront honesty of authentic influencers, wanting to see content from people just like them.

As we head into 2021 and the ongoing uncertainties of the world around us, authenticity will still be king.

TREND # 2: Interactive Instagram stories

 Instagram is still the dominant platform for stories. We’re seeing businesses and individuals making multiple stories a day to increase their engagement with their followers. Polls and reactions through stories are continuing to engage audiences and broaden the daily reach of brands.

Stories are also giving us the chance to engage regularly with the brands and accounts we love, sharing content from fans, influencers or industry celebrities. Despite attempts from Instagram to copy the likes of TikTok in its Stories platform, we are confident this will continue to still serve a strong purpose for fans of this type of community.

TREND #3: TikTok and Reels

Video content reigns supreme in 2020, and short form content is most likely to get even bigger in 2021. The spiritual descendant of Vine, TikTok has made global waves with Generation Z this year.

Instagram have jumped on the bandwagon, releasing their ‘Reels’ format, where we can also make short form videos using either our own, or publicly shared audio. TikTok and Reels have found the perfect blend between the popularity of Snapchat filters and the reach of global meme culture to create platforms that encourage users to create content aimed at a wide audience.

With TikTok on a massive worldwide boom, it is highly likely that many more brands and individuals will jump on board in the new year to widen their skills on this platform and reach a highly engaged audience.

TREND #4: Transparent Advertising

In line with being more authentic, influencers have started to be more open with their sponsored and paid posts. Beauty influencers are at the forefront of emphasizing the importance of ethical advertisement after years of accusations of false or misleading claims in sponsored posts and rumours of companies paying for videos negatively reviewing their competitors.

Social media platforms are also supporting transparent advertising, clearly telling us when a post has been sponsored or promoted through the company. As promotions are becoming more entwined with social media, we can expect to see more demand for ethical promotional practices in 2021.

TREND #5: The rise of Niche Communities

Audience fragmentation has been a long process, and this year we’ve seen niche communities at the forefront of social media. 2020 has seen traditional media outlets and celebrities fall to the wayside as we turn towards the content and content makers that best represent our interests.

We have also used social media to turn towards smaller niche businesses for our online shopping, as we window shop more through Instagram and Facebook. As we grow and expand into the new decade, these niche communities will really shine and give consumers and opportunity to engage with those brands and content creators that they most resonate with.

By Intern Agent Tamara and Agent Emilie

Agent99 is an award-winning PR and communications agency based in Sydney. For more information about our services, contact us at info@agent99pr.com.

Further reading:
Most People Baked Sourdough and Binged Netflix Throughout Coronavirus – I Got Addicted to TikTok!
Social Media – Common Mistakes Organisations Make