The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our world almost overnight — and that includes the digital landscape and online behavior of consumers. So it’s great that Talkwalker and HubSpot have shared the 2021 social media trends tech brands should watch out for in their latest Social Media Trends Report.
What are the 2021 social media trends? How about remixing as the new user-generated content? Also, during the COVID-19 lockdown, more people embraced gaming as a distraction — in fact, a form of community entertainment. These and other changes caused or catalyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic will transform our digital landscape even more in 2021.
COVID-19 as catalyst
“From near zero mentions in November 2019, to over 1.2B to date, the year has been dominated by the virus. COVID-19 was a catalyst, not an outcome. It expedited issues, ideas, and initiatives that were bubbling away, but may not have happened quite so soon without the crisis,” the introduction to the Social Media Trends Report stated.
One of these 2021 social media trends is the rise of remixing as the new UGC.
“User-generated content is nothing new, but the way it has been created, sourced, and shared is contemporary. Remixing is on the rise through apps like TikTok, Koji, and Instagram Reels. Remixing is the art of taking existing formats, templates, or ideas, and recreating them to express a user’s own personality or ideas. Expect 2021 to bring even more opportunities for remixing, with brands engaging with new audiences and creating additional content that stands out from the crowd,” the report said.
We know how challenging 2020 was for content creators, such as influencers who could no longer go outside or travel to take new photos and videos. Remixing, however, was there to save the day.
“When people weren’t able to head outside to create new content, they still had the tools to at least reinvent it. Remixing also makes content creation easier, with fewer technical restrictions. With remixing, anyone can take a trend and recreate it into something new,” the report said.
Connecting through gaming
This year, many people also relied on gaming as a way of coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of my favorite gamers is actress, model, and Miss World 2013 Megan Young, who shared her passion for gaming with Digital Life Asia.
“I also turn to gaming to unwind after a hard day’s work. At the end of the day, one of the most refreshing things you can do is to escape reality by immersing yourself in exploring new worlds and locations. With the current pandemic, I also find gaming a stress reliever that helps me ease the negativity it brings. Online multiplayer games, for example, allow me to interact with my friends whom I miss since we can’t hang out in person at the moment,” Young said.
And it’s not just longtime gamers like her who feel this way. In fact, more non-gamers are discovering the joy of exploring these virtual worlds.
“Over the last 13 months, the number of people who identify as gamers (include references to gaming as part of their social bios) has increased from 31.1M in August 2019 to 41.2M in July 2020 (+32%), with an immediate uptick shown during the lockdown months. The conversations these consumers are having reveal the trend.
“The keywords that come up more frequently are not related to the games people play, but rather who they play with. People, friends, community are all conversation drivers, with platforms for connecting with other gamers (Twitch, YouTube, streaming) also showing up. The tone is also surprisingly positive. People can’t connect face-to-face in the real world during a global pandemic, so instead, they’re building connections in the digital realms. These communities are only going to get stronger in 2021 and beyond,” the report said.
Consumer insights and trends
Remixing and gaming are just two of the 2021 social media trends that the Social Media Trends Report tackles.
Social listening and analytics company Talkwalker and growth platform HubSpot have published the Social Media Trends Report in six languages, and tailored it for markets in Asia, the US, Europe, and across the globe. With this report, they aim to help marketers and top global brands steer their strategy in the right direction for 2021, by leveraging these consumer insights and trends.
“This is the sixth consecutive year Talkwalker has unveiled the insights every marketing professional should know to stay on top next year. And each year, we’ve strengthened our position as a thought leader in consumer insights. Bringing together analysis from millions of social data points, and industry experts, to pinpoint the trends that will matter most. Our partnership with HubSpot helps us create greater impact, sharing these valuable insights with even more marketing and PR professionals,” said Talkwalker CMO Elena Melnikova in a press statement.
This year, Talkwalker included survey data for the first time after gathering exclusive input from their database of 2,000+ global brands and agency clients. Using conversational intelligence, this added perspective helps marketers hear from peers to identify the trends that frontline industry professionals are focused on.
“The events of 2020 have created widespread uncertainty for companies in almost every industry. Knowing the trends most likely to define the coming year is one of the best ways marketing leaders can combat the ongoing unpredictability and set their teams up for success in 2021,” said HubSpot VP of Marketing Meghan Keaney Anderson.
I’m also happy to share that they will hold a Social Media Trends 2021 Expert Series. This virtual conference will dig even deeper into the trends, and will be headlined by experts and global brands.
Are you ready for 2021?