Written by: Malebogo Modiakgotla
9 March 2021
The year 2020 brought much uncertainty to everyone globally. The harsh reality of the COVID-19 pandemic changed what many thought would be a “pleasant life journey” to an unexpected “new normal”. While physical interaction came to a halt, the world has now seen the rise of online interaction now more than ever. But how does the social media landscape look in 2021 in comparison to previous years before the pandemic?
A look into the various social media platforms will give us a better understanding of what we can expect in 2021.
Despite the many challenges Facebook has faced, they have seemed to have bounced back from them, with much adversity against ‘The Social Network’. A few changes to this powerful social media platform still puts forth the question, will Facebook regain its former glory during these trying times?
The newly revamped social platform has brought about interesting features such as the ‘The Market’ where people and companies alike can now sell their products directly to potential customers without interference of a middle man. The feature is not what we would call innovative as the rise of ecommerce has escalated over the past few years. The only difference is that on the Facebook platform, buyers and sellers have a more personal interaction with the transaction been made.
Another feature that became more captivating is the ‘stories’ where people can post a sequence of images or videos which last for only 24 hours. Facebook Ads, post boost and fan pages has also given the app a lead above the rest.
The staggering popularity of Instagram is one I personally found intriguing. As an app owned by Facebook Inc., which was once focused on only photography has expanded to having additional features such as IGTV, Insta Stories, Reels and Instagram Shopping. The question everyone wants to know in 2021 is whether this social media platform will bring about an innovative edge to keep its users entertained?
The growing popularity of influencer marketing that has grown the Instagram user base, in addition to in-app messaging (voice and video) which has made the app so much more than just a photography social media platform.
Twitter hasn’t really changed much since its inception although there have been a few changes, but nothing innovative has changed the social media app. One feature, ‘Fleets’, a Twitter version of Stories has gained quite some popularity and we can expect to see some growth over the year as it is now available to all the app’s users. As the leaders of the hashtag and trending topics, Twitter might just surprise us in the next few months.
Tik Tok has seen major growth in two years going from 500,000 users to over a billion users to date. This short-form video app will surely bring more to the table as a competing social media app in 2021.
Tik Tok will seemingly begin to incorporate ecommerce and in-streaming purchasing as this feature on social media platforms has become very important. To remain relevant as a social platform, Tik Tok will have to quickly implement the ecommerce tool to maximize its revenue.
One step ahead of rest, although not a new idea we’ve seen, Tik Tok has made partnerships with several music entertainment artists on exclusive digital concerts, as well as signed partnership deals with record labels. With such music industry links, the platform will continue to grow stronger and begin a trend amongst other social media platforms to secure such partnerships to build better promotion. We can only wait and see what Tik Tok will surprise us with as the year proceeds.
And finally, we have LinkedIn, the ‘great’ of all social spaces. Although this social does not have the entertainment and excitement like other platforms but LinkedIn has been a great platform for building brands and creating lasting business connections.
Virtual events have become a huge focus for LinkedIn in 2021 and we can expect to see this feature grow as the years continue. For businesses and career individuals alike, the feature has brought about a change to doing business due to the massive impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the world as a whole.
Videos have also become more popular on LinkedIn recently, allowing a lot of engagement with its users. The use of hashtags has also created targeted audiences providing data insights for companies to keep track of how their brand growth is going.
With much changes happening everywhere around the world, LinkedIn is one platform that will definitely remain relevant and stand the test of time.
In conclusion, the social media landscape has shifted to being more focused on ecommerce and trying to retain engagement amongst businesses and individuals. We may never know what the future may hold, but one thing we know for sure is that a world without social media is one that we could never imagine living in.
About the author
Malebogo Modiakgotla is a qualified Marketing and Advertising Strategist that resides in Johannesburg, South Africa, with more than four years of professional experience in the marketing field. Working with the International Institute of Digital Marketing™️, she has taken a keen interest in delving into the digital marketing space to broaden her and further develop her professional skills.