72% of social media users agreed that their usage has increased during the pandemic.


The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many parts of our lives for good, however, one massively affected aspect is how social media has changed for both the regular user and businesses. Harnessing the power of statistics I believe these five trends will shape socials in 2021.

1. The rise of alternative platforms

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been the key platforms for the majority of social media users and LinkedIn being ever-present in the strategies for companies and business-savvy people.

However, consumers are becoming noticeably fatigued and less engaged on these mature social channels, with Gen Z in particular developing an appetite for experimenting with emerging platforms, such as Clubhouse.

Facebook has seen the biggest drop in usership, especially amongst Gen Z. Over the last 2 years, Facebook has waved goodbye to over 15 million users.

A platform that is well and truly battling its way into the race of social media giants is TikTok. The app was launched in 2016, but enjoyed the majority of its success in 2020 as a huge number of new users flocked to the platform. TikTok now has over 800 million monthly active users worldwide, the bulk of which are Indian (119.3 million). The UK currently has 3.7 million users, which goes to show that the growth potential here in Britain is huge.

While TikTok is probably not the first port of call, it will continue to gain mainstream adoption this year, especially those with a young target audience. 32.7 % of TikTok users are aged 10-19, making it an exciting tool for those looking to build a relationship with the next generation of spenders.

Information source: Comscore


2. Social media is the new storefront 

eCommerce boomed during the pandemic, and now it’s the turn of social commerce.

We saw the introduction of Instagram Shopping in 2020, and I expect to see other social channels follow suit in 2021.

Social commerce has revolutionised the online retail industry revealing new avenues for businesses to connect with. It is fair to argue that social commerce is becoming a more mainstream retail channel, as according to Avionos“40% of consumers have made a purchase via Facebook, 13% via Instagram and 12% via Pinterest.

With the variability of shoppable posts to platform storefronts, social networks are constantly working towards becoming revenue-generating retail platforms. Businesses should be wise to these changes and use them in 2021.


3. Video content will continue to dominate 

Video has been the most engaging form of content for some years now, with Facebook & Instagram making no secret that they reward users with greater reach for publishing long-form video content in 2020 – this will continue for the year ahead.

When you crunch the numbers, it’s simply a no-brainer: with TikTok’s rapid growth and with YouTube generating more than 1 billion views per day on mobile devices alone, excluding video content from your business’s social strategy is not an option.


4. Ephemeral content will keep gaining popularity

Ephemeral content is available for a limited duration before it disappears, never to be seen again. This is perhaps why it started gaining popularity; during a time when people’s privacy is paramount. Ephemeral content is what we see across Snapchat, Instagram & LinkedIn Stories, for example.

Users’ habits have transformed unrecognisably in the last 5 years; attention spans are much shorter, people have less time and there is more content being published than ever before. So serving compelling, ‘snackable’ content that is accessible on the go is a must.

The explosion of content on Stories is understandable in my opinion – it’s short, engaging and wildly addictive. The increased usage of Stories by users has been reciprocated in brands’ marketing activity, on average brands post 2.3 Instagram stories per week and that is set to rise again in 2021.

According to Hootsuite’s marketer’s survey report, 64% of marketers have either already incorporated Instagram Stories into their digital strategy, or plan to do so this year.


5. The meme sensation that’s sweeping the nation

It’s worth noting the rise in memetic media. In the UK, 55% of social media users are sharing memes with one and other every week. Lockdown and Coronavirus have played their parts in stimulating the rise in meme content – with the notion of ‘remaining positive’ a strong theme from social media users.

The use of social has changed unrecognisably. I would urge you to view social as a tool for building and nurturing more meaningful relationships between brand and consumer, and look to balance purpose with profit when thinking about your content strategy for 2021.