21 Social Media Trends for 2021

Blended Sense has a finger on the pulse of social media trends for 2021 because of our alignment with hundreds of content professionals from around the globe. If you want to be sure that the content we create for you gets maximum reach, take a look at these seismic shifts in how people will engage and share content in the coming year.

1. Remix Your Content

Repurposing the content we make for you at Blended Sense is a good social media posting strategy because you get more bang for your buck. If you can get additional mileage out of long-form video or blog posts, why not take advantage? 

Your audience isn’t waiting with baited breath on every platform to see what you’re going to post next. If you’re only sharing content you’ve gotten from Blended Sense or created yourself on one platform, you’re missing out on the chance to speak to another audience that might only be faithful to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram for example.

Use a mix of content - written word, video, and pics to increase your reach, and repurpose content to create a healthy inclination for re-sharing and engagement. 

You should be posting on social media several times a day, not once or twice a week, so try doing this:

  • Make micro-videos from cornerstone videos to retarget people on social and direct them to your own website.
  • Did you participate in a great podcast recently? Create an audiogram with a key point to redirect traffic to the full podcast.
  • Got a blog post filled with great info or product education? Use bits of it on social. 

Here are 5 types of content we’ve created at Blended Sense that can be shared across multiple platforms:

  • Audiogram 
  • Blog post - You’re looking at one!
  • Video
  • Social media photos (stop motion)
  • Social ads

2. Use Memetic Messaging Correctly

Memes are a humorous way to capture shared knowledge. We used to look at political cartoons and the “funnies” in our papers, but as the Internet has taken over other forms of media, memes are how we “relate” to one another. They can be edgy, funny, or cute, but if used correctly they can help your brand instead of harm it.

Memes are awesome because they:

  • Make use of shared knowledge.
  • Humanize your brand and make you more approachable.
  • Encapsulate more complex concepts in a few words of pictures.
  • Capture your brand identity and ethos.
  • Can lead to higher engagement
  • Make you more memorable.

How great are memes when they’re done right? If they get celebrities like Jimmy Fallon and Shakira to chime in, and elicit 35 million views, you’ve got memes. 

That’s what happened when TikTok shared Apodaca’s meme on Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” video as he skateboards freely into his day. Even Stevie Nicks joined in, bringing some nostalgia into the mix.

3. Use Short-Form Video. It’s a thing.

Short-form video apps are going wild. TikTok is at the beginning of its rapid growth cycle, while Facebook is in decline, so making short form video means you will get in front of a vastly growing audience in 2021 when you post to the right platforms. 

Tiktok went from 500 million users in December of 2019 to more than a billion users today, even while dealing with bans, restrictions, accusations of censorship, and undergoing a national security investigation.

If you’re not making short-form video, then you’re missing the mark in 2021.

4. Address the Pandemic, But Offer Solutions

Small businesses have been hit hard by recent events, but we can’t lick our wounds without providing solutions.

Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees account for 48% of American jobs and 43.5% of GDP, but they’re hurting after everything that’s gone down this year.

It’s good to relate to everyone who has been impacted in 2020, but we must move forward. 

Harvard Business Review does a good job of this.

In a simple blog post, they offer some good advice:

1) Don’t rush decisions, but do make plans.

2) If the Paycheck Protection Program comes back, enroll. Congress is expected to pass a new economic-relief package this year.

3) Understand how your customers’ needs have changed.

4) Do some realistic accounting.

5) Keep your best employees loyal.

People are looking for ways to cope on social, so be their beacon of hope by offering concrete solutions.

5. Lean into Nostalgia

Gen Z is obsessed with Y2K fashion, but it’s not just fashions that cycles back around again. We’re also about to observe the greatest wealth transfer in history between Baby Boomers and Millennials, with Millennials to realize around $68 trillion in transferred wealth. 

You think that might affect market spending?

As Digiday explains, a hankering for days gone by is emerging as a marketing trend because millennials are suffering from “early onset” nostalgia. This trend is spilling into entertainment, fashion, food, and social media. 

Need some examples?

  • Food-giant KFC has reintroduced their antebellum mascot, Colonel Sanders.
  • McDonald’s brought back the Hamburglar as a hipster dad.
  • Coke is bringing back Surge, and Pepsi is bringing Crystal back.
  • Rapper Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliot recently performed alongside Katy Perry at the Super Bowl.
  • Vinyl record sales are up.
  • The Timehop app trades nostalgia by mining users’ social media profiles to remind them what they were doing two, three, five years ago. 
  • Terms like “Throwback Thursday” or #TBT and “Flashback Friday” are now commonly used memes on social.

6. Connect with Real Conversations (No More One-Way Content)

In a blog post we wrote at Blended Sense titled “Social Interaction Before Business Transaction,” we talk about the importance of authentic conversation in your social media endeavors. 

Here’s a quick run down on ways you actually need to converse with your audience:

  • Conversations stand as social proof. Social proof is the phenomenon whereby people make assumptions about the quality of your product or services based on what other people say about you or to you. If others do business with you, it is assumed that this is a “correct” behavior. Studies show that 92% of people look at product reviews (including convos on social media that are inadvertently testimonials) prior to making a purchase. 
  • Even though engagement is dropping on many sites like Facebook, social media marketing still provides as much as a 100% higher lead-to-close rate compared with traditional outbound marketing efforts. If you want higher engagement you need to not just post, but talk about what you’re posting, as well as post on other people’s social posts. Think of it like locker room talk or a gathering with your best girlfriends to rap about life. The more real and engaged you can be, the more engagement you’ll experience. 
  • Social “listening” is just as important as social “talking.” Your posts should start a conversation, but you also need to be a great listener. People want to be heard and accepted for their thoughts and opinions. Just acknowledging their posts with commentary let’s them know you’re listening. 

The ROI of posting on social media? Your business will still be around in 5 years.” - Erik Qualman, Socialnomics

7. Gamify

Get your fun on. You can use games in social media to follow the surge in gaming interest. As the Baynet explains, “Gaming offers an outlet for people to blow off some steam, live in a simulation, and meet up with their friends for new adventures, which is what makes it all the more popular during these dark and terrible times of a pandemic.”


8. Embrace Podcasting

Gary V has millions of listeners for his podcast. “Talk” radio is also en vogue again, with everyone racing to keep up with the popularity of Clubhouse.  You can talk for ten minutes or 3 hours, and people interested in a full spectrum dive into a very specific topic can participate. 

Live streamed podcasts are also more inclusive and invite a dialogue.

Try these platforms to host a podcast and don’t forget to share on social:

9. Be Part of Creating a New Normal

Things have changed, and probably irreversibly. 

Business Insider reveals, “a CEO recently stated that his team had a task force working the past three years to create a digital strategy; once this crisis took hold, they had it launched in just 10 days.” Innovation happens when there is an urgent need for it. 

While the “new normal” isn’t all unicorns and rainbows there are huge benefits coming out of a rough year. 

Necessity is the mother of invention, so as we create new opportunities, social is a great way to share what you’re doing to create a new way of living. 

Get back to your roots. What was your mission when you started your company? Authentically communicate this on social, and people will pay attention. 

10. Mindfully Present Alternative Viewpoints

The social giants are cracking down on “fake news” and alternative information sources.

People are looking for new information sources more than ever. 

Observe the disconnect here.

The Columbia Journalism Review details the “Fall, Rise, and Fall” of traditional media sources. What’s more, most people already know that only six conglomerates control media in the U.S.: CBS Corporation, Comcast, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox (formerly News Corporation), Viacom, and The Walt Disney Company.

Just 15 billionaires own most of our media. 

Social media conglomerates aren’t much different.

Three companies account for most of social media activity every month:

  1. Facebook who owns WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram
  2. Google who owns YouTube
  3. Tencent who owns QQ, WeChat, and QZone

Facebook adds 1.196 billion users every year, even though they’ve been in the U.S. government’s crosshairs lately.

Techcrunch reports that Facebook had to settle a claim with the FTC this year for a whopping $5 billion and a promise of new privacy guarantees

Mark Zuckerberg may be a little nervous about TikTok since it's growing so fast, but he still dominates social media market share. 

But make no mistake, social media platforms aren’t going anywhere, even if they do control the narrative. 

You’ll have to post according to their terms if you don’t want to be left behind.

11. Speak to a More Socially Conscious Audience

The same old social fodder won’t cut it anymore. People want to be socially conscious and socially responsible. Upcoming generations are done with looking the other way.

As one PR company explains, 

“Politics, equality, education, mental health, finance, changing food trends, and more are proliferant conversations on social media. These topics are critical to these generations, and social media is their way to bring them to attention. The COVID-19 health crisis also impacted Gen Z badly—50% have either lost a job, or had someone in their household lose a job because of the pandemic. In the coming years, they will have more to fight for, and will potentially become more vocal about the issues that matter more to them.”

Talk about these topics, especially when they’re controversial. 

12. Facebook and Instagram are Fully Adopting eCommerce

Amazon leads the way and online shopping is taking the world by storm.

Look at Shops on Facebook and Instagram. The big focus here is in markets like India and Indonesia. Facebook is seeing rapid user growth and a digital shift regarding commerce is only beginning.

These developing markets are a proving ground for what will eventually be the new buying norm. With eCommerce slated to reach 22 percent of global retail sales by 2023, the norm is coming sooner than you think.

So, with business behemoths like Gary V screaming from the rooftops about the wealth of opportunities ahead, finding ways to promote your product with content on every available platform is a good idea.

At Blended Sense, we create assets for eCommerce that are highly engaging, and postable for this growing market.

13. Lean into Interconnectivity

There’s a fine line between innovation and stealing.

But, many major players have no idea where that line is and trample it often.

If you’ve noticed Facebook ripping off Instagram stories, or LinkedIn ripping off Instagram stories, or Instagram ripping off Snapchat to create stories, that’s good, because it means you don’t live under a rock.  It also means you have some experience with interconnectivity.

Darwin is known for his theories on survival of the fittest, but he also puts forth sound  philosophy on cooperation

When you create opportunities for businesses that are cooperative in nature, you build community. People are more likely to listen to what you have to say, and post about your business if you do the same for them. 

Verticalize your content efforts rather than constantly trying to master new platforms, and stay purely in the competitive race.  At some point your favorite platform will adopt, buy, or create an API integrating the next hottest thing. 

At Blended Sense we make it a point to guide you to where your audience is most likely to be. And though you should plan to be active on the Big 3, you need to drill down one as your key launching point for syndication.

14. Think Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is on the rise because people seek new experiences naturally. They also love a way to “escape” from years like we all just experienced. Augmented reality combines the user's environment with digital experiences in real time and everyone from the gaming industry to major retailers are scrambling to implement it. 

Even if you don’t have the time, expertise, or resources to gamify your entire customer journey, you can start thinking of small ways to creatively incorporate content into your customers’ day. This can be as simple as layering an AR experience across several mediums. 

Try sending an email with a personalized video message to accompany the gift box you send your client after closing a major deal. Just make sure they arrive at the same time!

The key lesson when building on the popularity of augmented reality is this: as tech becomes more integrated into your life, lean into ways to merge your audiences’ digital and physical experience. 

15. Adhere to Shifting Algorithms

Algorithms can be a boon and they are not as cryptic as they’re often portrayed. For those who crack the algorithmic code for content, congratulations. 

Few do. 

Especially since Google is notorious for changing their “algos” every few months or so.  Without some knowledge about algorithms though, it can feel like someone is hiding your best content efforts under a weighted blanket.

Algorithms are tricky because every social site and search engine wants to show the most useful information to their users. This can be helpful when algorithms sort our feeds by relevance. In an extensive forest of information on the internet, let’s thank our lucky stars we don’t have to weed through all of it..

But. . . .

Algorithms aren’t  static. It’s not as though some guy just sat there and said to himself, “Hey, this is how the internet will work now!” then kicked his feet up and collected a paycheck for the next 100 years. 

I don’t know about you, but I can barely decide what I want for lunch from day to day, or even what t-shirt to wear. Imagine 4.66 billion internet users changing their minds about the type of content they want every 4 seconds. 

Add to that mix complicated and increasingly stringent regulations which are variable by nation and locality, and you have a rather unruly stew.

So to stay spry, the Googles, Facebooks, and Twitters use a combination of people power, machine learning, and AI to continuously update their highly proprietary recipes for sifting through and distributing the useful tidbits of the world wide web to try to appeal to your personal interests. 

To be successful, think of algorithms as a living breathing organism that moves in the moment. And please, be wary of anyone who says they have them mastered. Best practices exist, but anyone who claims to be an algorithm wizard should also come to the table with provable KPIs.

So, now that you’ve got some algorithmic insight,  how do you use this to your benefit? 

Here are some tips:

  • Be authentic. Speak directly to your audience and avoid being “salesy”. Someone out there is looking for your stuff. Trust that the algorithm will find them.
  • Be consistent. The algorithms’ primary directive is to keep people on their platform for as long as possible. Thus, they almost invariably favor your loyalty and repetition above all. Posting content consistently about the same topic or product will reap rewards. 
  • Be current. Nobody likes a tone deaf post. So, take care not to schedule posts too far in advance because, increasingly, businesses are expected to comment on current social developments. If you’re a voice of the people, the algorithm will prioritize that. Pro tip: You can update old content with a smattering of new content to make it appear “currently dated” to bots, too.

16. Twitter Won’t Change

At least not any time soon.

With minor exceptions like 'Fleets' is now available to all users. Audio Spaces, a new audio meet-up feature, Twitter is truly becoming the ole faithful of the Social Media triumvirate. 

Twitter's predictable virality lends itself best to freelancers, consultants, and influencers so if you’re looking to further your personal brand, lean on the community focused dynamics. It is a great place to get the word out and find your tribe.

According to an undergrad thesis from Dartmouth,  “.... our general predictive model, encompassing a range of feature categories, achieves a prediction accuracy of 68% for influencer virality.”

17. Use Audiograms to Make Sound New Again

If scent is the strongest sense tied to memory, sound is the strongest sense tied to trust. 

An audiogram is a short video, often with a static picture of the speaker and small animations depicting the waveforms of their voice. Audiograms lend a visual element to your auditory experience and are a strong way to build consumer trust.

From testimonials by current customers to messages from leadership, the social proof that comes from adding these to your content repertoire is distinct. 

The buy-in for a viewer is low because they don’t have to be visually engaged which leads to higher conversion from an initial social post to a website hit. 

18. Embrace Status Updates

We know, it’s kind of annoying to see people posting every single aspect of their life via status updates (I’m taking a shower!) but it’s time to embrace them.

Stream of consciousness posting is less common nowadays, but for businesses it can be vital. Too many of us are frozen trying to think of the right thing to post. The best thing to post is SOMETHING. 

This type of post is what we call “day in the life” material, and it should make up, at minimum, a third of what you’re putting out. Increasingly consumers want to get to know you before engaging fully with your brand. Giving them a window into your operations, sense of humor, and even your struggles can be a wonderfully powerful tool for increasing engagement.

Also, with the increasing reliance on social media as a means of communication, status updates like “on vacation” or “eating lunch in town” let people know when you’re available, and when you need a time out.

19. Beat the Bots

If 80% of your tweets are retweets, you'll be labeled as a bot profile. The easiest thing to keep up content consistency is to repost. While it’s a crucial part of social strategy, reposting cannot comprise the totality of activity. The best ratio for reposting your digital assets is 1:1

For every repost also add something original. It can be a small update on your new SaaS feature or your next opus on the skyrocketing Tesla stock price. Just remember, you must rely on automation as much as custom content creation to beat the bots. 

Our approach at Blended Sense is to have a robust kit of “ready to post” assets at least one month in advance. That way you’re always keeping that 1:1 ratio without missing a beat. 

If you’d like to learn more about keeping your feed fresh, drop us a line. 

20. Reels

Reels are prevalent both on Twitter and Instagram - they compete with TikTok and capitalize on people’s obsession with video, music, and creativity.

Trial and error is the way to master this megahorn.

Reels are one of the most user-friendly features, and aren’t nearly as intimidating as going live.

This is where we recommend getting silly with it. Try learning a dance with your kids wearing your branded t-shirts. 

The wackier it gets, the more likely you are to go viral. So, keep it professional, but not too buttoned up!

21. Watch out for SnapChat

Snapchat is still on the bleeding edge of innovation. Its Snap Originals programming is short, vertically-aligned, TV-style shows which appeal to younger viewers and their evolving consumption habits. 

Despite the epic fail of Quibi, their massive raise is proof that investors are seeking something to fill this void. When you balance companies and parents looking for smarter ways to control screen time against ever narrowing attention-spans, there is a sweet spot still to come.
Use this information to stay a few steps ahead. Plenty of us are already looking past Gen Z and toward Generation Alpha for new strategies because, in 2021, if you want to yeet your lit content, planning for tomorrow is already too late.

Get your free digital diagnostic