Top ten social media trends for sartups in 2021

If we learned anything from 2020, it's that the world is changing faster than expected and that new trends are shaping our realities. For businesses, this means increased pressure to adapt and remain relevant to their customers.

Interesting stats that are shaping the trends for 2021

Since 2010 the number of the active social media users has grown from 970 million to 3.81 billion in 2020. 3.81 billion people, almost a half of the world's population are on social media. Surely, a homogenous segment out of this huge number of people is your targeted audience.


Forced by the lockdown and isolation policies, in 2020, people spent more time online than ever before. 47% more people are spending longer time using social media than before COVID-19.

This reality is already shaping the trend for 2021 as well.

What’s next in social media? Top 10 trends to watch for in 2021

1.Memetic media will continue to boom

In 2020 users were engaging with memes as a form of escapism. From August 2019 to July 2020, mentions of memes have increased by 26% (Talkwater). Although they are most popular among younger audiences, brands like Pryvate, a secure communications app, show that memes can be very successful among all age groups, when used in the right manner.

Note for startups: memes work better on social media than branded content, because people don’t like to have products or services being pushed on them, but they want to be entertained.

Plus, memes are usually memorable, and they tend to create brand associations, which is why memetic content will continue to boom in 2021.

2.Behind the Scenes bring back the human touch

In the context of COVID-19 work from home and partial or full lockdown, many of us are missing the human touch, connecting with real people in their natural environments. Having the chance to get to know someone’s story, behind their corporate title, is something that social media users showed increased interest for, starting 2020 and should continue with, in 2021.

3.User Generated Content takes the floor

Users are creating and uploading pics and videos on TikTok, Instagram or Snapchat on a daily basis. One particularly great example of how user generated content works for brands is the case of Ocean Spray drink, for which a user recorded himself enjoying the drink  while skating and listening to Fleetwood Mac “Dream”. The video went viral, the song (popular in the seventies) came back in the charts, top 25, and the person taking the video created a trend, as many other users were replicating him.

And UGC is here to stay in 2021, as more and more users are becoming broadcasters, which is something that startups should capitalise on this year.

4.The old-school marketing will be adapted for a new market

Old-school marketing, like emailer marketing or podcasts will continue to be popular, as brands will look for simpler ways to engage with their audiences in uncertain times.

5.Social media gaming

The number of people who identify as gamers has increased considerably since the beginning of the pandemic. This shows that people have turned to gaming as a means of distraction.

Gaming creates habits, and also gaming communities. Engaging with gaming-like posts will create a brand community with engaged followers, as long as the content will continue to be interesting.

6.Brands are pushed more towards the paid social media

Many companies on social media platforms are turning to advertising. As Facebook (and implicitly Instagram) are gradually removing some features (i.e. tagging companies and employees on corporate accounts, creating polls, etc.), and changing algorithms to disfavor business accounts, they are pushing companies to use paid social media like ads campaigns or post boosting.

But remember, not all social media ad campaigns are meant to be expensive in order to be successful!

7.Socially conscious consumers lead the social media content in 2021

Brands are tapping into the socially-conscious audience (i.e.: Nike - Black Lives Matter campaign gained huge engagements and hashtag mentions across the world). The reason for success when correctly applying this strategy is authenticity.

8.The 4Cs of COVID-19

COVID-19 is changing the way people live, and this should be reflected in the way brands communicate. The 4Cs of COVID are:

  1. Create routine
  2. Continue connections
  3. Care for yourself and loved ones
  4. Consider change

Incorporating messages that address these 4Cs into the brands’ social media content in 2021 will help brands build stronger relationships with their followers, who are already interested in these topics.

9. How-to videos to educate and engage audiences

The importance of video content for companies’ marketing strategies has been constantly increasing from 78% in 2015 to 92% in 2020. Whether the video shows how to install an app, how to perform an action within an app, or how to set-up a security camera, this format will attract users’ attention on social media in 2021.

10. Informative content

It’s not a novelty anymore that nowadays people are using social media as a source of information. In fact, a recent survey shows that 39% of the UK respondents are using social media as their source of news. This is good news for companies, who can act like a reliable news source for their followers.

Sharing industry headlines, debating news flash or reports that relate to their activity keep brands relevant on social media, allowing them to show their expertise by interpreting industry news.


Learn more about social media trends in 2021

This top 10 social media trends list helps you understand what you need to do to adjust and stay relevant with your social media content in 2021.

It also provides some insights into “best practices” that other companies have used to improve their social media performances, to understand why you need to incorporate these trends into your marketing strategy as well.

If you want to know how you can apply these trends to your business,  email Elena today.