It’s never too early to start planning, especially since 2020 has been a year many are glad to leave behind.
As many businesses have struggled to stay afloat amid shutdowns due to COVID-19, business owners are looking for tools and a more equipped social media marketing plan that can help make 2021 a year to remember.
Social media marketing plays an important role in your overall content marketing strategy. Today, many consumers spend time every day on social media. So, it is a great way to connect with prospects and share relevant content.
Exciting developments in the world of social media are happening, many of which are designed to help your business grow. Here’s a taste of what social media marketing is bringing to the table in 2021 and our prediction with how it may impact your marketing plan.
Facebook And Instagram
Facebook will lead the way in 2021, offering several new expansions and tools to help maximize the time of business owners.
Facebook Business Suite Expansion
This year, Facebook launched an all-in-one business tool for Facebook and Instagram that has the goal of reaching potential customers a little easier.
Called “Facebook Business Suite,” the tool allows small businesses to manage both their Facebook and Instagram pages using a single platform. Users can also receive messages, notifications and alerts all in the same place, and an analytics tab provides a full overview.
The analytics portion of this business tool can be especially helpful in examining the performance of your pages, which is often based on the quality of your content, whether the channel is right for your customer base and any engagement opportunities you offer.
While the business suite focused only on small businesses in 2020, it is seen as a long-term investment to make this available for businesses of all sizes that use Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Look for the business suite to be available to businesses of all sizes in 2021.
What else can you expect from Facebook in 2021? Look for a focus on eCommerce into the new year. Earlier in 2020, the social networks launched Shops on Facebook and Instagram, which allows users to set up a single online store for customers to access on both Facebook and Instagram. With the ability to create their own digital storefronts, businesses can take advantage of streamlined payment tools, choose which products they want to feature or connect the Shops page with the eCommerce provider they already use.
Look for the continual roll-out of this eCommerce site and updates to features like Facebook Pay and live-stream promotions.
Finally, as businesses continue to evolve to keep up with changes in today’s digital environment, Facebook recently announced that it will acquire Kustomer. Kustomer is a top-rated customer relation management (CRM) tool that allows businesses to bring customer conversations from multiple channels together. Users will see these conversations in a single-screen view.
Why is this helpful? A CRM platform such as Kustomer may help save business owners and salespeople time by automating repetitive tasks and maximizing the quality of interactions they have with their customers.
Facebook isn’t the only social media empire that is rolling out products that are predicted to make waves in the small business community. Snapchat is expected to align with the shift in focus to eCommerce as well.
Over the past couple of years, Snapchat has worked with Amazon to roll out a new way for Snapchat users to search for products on Amazon ... using the Snapchat camera. Now, creators are looking for additional opportunities to allow businesses to sell their products in-stream, or as in-feed shopping.
Earlier this year, Snapchat began expanding its advertising product called Dynamic Ads, which allows advertisers to create ads in real time. They do so by using extensive product catalogs they have on hand. Expect this expansion to continue, along with other tools to maximize advertisers’ time and money.
As more events have gone virtual in 2020 and into 2021, LinkedIn is playing an important role in promoting its live-stream abilities.
Through its Events tools, LinkedIn offers companies that host professional events to increase their capacity and broadcast live. The social media company is expected to continue to provide more video tools and options.
And, even as more events are eventually expected to return to in-person, don’t discount the fact that many companies have seen the financial benefits of hosting some of their professional events online. It’s only logical that LinkedIn will capitalize on this and continue catering to these companies.
What This Means For Your Marketing Plan
When developing a marketing plan that adds value to your business, one of the most important steps you will take is to define your target market.
A target market is a breakdown of the buyers who are most likely interested in your product or service. In other words, what are their needs and how does your product or service meet those needs?
One effective tool in determining this is developing buyer personas for your ideal customers. A buyer persona is a semi-fictitious representation of your ideal customer. By creating a buyer persona, you can develop specific, targeted content to attract these types of customers.
Knowing which social media channels your buyer personas use is important. It’s also critical to have a clear understanding of which tools (videos, ads, high-ranking articles, etc.) on those social media channels are most effective in reaching your buyer personas so that you can make adjustments to your marketing plan as needed.
Staying on top of key social media changes like the ones above is critical so that your marketing plan is effective in promoting your brand, educating your customer base and ultimately growing your business.
Your Key Takeaway
It’s easy to get excited about new marketing tools coming out. It’s also easy to jump in and start using them in the hope that “this could be the way my business takes off this year”.
But it is important to remember that social media companies are businesses. And like all businesses, their goal is to make money.
So, before you start spending money on the “next best thing”, stop and think about whether the tools you are about to use are the right ones for your business and the strategy you have laid out for the next year.
If you are not sure about what to do, consult a marketing agency. You can learn more in our article, Why Should I Hire A Marketing Agency For My Small Business?
Bill is the CEO and Founder of InTouch Marketing. Bill drives the vision and direction of InTouch except when England's playing in a soccer tournament, because everything stops!