5 Big Social Media Marketing Lessons From 2021
Yes we are only a few months into 2022, but already 2021 seems like a blurred, distant memory. Looking back on 2021, we can probably all agree on one thing: at least it wasn’t 2020.
We didn’t quite get the smooth back-to-normal pandemic recovery we were hoping for. But as we collectively brace for the next normal, it’s a smart time to review the social media marketing lessons learned from this past year.
It’s clear that social media marketing now has an enormous impact on every aspect of the modern sales process, from top-of-funnel discovery and awareness to long-lasting brand loyalty. With that in mind, let’s take a look at five big, standout marketing lessons brands can learn from social media in 2021.
Not on TikTok yet? Sorry, but it’s time.
If you’ve been resisting TikTok for your brand, perhaps out of the misguided belief that its short-form video content only appeals to young demographics, we may be the bearer of unfortunate news: it’s time to get on this platform.
TikTok’s explosive growth has taken it far beyond a place where Gen Z teens lip-sync and dance. Content verticals of all kinds have flourished on TikTok, with specialty niches that are ripe for incredibly targeted marketing opportunities.
With a billion active monthly users, TikTok offers a strong sense of community, with many popular niche areas of focus. For example, FinTok is where people share personal finance questions and expertise, and BookTok is a community for book lovers to share recommendations and celebrate new releases.
If you’re not yet convinced about TikTok, consider the countless viral moments it has sparked on social media over the last year alone. The platform’s strong consumer influence has led to empty shelves as the demand for leggings, skorts, feta cheese, and more, surge in demand.
Be prepared to switch gears and fast.
There’s obviously and unfortunately no accurate way to predict a viral brand moment, but you can ready your brand by staying nimble. If your processes and budgets are quickly adaptable, you’ll be better set up for success when your brand gets a lot of focused social media attention.
Two brands were able to extend their viral status by putting more marketing dollars into their influencer partnerships:
a) Classic cult favorite: Gap Clothing Brand, re-released a vintage brown hoodie design after the sweatshirt went viral on TikTok.
Reason? The hoodie’s social media popularity ultimately caused it to go as high as $300 on resale sites, like Depop and Grailed, and #gaphoodie garnered more than 5.8 million views on TikTok.
b) Specialty brand partnership: After many brand features in her videos, Dunkin’ launched a successful 2020 partnership with TikTok influencer Charli D’Amelio that centered around a specialty drink.
D’Amelio, of course, is one of TikTok’s most famous personalities, and she teamed up with Dunkin’ to get her go-to coffee order on its menu for a limited time. The drink is called “The Charli,” a cold brew with whole milk and three pumps of caramel swirl.
Officials at Dunkin’ have given some insight into just how powerful its partnership with 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio has been for the coffee chain.
The chain sold hundreds of thousands of her signature drink, “The Charli,” within the first five days of launching. It also set a record for daily users on the Dunkin’ app on the first day of the launch after seeing a 57% increase in app downloads.
Dunkin’ even saw a 20% sales boost for all cold brews that day as well as a 45% surge the following day.
This collaboration, along with musician Travis Scott’s partnership with McDonald’s, has many interested to see if and how more chains will use big names as marketing tools in the future.
Take a stand, brands!
More than ever, consumers, particularly younger demographics, are looking to support brands that reflect their values. Not only are you likely facing pressure to decide what your brand should take a public stand on and when, but also increasing consumer demand for authenticity means that you need credibility behind your brand’s statements.
Look for ways to walk your talk and speak up on issues that are important to you and your target audience.
Diversity and inclusion has quickly become a trending stand for many brands. Talking about diversity without showing any synergy between your marketing and actual commitments is a huge red flag for consumers.
Go multi-channel for maximum impact.
Focusing on just one platform drastically reduces the opportunities for connecting and reaching your target audience. Different social media platforms allow brands to access varied audiences with a broad range of content that engages in a variety of ways.
Successful content can also be cross-promoted from one social platform to another. For example, if a TikTok post is gaining momentum, try sharing it via Instagram Stories or create a similar themed Reel. You can break down your long-form content from a platform like LinkedIn and repurpose for a Facebook post, which can then be broken into soundbites for Twitter – or should we say “tweetables”.
Likewise if you are creating video content for Youtube, there may be a likely opportunity to create an audio blog from the exact same content.
Another reason not to put all your social media eggs in one basket. Case in Point: Facebook’s hours-long outage recently that sent users to other platforms in droves.
Be flexible with your brand.
Flexibility and adaptability are perhaps the most important traits for a brand to have right now to keep up with ever-shifting consumer needs and behaviors. However, 2021’s most viral brand moments show us that flexibility should be extended to the brand itself.
Chipotle’s Lid Flip Challenge is a great example of encouraging customers to have fun with a brand and share their creativity. Or take a look at E.L.F.’s branded #eyeslipsface hashtag on TikTok, which has over 8.2 billion views.
If your brand isn’t ready to launch its challenge or campaign, you might want to encourage customers to participate in an existing social media activity on your brand’s behalf.
Takeaways for 2022
A) 2021 has taught us that brands need to be ready to take advantage of new opportunities when they present themselves. With the social media age in full swing, you owe it to yourself to take full advantage of it. From building interpersonal relationships with customers to showing off your brand’s personality, there are many ways that social media marketing helps grow your customer base, expand your business, and helps to deepen your impact with those who matter most.
B) How often do you find yourself overthinking your next social media marketing campaign to the point that you find yourself underwhelmed by the result? Granted, not every product or cause is inherently exciting.
But, our advice is to start having some fun with it, experiment, try new and different things. Having fun with your marketing strategy does not necessarily mean making everything a joke. It is more about not taking yourself and your work product too seriously. We tend to be our biggest critics.
C) This has certainly been said over and over by every social media expert we know, but it’s for a good reason. You want to be in the right place at the right time. Have an active brand presence in the places where your target audience is spending their time online. Be willing to articulate your values and stand behind them. Be authentic in your communications and your partnerships, and be ready to move on a dime.
Lovepreet S., EBS MCC
BTW: If you’re still struggling with a consistent or even clear social media strategy, let this be the nudge you need to finally get focused and intentional about your social media marketing plan. Our team of experts are here to help. Schedule a 30 Minute Social Media Strategy Call here.