SMM trends 2021

The world of SMM is constantly changing – functionality is being updated, new social networks and services appear. You need to follow the trends in order to know how to promote in social networks – what else is working and what is no longer relevant, what features may appear in the near future and how to use them for promotion.

In this article, we will tell you what changes will affect the strategy of brand promotion in social networks in 2021.

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15 SMM Trends 2021

Trends for the coming year:

1. Decrease in coverage.

This trend can already be traced in all social networks, because there is too much content, and the more content, the fewer views on average accounted for by authors. This trend is also smoothly leading businesses to move completely to paid promotion methods in social networks.

Related article: Why Instagram coverage dropped

2. Short videos will become even more popular, social networks will continue to compete with Tik-Tok.

These 2 trends are interconnected, since it was with the advent of Tik-Tok that the format of short videos became mega-popular (TT was originally based on this type of content). The owners of social networks were seriously afraid of the competition of the new application and began to copy its functions: VK clips appeared (full copy), Instagram Reels, Shorts on YouTube, Snapchat launched Spotlight. The competition is likely to intensify in 2021, which means we will see many new similar features.

3. Stories infiltrate all social media.

Social networks appreciated the popularity of Instagram stories (there they already pulled the main attention of users from the feed to themselves) and began to create similar functionality: Odnoklassniki launched moments, Linkedin is testing a story, Twitter launched Fleets, YouTube – stories, Douyin (Chinese Tik-Tok, on his based on the international version of TT, which we know) – testing the “Video Diary” function, perhaps it will be added to Tik-Tok itself.

Services that already had stories improve this type of content, for example, Instagram added new stickers, a section for favorites and recent stickers, an arrow tool in the editor, and a new shooting mode.

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Companies that don’t post stories will be inferior to competitors.

4. Cleaning social networks from bots and fakes.

Social networks are improving algorithms for identifying low-quality accounts every year, so this trend can already be called constant. Users have also learned to distinguish high-quality profiles from fake ones and are more willing to subscribe to accounts with real photos, rather than anonymized pages with the company’s logo on the avatar and the same type of product photos.

This suggests that you need to completely forget about cheating and move towards improving the quality of content and profile design.

An example of an account that will be subscribed to in 2021 (but it is not exactly):

An example of a low-quality account – in 2021, this is no longer necessary.

Bad account design

The next trend also comes from this – the development of a personal brand.

5. Emphasis on personal brand development.

As we wrote above, people are drawn to people. It is more interesting for social media users to observe living persons, rather than impersonal posts of brands.

Therefore, we need to move towards the creation and development of a personal brand, since this trend will gain momentum in the coming years. The company can be represented by its owner, employee, or specially produced “person-image”.

6. Social networks are becoming marketplaces.

We see how social networks are striving to capture a part of the online store market, for example, Shopping tags and the function of placing orders through Instagram appeared (so far in other countries, in the Russian Federation, they are not yet, but, perhaps, they will appear in 2021), VK Pay, VK Markets , Facebook Pay, Buy button on Pinterest (Buyable Pins). Obviously, in 2021, new features will appear that will allow you to use social networks as a full-fledged showcase of goods.

+ bulletin boards appear through which you can sell your products, for example, Yandex.Ads.

Some entrepreneurs (talking about small businesses) already use only social networks for sales and do not create separate websites.

7. Development of messenger functionality.

We are talking about both independent messengers (Viber, WhatsApp, Telegram) and messengers within social networks (Direct on Instagram, Facebook Messenger, messages on VK and Tik-Tok). As communication with clients, friends, colleagues is increasingly moving from e-mail and mobile communications to instant messengers, in the coming years we will see new functions appear in them.

So, in 2020, Telegram became able to create folders for chats, disappearing messages appeared on Instagram, and businesses were able to process correspondence through the Business Suite. Messengers still clearly have room to grow.

Read also:   Instagram is testing a "two-story" story feed

8. Development of monetization tools for bloggers in order to attract authors.

While bloggers are fighting for an audience, social networks are fighting for authors and bloggers.

More favorable monetization conditions have become one of the tools for attracting them. For example, VK launched a new affiliate program for monetizing communities and a service for donations, Instagram – badges for donations and an IGTV monetization test, Odnoklassniki – accepting virtual gifts during streams (then they can be cashed out), Tik-Tok allows you to receive donations on live broadcasts, and in some countries, payment for ad impressions in videos is already being tested, YouTube began to add 2 ad integrations to 8 minute videos (previously it was 10 minutes), although there is a minus for authors – now YouTube ads will be shown in all videos, even those where monetization is not connected.

So far, nothing is known about monetization in Telegram, but most likely it will also appear, since the project, in fact, does not earn anything, and the investments in the messenger are huge.

9. Control of the advertising market for bloggers in social networks.

Nowadays, advertising can be bought bypassing social networks by negotiating with the blogger directly or through special services. Accordingly, social networks are missing out on large cash flows, and advertising from bloggers creates competition for targeted advertising. In addition, not all bloggers mark posts as advertising, and these are already risks for social networks themselves.

* In the UK and many other countries, bloggers are required to tag commercial posts with #ad or #sponsored tags. Lack of marks can lead to legal action.

Advertising publication on Instagram

There are already attempts by social networks to take control of the blogger market – the VK advertising platform and the “Sponsored publication” mark on Instagram have long existed, and not so long ago the Brands Collab Manager service has appeared for ordering advertising on Facebook and Instagram. Most likely, social networks will continue to move in this direction + stricter control over advertising publications is possible.

10. Business interest in advertising is growing among micro- and nanobloggers.

Users began to trust bloggers with millionaires less, realizing that they would advertise anything for money. The microblogger has more confidence in the post (especially if the ad is native).

For business, this is a plus – for the price of one post or story from a millionaire, you can order advertising from several micro influencers.

11. There will be more user-generated content.

This trend echoes the previous one. The user is more likely to believe the reaction of his friend to the product than the advertisement on the page of the conventional Dzharakhov or Buzova. Businesses need to embrace this trend and motivate users to create such content.

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* User generated content is when customers themselves talk about your product, advertise it for free or for a bonus (for example, for a discount).

SMM trends 202112. Communication with customers and subscribers will become more socially oriented.

Customers care about the value your product or company carries, not just what you sell and how. Accordingly, posts should touch on socially important topics, talk more about the “pain” of clients and ways to solve them, take part in events, do charity work and post content on this topic.

13. Improvement and new application of AR / VR technologies.

In the coming years, we will see the development of augmented reality technologies, especially AR masks. More complex, functional, interactive masks will appear, new cases of the successful application of AR / VR technology in marketing will appear.

A good example of using augmented reality is the IKEA Place app, which allows you to “virtually” place goods from the IKEA catalog in your home, and Wanna Kicks, a virtual fitting room for sneakers. These examples are implemented as standalone applications, but some brands have already got the opportunity to create similar “fitting rooms” on Instagram using AR masks.

14. Longreads on Instagram.

In November 2020, the “Guides” function appeared on Instagram, which allows you to combine several publications on one topic, create collections and guides – a kind of longreads.

There is a possibility that in 2021 or later the limit of 2,000 characters on Instagram posts will be expanded, which will allow creating longreads in the text of publications. At least, there is definitely a demand for such a function – now the continuation of a long text has to be placed in the gallery in the form of pictures.

15. More bright “tasty” visuals in social networks.

Social media feeds are oversaturated with content – your post can be scrolled through without even reading it, so you need to create a bright catchy visual to make you want to stop, look at the picture in more detail, read the text. More views in 2021 and beyond will see brands focusing on content design.


SMM is one of the fastest growing areas of marketing. You need to constantly be on the alert and monitor changes in order to be one of the first to use new features and be one step ahead of the competition.

Most likely, in 2021 there will be updates (and maybe even entire services), which we do not yet know about, as was the case with Tik-Tok, which suddenly “fired” and became an activator of new functionality in other social networks.

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