The 10 Social Media Trends to Look Out For in 2021

Posted at 11th-Jan-2021 in Social Media News | Leave a reply

As New York City’s leading social media agency, Socialfly knows the latest and greatest social media trends and how brands can integrate them into social content. We’ve pulled together a roundup of the top 10 social media trends that, in our opinion, are non-negotiable going into 2021 and beyond.

**We hope to see more social shifts like these for years to come and anticipate there will be further evolutions of what’s listed below as we all work to become more socially aware.**


#1) Continued Rise of Short-form Video Content 

*Insert D’Amelio sisters TikTok dance here to keep your attention while you read this.* 👯‍♀️ 

We already know that (video) content is king. With the popularity of TikTok and Instagram Reels in 2020, you can expect to see even more short-form videos taking social media by storm in 2021. Brands know that, in order to capture the attention of their audience, they have a very small window of time to do so before people scroll to the next post. 

#2) Nano and Micro-influencers for Sponsored Partnerships

Less and less are brands wanting to partner with a huge name on social media to promote their brands. CEO of NYC social media agency, Socialfly, Courtney Spritzer comments, “Authenticity is key when it comes to brand partnerships, and brands are more likely to capture that by partnering with influencers with a smaller (but very engaged) following. For a campaign with Markid, we contracted a lot of mommy influencers with smaller followings but who packed a punch — and the results have been incredible!”

#3) Advertising Loopholes on Gaming Platforms

Tired of watching your little brother lose on Fortnite? Here’s something else to look out for. 👀

Twitch, the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers, was taken by surprise when one ad company used guerilla marketing tactics to advertise on behalf of their client, Burger King, via Twitch donations. You can expect to see more brands capitalizing on the gaming world’s loose advertising restrictions before these platforms wise up like Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms have.

#4) Innovative Branded AR Filters on Snapchat

Snapchat: no longer just for getting ghosted. 👻 

Big name companies and brands like Disney, Target, Chase Sapphire, and many more have created Snapchat filters with AR capabilities to capture the attention of younger demographics. Gucci recently debuted a sneaker try on Snapchat AR campaign where users could see what the sneaker looked like on their feet and then directly purchase from the Lens through a “Shop Now” button. You will see more brands jumping on this trend in 2021 and getting more and more creative with AR.

#5) Online Shopping with Advanced Social Support

In real estate they say it’s all about location, location, location; in 2021, prime real estate for retailers is the world wide interweb. 💻

With state-wide lockdowns and work from home mandates, shopping online is more prevalent than ever. Brick and mortar shops are transitioning to e-commerce. Companies like Walmart are upping their shipping game in an attempt to compete with giants like Amazon who have a strong hold on the e-shopping world. On Instagram, they recently released “Instagram Shopping” where small and large companies alike are monetizing their Instagram Feed, taking their followers directly from scrolling Instagram to adding to cart. 

#6) Authenticity + Body Positivity 

Raise your hand if you’ve been personally victimized by your best friend’s ill-advised Facetune attempts. 🙋‍♀️

Instead of staged, aspirational content, people are resonating more with genuine content. Gone are the days of overly curated content showcasing a lifestyle that is unattainable for most. The body positivity movement has been making waves particularly across TikTok and Instagram (see: @meaganagallagher and @thebirdspapaya). Instead of FaceTune-ing and photoshopping, top-tier influencers are proudly showing off their unedited photos — stretch marks, scars, birthmarks and all. They preach self acceptance and love of all different shapes, sizes, and appearances. 

#7) Diversity and Inclusion through Brand Representation

Power to the people. ❤️ 

With enhanced awareness surrounding social justice and racial justice issues on social media, there has been a great emphasis on diversity and inclusion as it pertains to brands. Brands no longer shy away from politics and social issues, but instead they share what they believe in for all to see (as our client, snack brand Whisps, exemplifies here). Brands are also much more aware of diversifying the models they cast instead of sticking to only one age, size, gender, or ethnicity as seen in years past.

#8) Anti-cancel Culture

Cancel culture is canceled, effective immediately. 🙅‍♀️ 

Cancel culture was on the rise in 2020, but now we are starting to see a reverse movement. People who believe in the “anti-cancel culture” movement are not saying people should not be held accountable for their actions, but instead they say people should not be so quick to write others off because there’s not one person out there who is perfect. They express that we should not shun opposing views but instead let that be the start of conversations and learn from one another.

#9) Viral Responses to Viral Moments 

Brands have been faced with significant opportunities — appearing instantly and organically — in the form of a “viral” moment. Consequently, they need to respond and implement a strategy in a short time frame in order to capitalize on such viral moments before the moment is no longer trending. Ocean Spray reached out to Nathan “@420doggface208” Apodaca after the user posted a video on TikTok that went viral featuring their cranberry juice. The company acted fast, sending Nathan a cranberry colored truck filled to the brim with Ocean Spray’s cranberry juice. By acting quickly, the company received even further positive press. In 2021, brands will be creating viral response strategies in the hopes of catching lightning in a (cranberry juice) bottle — should it ever strike.

#10) Everyday Heroes

Not all heroes wear capes — most actually wear scrubs. 🏥

Frontline health workers were strewn into the spotlight in 2020 as they became the obvious heroes rushing to the rescue as COVID-19 spread. In 2021, people will want to see more unsung heroes getting recognition on social media over celebrities, much like the heroic boy who saved his sister from a dog attack. After a challenging 2020, 2021 will be a year of spreading good news and giving credit to the everyday person, the “average joes,” and the underdogs.


We live and breathe social media all day; it’s what we do. Send us an email to start the conversation about taking your brand’s social media presence to new heights in 2021.

Written By: Becca Sass, Associate Director, Strategy & Accounts

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