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Social Media Trends for 2021

We explore the social media trends that could help you strengthen your brand in 2021 and examine the food and drink businesses that you can take inspiration from.

Key stats

  • 3.96 billion social media users worldwide
  • Users have grown more than 10% over the past year
  • Half of the world’s population now use social media
  • 43% of internet users admitted to using more time on social media during Covid-19
  • 2 hours 29 mins is the average time users spend on social media platforms & apps

Trend #1 – Authentic video

From TikTok to Instagram Live and Zoom, 2021 is all about the unpolished video. That means no fancy editing, just live filming done there and then. Consumers have responded well to truthful brand updates during 2020, so be honest with your audience. If Covid-19 is having a major impact on your business, tell them. Your customers are what keeps your business running and they will appreciate the honesty that your brand delivers.

On that note, Instagram and TikTok are set to sour in new users in 2021 – TikTok was in fact the most downloaded app in 2020 – so if you haven’t already, begin to explore these channels and look at how it could help push your business forward to new customers.

Want some inspiration? Check out what these brands have been doing…

JING Tea have been sharing ‘how to’ videos on their Instagram feed, filmed using just a phone and a tripod to keep the camera steady. The videos take very little preparation but make the brand come across as approachable and fun.

Naked Wines starting pushing Naked Tuesday’s on Zoom and Instagram, whereby they invited their favourite wine experts in for live tasting sessions and a chat. Follow along at home videos are performing well and will continue to do so as we continue to live in lockdown.

Instagram Reels launched last year. Check out The Dorchester on Instagram where they showcase behind the scenes videos in the hotel kitchens of how they produce desserts and meals.

A Reel is essentially a TikTok, consisting of 15 second clips which you layer on top of each other. You can add cool features like stop and motion, stickers, music tracks and filters and the great thing about this platform is, it stays on your profile as long as you want.

Finally, the gang at Honest Burgers have been hosting #HonestAtHome IGTV videos where they demonstrate how to put together their DIY kits, which are available to buy on their website. This is a great, free way to push out your delivery kits and build a relationship with followers.

Trend #2 – Become Crisis Comms Experts

This doesn’t mean becoming a PR guru, but it does require you to share the information that you do know surrounding how your business is functioning during Covid-19.

Ensure profiles are up to date with information, communicate your Covid secure message and offer clear, up to date customer support. Are you available for delivery? Have you launched new products or features? Take a look at your social media profiles from a fresh perspective, asking yourself what you would want to know if you were a new customer; this means publishing details on how to order takeaway, delivery or click and collect, checking that your business’ opening hours are correct on Google and that you’re making your followers aware of any changes to operations.

Providing details on what you expect from customers when visiting your business in order to adhere to Covid-19 rules will also help them to build confidence in your brand.

Not yet Covid-19 Safety Trained?

All NCASS members can become Covid-19 safety trained for free and can access up-to-date resources as part of their membership. Sign yourself up for the course.

Trend #3 – Meme culture continues

They might be old school, but memes have made a comeback in 2020. Everyone needs a laugh right now and these images offer the ability for you to appeal to customers for free, as well as the potential to go viral and get your brand out there.

Who’s leading the way right now?

The cheeky lads and gals at Nandos are delivering the meme hits like a boss right now. Check out their Insta profile.

Trend #4 – Collaborative Content

In a time where a lot of businesses are struggling, the word “influencer” is enough to send a shiver down the spine of many a restaurant owner. However, there are other ways to get others involved in your brand without having to pay them for the privilege.

How much will it cost?

Nada. Getting new and potential customers engaged in your brand doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. Brew Dog recently invited people to vote for their new beer name and the campaign worked a treat. Not only that, but they react to world events by launching new beers and donating some of the proceeds to charity.

A lot of people changed their outlook on life in 2020; choosing instead to support local businesses making a difference in their local communities rather than the large corporations. Enlist your followers in choosing what dish they want to see offered as a DIY Kit next, allow them to name new drinks, give them an incentive to shop with you. It’s a brilliant way to spread awareness around your brand.

Trend #5 – Social Shopping

How easy is it for followers to purchase goods from your business? Do they have to search on Google, or can they simply click on a link via the image on Instagram that catches their eye? The simpler it is to shop, the more chance of a sale, so if you haven’t already, add in shoppable tags to make it easier than ever for people to shop for your products.

Who’s there already?

YoDough Brum have made products on their website shoppable via Instagram. Head over to their page and take a look at how they do it.

Other tips

  • Check platforms daily to check if customers have left comments or queries
  • Use the time effectively whilst lockdown is in force – there’s no reason why you can’t record videos and publish them later in the year
  • The fastest way to grow followers is to post regular content
  • Use hashtags to drive new people to your content – can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram
  • Research other brands to see what they’re doing
  • Run competitions – think of a prize that is relevant to your brand
  • Introduce your staff – people like to see the faces behind the brand and who’s making/delivering their food