Five Social Media Predictions for 2021

As 2021 begins, we’d like to make a few predictions about what’s to come in the ecosystem of social media.

Social media growth will continue

You might think that social media usage peaked in 2020 as the population went into social distancing and work from home (WFH) mode.   That isn’t the case. As reported here, social media will continue to grow and expand with projected increases of over 10% between 2020 and 2022.  The inclusion of newer apps like WhatsApp and TikTok in the definition of social media accounts for a large portion of the growth. Still, traditional leader Facebook also sees year of year active users.

The impact of social media continues to increase as usage climbs.

Platform choices increase too

The emergence and growth of new platforms will continue in 2021. TikTok, Marco Polo, Parlor, and several others made big splashes in the market in 2020, and they will continue to grow. The large platforms will continue their dominance, but newcomers will create like-minded communities and whittle away a small percentage of users.

Livestreaming platforms like Twitch, Caffeine, and Zoom will see new competition as virtual interaction remains the primary tool for communities, businesses, and family.

Heightened Integration of social media and e-commerce

More people are discovering and investigating products than ever before. That’s why companies will spend over $100B in social media advertisement and promotion in 2021.  Retail market leader Amazon, the world’s largest media and advertising spender, will shift more of its advertising budget to online and social media, gaining more traffic and influence.

We’ll see heightened commercialization, advertising, growth, and integration of social media and e-commerce in 2021, as customer experience aligns to the independent research and product selection trend.

Regulations and Governance Changes

Potential government regulations and governance of social media have been big news in 2020.

It’s currently confusing which US government agency actually has responsibility for social media regulations and laws. In 2020, the US legislature held hearings on social media censorship, with tech and social media leaders being called to testify. Once this type of investigation and evaluation starts, it usually results in some action. Good or bad.

We can’t predict what the regulations and laws changes will be, but we can anticipate change will happen.

Bad Online Behavior Continues

Some lessons are harder to learn than others. Undoubtedly most social media users know that their posts, tweets, and content can (and if they are bad enough, will) can be used against them. That knowledge will not prevent bad online behavior. People will continue to post comments, pictures, and videos that will have a negative impact on their employment, either being hired or terminated.

Recruiters, background screening firms, and human resources decision-makers will also continue to increase their interest and usage of social media screening. This interest will drive the need for updating or creating social media codes of conduct.

Going Forward

2020’s impact on private and professional life was dramatic and universal. At Social Media 23, we welcome the New Year will high expectations and hope for a better year.