A new report reveals how to be more successful with social media during—and following—the era of COVID.
Talkwalker, the leading social media analytics and monitoring platform, and HubSpot, a leading provider of social media marketing software, has published the “Social Media Trends 2021 Global Report,” which offers analytical insights and consumer data to rank the biggest trends they are seeing, helping businesses and marketing pros focus on their 2021 priorities. This is research that every businessperson in the floral industry needs to consider as he or she plans future social media strategies. Now, more than ever, a sound social media approach can save a business in today’s COVID-19 climate.
In putting together the report, Talkwalker and HubSpot spoke with more than 70 global experts to identify what should be done in 2021 to achieve success. “The events of 2020 have created widespread uncertainty for companies in almost every industry,” says Meghan Keaney Anderson, vice president of marketing at HubSpot. “Knowing the trends that are most likely to define the coming year is one of the best ways that marketers can combat the ongoing unpredictability and set their teams up for success in 2021. We hope that marketers find the deep insights available in this report helpful as they map out their strategies for the year ahead.” (Visit talkwalker.com/social-media-trends to download the report.)
A term that is necessary to understand is “remixing,” which is the art of taking existing formats, templates or ideas and re-creating them to express a user’s own personality or ideas. This has come to the forefront in 2020 through popular apps like TikTok, Koji and Instagram Reels.
“Although we’re not seeing big numbers yet, there was clearly an increase during the COVID-19 lockdown,” the report states.
That means that florists who have found success with YouTube videos or Instagram posts can remix their content and turn it into different content and cross-post it on different social media channels.
The report forecasts that in 2021, more companies will be remixing and engaging with new audiences. According to Dmitry Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of GoMeta (Koji’s producer), “Remixing gives ordinary people the power to layer context and self-expression.” That means the way user- generated content is created, sourced and shared will be changing in the years ahead.
Rachel Wolfe, owner of Rachel’s Rose Garden in Wilmore, Ky., hasn’t always been the most social-media-savvy business owner in the past, but since COVID, she has tried to do a little extra each month, knowing its importance and trying to change with the times. “I have often felt overwhelmed when I see so many perfectly-positioned pictures, long stories and beautifully arranged social media posts from some of my fellow small-business owners,” she says. “I’ve felt like what I did could not stand up to their standards because I don’t have the time to spend on lengthy posts.”
But then she realized something that has been true throughout time—a picture is worth a thousand words! “The thing people really want to see from my shop are gorgeous flowers,” Wolfe says. “These days, people really need the life-giving quality flowers have to offer, so most of my posts are just pictures and maybe a sentence or two about needing something bright on a cloudy morning or my thankfulness for a beautiful Kentucky fall afternoon.”
Wolfe’s customers have responded to the pictures, and her social media feed is as busy as ever. “They see something beautiful and uplifting, and I often hear something like, ‘You posted a picture of an adorable little mug arrangement a few weeks ago. Can we get something like that delivered?’ There are so many stock flower arrangement images out there that it’s encouraging to have people ask for my designs,” she says. That’s the power of a solid social media strategy.
“Now, more than ever, a sound social media approach can save business in today’s COVID-19 climate.”
“Other ways we have been using social media to drive business has been working with other local shop owners on community-specific events and support content,” Wolfe says. “We have one shop owner downtown who has a gift for social media, and she has been the point person on creating content to boost interest in things like a ‘Downtown Giveaway’ or the combined ‘Downtown Open House’ we all hosted last fall.”
According to the “Social Media Trends Report,” even if a vaccine is successful and the pandemic is mostly resolved in 2021, the repercussions on the business community will be felt for a long time. After all, customers aren’t going to just fully accept that things are back to normal, and they also won’t soon forget the consequences of what happened in 2020.
That’s why savvy brands must look at their social media channels and adapt their communication methods knowing that the tone in 2021 will be different. That’s where the four “C”s of content come in: Community, Contactless, Cleanliness and Compassion.
These are the topics that are trending online and the things most customers care about in a COVID world. Consumers are looking to stores and brands to help them navigate the crisis, and social media is the way that this can be done. Georgianne Vinicombe, owner of Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Co. in Princeton, N.J., was an early adopter of social media and has used various platforms to have two-way conversations with her customers about these very topics. “I use social media to inform consumers about who we are and what we are about, to learn more about them, and to increase traffic to my website,” she says. “It’s a way of connecting with my customers, to see what they are doing, what they like and how they react to my posts. In a nutshell, social media helps us stay connected with our existing customers and enables prospective customers feel comfortable with us.”
Vinicombe understands the value of keeping her content strong through the pandemic. In fact, since COVID hit, she has been utilizing most of her social media platforms to share how the store is keeping customers safe, providing details about new offerings and offering timely information for new customers. She even has a live feed of her Instagram page on the store’s website.
“It’s been a great way not only to have people see what we have in the shop and feel more connected to us but also to express that we are real—not just a bunch of folks sitting around a computer waiting for orders,” Vinicombe says. “I like to show our store, our employees, our new products and general goings-on at the shop on any given day. I use various platforms, and each has a unique audience, so I try to treat each one differently.”
“I use social media to inform consumers about who we are and what we are about, to learn more about them, and to increase traffic to my website…. [it] helps us stay connected with our existing customers and enables prospective customers to feel comfortable with us.”
-Georgianne Vinicombe, Monday Morning Flower and Balloon Co.
For instance, on Facebook, she does fun posts where she’ll ask people to choose a favorite design, and plays “name games” to keep people engaged. She also has used LinkedIn to connect with business-minded people and Pinterest to post photos and guide traffic back to her other social media, blog posts and website. Then there are the videos she posts on her YouTube channel, which she calls a fun way of sharing her business with the world.
“Although I have not jumped on the bandwagon doing Facebook Live videos, I have been doing more videos in general,” Vinicombe says. “I post them on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Early on during COVID, I did regular updates about what was going on in the shop and sharing new arrivals, product tips, etc.”
As any marketing manager will tell you, you never know what is really working, but Vinicombe feels that social media is super important to her business marketing plan. “When people see posts of products in various places, we get orders for those,” she shares. “I look at social media as just one part of the puzzle of staying connected with our customers. When social media is done well, it creates interest in your business.”
According to the “Social Media Trends Report,” 78 percent of consumers say that brands should help them out in their daily lives, but they feel that a communication gap exists. While many businesses focus their messages around supporting communities, consumers are more focused on cleanliness, with mentions still rising.
Therefore, in 2021, businesses must be a part of these COVID-19 conversations and address the topic carefully to ensure their communication is relevant. That’s what Vinicombe has been doing, and she’s found that has helped her get closer to her customers.
In reviewing social media trends, the report notes that, often, claims of one social media site dying and being replaced run rampant, but the authors predict that the dominant social media platforms of today will be just as significant in 2021 and beyond. They may have new features and will adapt to the trends in their own particular ways, but their significance is unlikely to dwindle in the coming years.
That means that relying on the social media channels one knows and understands is important in connecting with customers. Melissa Nickell, marketing director at The Sun Valley Group in Arcata, Calif., which is home to quality floral brands such as Sun Valley Floral Farms, Pleasant Valley Flowers, Sun Pacific Bouquet and West Coast Evergreen, as well as the Orchid, Sonata, Love, Royal, Lilytopia and Dublet Lilies brands and Redwood Grove French Tulips brand, notes that during the pandemic, people are engaging more with the company.