Now that social media has been around for more than 15 years it is no surprise that marketing and branding endeavors have taken a digital turn. Picking up our phones is becoming an action driven by our subconscious. Kids grow up understanding how to like, comment, and subscribe, without even being taught. Senior citizens, people who grew up in an era where smartphones were only written about in sci-fi novels and seen in bond movies, are even more tech savvy, creating  their own profiles on the social media platforms from Instagram to SnapChat. We can thank the pandemic for that. 

For business owners, social media is a powerful tool that acts as a gateway between your company and your consumers. Social media is a fantastic way to build relationships with them and create a strong customer base that can last the test of time. Whether you are starting a company or have been at one for forty years, odds are that you are using or have used social media to promote your business in one form or another. Here we’ve gathered five new ways that you can leverage it in 2021. 

1) Personal brand 

Now that social media has entered its adolescent phase the landscape looks a little bit different. What is the main difference? Personal brands. The ability to connect with anyone anywhere has given rise to the social celebrity. It is now normal, even encouraged for you to market your own individual work and ideas. Not only does it create professional opportunities to increase your visibility and sell your services, many platforms have developed systems to track your engagement and profit from it.  In addition, businesses are now reaching out to individuals with parallel brand ideals and an active following — we call them influencers — to promote their products and their brands. Side hustle anyone? 

2) Feedback

Social media has created a world where companies have a direct line to thier customers. Whether your campaign was a like, love, or a continuous scroll of comments, you’re sure to  hear about it from the people that follow you and the people that don’t. Want to leverage that feedback? Get ahead of it. Ask your audience for thoughts on your brand, product ideas or marketing campaigns. Check the metrics and see which posts are getting the most engagement then craft your social strategy accordingly. 

3) Social movements 

The power of social media hit its stride in 2020 as the pandemic forced mobility limitations and both businesses and individuals experienced the border-free world of virtual tradeshows, live stream concerts, and a new surplus of time to sit and scroll.  Although businesses in the U.S. have been steadily shifting to consumer driven sales since the “Coke is it” debacle of the 80s, social media has provided a platform for individuals to speak out in large numbers with complete anonymity. Individuals are now holding businesses accountable to both their core values and their ability to drive widespread change. We are now seeing marketing executives from Audi produce the “Daughters” Ad in response to the Me Too movement, and Jake from State Farm being cast as a Black man in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. Whether it’s the plus sized mannequins at Dick’s Sporting Goods or deciding to no longer carry the controversial illustrations of the beloved Dr. Seuss. Businesses now have a responsibility to show their customers what they stand for.  

4) Shop Now!  

Since Facebook went public a great deal of time and resources has gone into making social media profitable. Implementing technology such as Facebook Marketplace or the Shop Now! feature on instagram has created an entirely new avenue for businesses to leverage social media to maximize their visibility and profits.  Take my friend Mollie for example. She created an Instagram account solely for the canvases that she creates. People would leave a comment in the comment section ‘claiming’ the canvas that they wanted to buy, and then Mollie would mail the canvas that she created for you. It was just an activity that she picked up for the summer, yet every single canvas sold. And at a solid rate too! In addition to selling your talents, companies now have the ability to advertise products that customers can purchase right through the social media platform itself eliminating the need for a costly e-commerce site. 

Social media isn’t going anywhere, so utilize these tips and tricks to better understand it in 2021.