Throughout the year, people have not only used social media channels to stay connected to loved ones, but they’ve also embraced them for business development, research, news coverage, and hours of mindless entertainment.
Now, as the world reaches 3.6 billion social media users and continues to face the pandemic, businesses and law firms aren’t just wondering how they’ll engage their social media audiences next year. They’re also asking “What social media trends should I look out for in this constantly changing landscape?”
We’ve compiled ten research-backed social media trends law firm marketers should watch or leverage in 2021.
1. Brands will continue to take a “less is more” posting approach.
This year, many law firms and businesses alike spent less time posting and more time producing content that felt thoughtful, valuable, and in-touch with the world around them. Many law firms crafted and shared solely COVID-19 content – and even created entire COVID-19 resource centers – to help their audiences navigate the changing business and legal environment that has upended their daily lives.
This trend of “less is more” is likely to continue in 2021. We expect firms to be more thoughtful about what they post, which means posting less – regardless of algorithms – because it’s the right thing to do. Never before has provided your audience of clients and prospective clients value meant so much.
2. Authenticity will be vital.
Demonstrating authenticity and transparency on social media is fairly simple in theory – it’s all about showing the real side of your law firm and lawyers to your followers.
Far from being another buzzword, authenticity in the social media realm represents a rejection of the fake and deceptive qualities that have defined social media marketing in the past.
According to marketing trend forecasts, the days of perfectly curated content are over. Instead, it’s now all about capturing and embracing authentic, everyday moments that your followers can quickly react to and that they relate to. Firms can also showcase authenticity by creating user-generated content and client testimonials.
The shift towards authentic marketing also represents an emerging trend in which consumers are choosing to work with law firms and businesses that share their moral, social, and political beliefs.
3. Content value will continue to be more important than production quality.
When firms were forced to go 100% remote in 2020, marketers needed to develop scalable video marketing production processes that could be done easily at home, without a production studio, and while remaining socially distanced from their teams.
Although some of the video content was a bit scrappy, that made it a bit more human and consumers continued to engage with the content. We believe we will continue to see bare-bones video productions in 2021 as audiences engage overwhelmingly more with video content than static imagery on social media.
4. Video will continue to take center stage.
According to HubSpot’s marketing report, Video was found to be the most commonly used marketing content and the second most engaging content type on social media in 2020. As the social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok continue to expand their video capabilities, legal marketers can expect video consumption to continue to grow in coming years.
5. More law firms will go live.
In 2020, as many law firms were forced to take conferences, events, and other marketing experiences online, it’s not surprising to predict that 2021 live stream numbers could be higher.
At the moment, many brands are using Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn to live stream webinars, events, Q&As, tutorials, and other types of content. These types of content keep your followers engaged with your law firm by bringing an event they otherwise might not be able to attend directly to their screens.
Pro Tip: If you have a Zoom Pro account and above, you can live stream Zoom meetings and webinars via YouTube Live and Facebook Live.
6. Audiences will crave snackable content.
This year, we saw the rise of Instagram Reels and Tik Tok, continued engagement on Stories content from Facebook and Instagram, and law firms creating other short-form or “snackable” content to engage followers.
As attention spans on social media shrink and people continue to scroll endlessly through feeds while bored and stuck at home, don’t expect snackable content to abate anytime soon.
7. Memes 24/7.
Memes are like an inside joke everyone wants to be in on. They’re a fun way to reflect on current events, clichés, and trends. This year, memes have become one of the major methods of communication on social media, with a reported 55% of millennials sending them every week. Law firm marketers should take note of this data as more brands are using memes to build community, relate to their audience, and stick in their followers’ memory.
There are a few reasons why we as marketers love memes. First of all, by definition, memes are supposed to be shared so the content is often reposted across the internet to reach an even wider audience. Second, memes play off of content that’s created by other people so you don’t need to create an original video or photo yourself. They save law firm marketers time that would be needed to produce original content.
8. Conversational marketing will change its tone.
Conversational marketing is a method of engaging clients through conversations – chatbots, social messaging, calls, and more. Building relationships through personalized, one-to-one content.
Conversational marketing isn’t new. But, in 2021, with more messaging channels than ever – and consumers needing more information to make a worthy investment – the tone of digital conversations may change.
For instance, while past conversational marketing tactics centered around selling services, 2021’s conversational marketing tactics might be more focused on helping audiences with something, educating them, and nurturing them to conversion with a more thoughtful and empathetic tone.
9. Socially conscious audiences aren’t going anywhere.
A big trend heading into 2021 is the rise of the socially conscious consumer. Law firms should look to connect with these audiences by engaging more in topics like mental health, inclusivity, social justice, and the environment.
This trend is only expected to grow with Gen Z now moving toward adulthood. They’re known to be the most well-educated generation yet, and one that mirrors similar values to those of millennials, including their outlook on climate change, racial equality, feminism, educational and professional equality, and much more.
10. Dominant social media giants will continue their reign.
Experts predict that the most popular social media platforms today (such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok) will continue their reign in 2021 and beyond, so long as they continue to adapt to the latest trends. That means that the Facebook of today won’t necessarily look like the Facebook of mid- or late 2021, but the platform will endure nonetheless, changing to give its audiences what they need.
Remember that this list is likely not exhaustive of what we’ll see in 2021. As a law firm marketer, the best thing you can do is to continue to research social media trends, online consumer behaviors, and your firm’s social media data to determine which trends or strategies to lean into.
Do you need help driving real business results through social media? Our social media offerings can be customized to your law firm’s needs and realities. Contact us today for a free consultation.