By Simonetta Lein, CEO of Ausonia Partners LLC, social media entrepreneur, top-five global fashion influencer, brand ambassador and author.

Woman smiling with smart phone, blue wall

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As we close the door on 2020, we cannot look back on the year without acknowledging the immense power of social media. This has been a year for the books. With the world facing a pandemic, pressing U.S. elections, tensions and various other uncertainties, what has succeeded is the power of positivity and perseverance supported by technology. We are more connected than ever before, which has proven to be a great thing for brands and organizations alike. It’s all about the power of connection, and the future depends on how well we can optimize it. 

Social media has shifted in considerable ways in the past few years. Looking back, it is obvious to see the power it holds for growth moving forward. I believe that there’s no stopping social media. As our opportunities for physical connection were minimized or taken away, many turned to social media almost immediately, and data shows that usage is not slowing down. It’s increasing. As a social media entrepreneur and influencer, I’ve optimized my presence on every platform, and here’s a list of six social media trends that I believe brands must leverage in the upcoming year.

1. Niche Communities

Niche communities present a ton of potential because many of them are still untapped. Many brands are concerned about oversaturation in their markets, which is completely valid. Getting around that is about reaching a more targeted niche audience and appealing to their higher and more personal level of investment. It is easier to stand out in a market when you present something unique and tailored. This helps to attract a very dedicated audience. 

2. Micro-Influencers

Following up on the idea of niche communities, micro-influencers present a new kind of value to brands, offering smaller audiences with higher conversion rates. A micro-influencer is someone with very targeted content or pull in a specific audience, demographically speaking. Because their audience is so tight-knit they often have more power and stronger relationships than the typical influencer.

3. Macro-Influencers

In 2020, I created The Simonetta Lein Show, which allowed me to interview A-list celebrities and top entrepreneurs, reaching over 100 million views. I can testify that gaining millions of followers on Instagram is not an easy task. Celebrity status has to be earned with hard work, and macro-influencers can be that push a brand needs to be recognized and be seen. You can recognize the right macro-influencer from their brand appearance: Look at their feed, how well it is curated, their media presence and their connections. If you are looking to not just sell but to expand your brand, exposure and reach, be ready to invest to catapult your brand to the next level. This is the power of the macro-influencer.

4. Video Content

While video content isn’t entirely new, it’s evolved in exciting ways over the past year through app developments like stories and reels. A reported 85% of internet users watch video content online every month, making it one of the most effective ways to reach people. Video content is a natural way to reach people because it’s more personal. We developed The Simonetta Lein show for this exact purpose. We knew our audience wanted to open up the conversation in a more engaging way.

5. Direct Sales

Many social media apps prioritize direct sales methods as audiences look for more convenient ways to purchase the products they are looking for. E-commerce is a huge trend and born out of the necessities brought on by this year. Developing these strategies is about minimizing the amounts of clicks a user must go through to get to a purchase. I feel that Facebook is getting a great jump on this through its storefronts.

6. Stories

Lastly, many audiences love stories! They are fun, engaging and immediate. Stories represent a fantastic way to interact with your following in real time, get their attention and understand them better. You can ask your audience questions, get their feelings about things, utilize polls and link to content. 2021 will be all about story optimization.

Brands are excited for the new year and what’s trending on social media, and they must look toward what’s new, what’s working and what has potential. Fortunately, with social media, you have so many avenues to take. Don’t be afraid to try things, and if they don’t work, turn to something else. There are so many options for brands now, and as long as you are committed to reaching your audience, you’ll see a return on your investment with the help of these six trends.

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Roland Millaner