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2021 Social Trends: Hootsuite releases digital transformation report

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Hootsuite launched its fifth annual Social Trends Report in Australia last week, revealing the shifts Australian marketers must make as the world becomes more digital after a year that redefined social media—with 4.1 billion people now using social worldwide.

Hootsuite’s Tom Keiser, Chief Executive Officer, and Henk Campher, Vice-President of Corporate Marketing & Head of CSR outlined how social can be scaled across the organisation to embrace the greater digital transformation and navigate the fast-changing consumer landscape in 2021. 

The Social Trends 2021 Report identified key social trends in 2020 that challenged how businesses, marketers and B2B leaders utilised social media for organisational impact. 

“COVID-19 forced organisations to re-think how they communicated with their internal and external stakeholders and the wider ‘digital’ public.” Tom Keiser, Hootsuite CEO, explained. “In a year full of unknowns, brands needed to take a step back to understand where they fit into customers’ lives on social media. Brands that excelled on social in 2020, understood their audience and used social media to contribute meaning to a wider conversation, with the aim of building a better business and a better world. This landscape will only expand into 2021.” 

The Social Tends 2021 report revealed the extent to which consumers are expecting organisations to contribute to the world, with more than half of respondents believing it is ‘very important’ for businesses to ‘operate according to its values/principles’ and ‘proactively make the world a better place’.

The report credits Woolworths’ use of social as a means for good through their “Plant a Tree” initiative. Through an augmented reality Facebook filter, members could plant and care for their own virtual Christmas tree. In addition, they could contribute their rewards points to an environmental charity and, in return, a real tree would be planted on their behalf. This initiative delivered both an impactful brand outcome, with an 11-point lift in brand favourability and a 46-point lift in message association amongst females aged 55-64, and a sustainability-focused CSR outcome, with over 6,000 trees planted as a result of audience engagement.

“As much as 2020 has been a year to forget for many reasons, it has reshaped our world, especially the social media and business landscape. In a year marked by a global crisis, social unrest, and widespread mistrust, Hootsuite’s Social Trends Report is an optimistic forward look into how social media can play a role in facilitating CSR initiatives.” Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing at Hootsuite, said.

“Every second of every day, 14 people create a new social media account — and amidst physical distancing across the globe, the need for brands to pivot, adapt, and overhaul to keep up with complex consumer lifestyle shifts and expectations has only increased.” 

1. The race to ROI: Social bridges the gap to a new customer experience

Deliver short-term return on investment with targeted performance marketing tactics while building innovative digital experiences that win long-term loyalty by bringing discovery, connection, and fun back to the customer experience. 

2. Silence is golden: Brands find their place in the conversation

Smart brands sit back and listen, then win with creative, original ways of fitting into the social conversation to break through the wall of indifference.

3. Way more than OK: A generation overlooked by digital marketers booms on social

By using smart segmentation and thoughtful representation, marketers who include baby boomers in their digital strategies can leapfrog those still stuck in stereotypes. 

4. Do I know you? Tying engagement data to identity gives advanced brands new momentum

With renewed momentum and executive attention on social media’s ability to retain critical connections with customers, now is the time to take steps—big or small—to bridge the gap between engagement and customer identity. 

5. The perils (and promise) of purpose: Bold brands start in the boardroom, not the front lines of social: 

Instead of using social as a mouthpiece for empty promises, strong CMOs will use the intelligence gathered by social media teams in 2021 to help the organisation adapt to new buyer beliefs, new ways of doing commerce, and the new path to growth. 

“In 2020, our customers did a phenomenal job of quickly adapting their digital strategies to include a more integrated and imaginative approach to social.” Campher said. “With these latest Social Trends for 2021, we hope to give marketers the confidence they need to navigate a dynamic new phase of global social growth in the year to come.” 


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Ellie Dudley
Ellie Dudley is a journalist at Dynamic Business with a background in the startup space and current affairs reporting. She has a specific interest in foreign investment and the Australian economy.