4 Challenger Brand Social Media Trends Set to Shape 2021

Looking for our most current insights? Read Navigating the Crossroads: Technology, Authenticity, and the Future of Challenger Brands for thought provoking observations and questions for 2024.

Elevate Your Challenger Brand’s Social Media Presence In 2021

Conversational marketing drives sales on social media

Throughout 2020, Instagram made moves to become both more search-friendly and shoppable by launching immersive storefronts that enabled businesses to drive product discovery directly from the app. Such native experiences will become more pervasive in 2021 led by efforts from 5&Vine client Answerable – a browser extension that helps you get answers from real customers, in real-time, while you’re shopping. This is in contrast to scouring through product reviews on multiple sites trying to determine what’s trustworthy, or waiting for a customer service rep to respond to your questions. We predict 2021 will be a milestone for conversational marketing and shopping experiences that appear native to the platforms you’re on.

Using TikTok as a tool to fuel authentic discovery

We’ve all seen TikTok’s explosive growth since its launch in 2018, and it should come as no surprise that reports are already saying it was the most downloaded app in 2020. It’s a platform centered on authenticity, with phone-shot videos reigning supreme over those perfectly-edited and shot on professional equipment. The TikTok algorithm promotes discovery and, a result, everyone’s feed looks drastically different. This idea of authentic discovery aligns with the evolution of social media from people-centric to interest-based. 2021 will see brands partnering with TikTok creators to gain awareness in the niche communities they aim to connect with.

Authenticity wins over high-production content

In 2021 trust will be paramount. Brands will need to embrace authenticity and humanity in their operations and on the channels they’re creating content for. Rather than opt for highly curated feeds, consumers will want exposure to the raw and real behind-the-scenes, and connect with the individuals that make the magic happen. Their purchases will be more heavily influenced by real customer reviews from real people rather than big budget influencers.

An example of this is the strategy we developed for our client Fresh N’ Lean in response to COVID-19. We evolved messaging to emphasize transparency, food safety credentials and the team’s humanity. We launched the #HealthyTogether social media campaign to support community members isolating at home – educating them on nutrition essentials, having athletes on our roster lead at-home workouts via Instagram Live, and featuring the Co-CEOs and real team members. We expect that startups that win customer trust in 2021 will be the ones who showcase more realness and authenticity in their words, actions and faces on social media.

Challenger Brands leverage live-stream to build community

In a year filled with staying at home and virtual events, 2020 accelerated the move to live-streaming. The three major platforms – Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Gaming – increased viewership from 3.89bn hours in Q3 2019 to 7.46bn hours in Q3 2020, and live video is expected to grow 15-fold by 2022 to reach a 17% share of all internet traffic. Live-streaming helped us get through quarantine with weekly DJ sets from DJ Jazzy Jeff. On the client side, we saw the power of live-streaming first-hand with our client Haute Hijab, when CEO Melanie Elturk interviewed all of the athletes from their Can’t Ban Us campaign on Instagram Live in order to have real-time conversations about breaking boundaries in sport with a dedicated audience. We hope that 2021 will see more groundbreaking creativity for live stream content, bringing important conversations and powerful voices right to people’s phone screens.

This is the fourth in a series of 5&Vine posts dedicated to looking at the trends that will shape 2021. Be sure to check out our round-up of trends that will change food, healthcare and fintech in the year to come.


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