Earlier this year we released a guide to the latest digital marketing trends for 2021 to help professional service firms tap into the needs of their existing and prospective clients.

However, now we are well into the year, new evidence has emerged from social media management platform Hootsuite, which highlights current trends in digital marketing.

To help you gain a greater appreciation of the latest developments, here is a summary of some of the key findings from this report.

Approximately 78% of businesses around the world consider Facebook to be their primary platform for achieving their goals, while 70% favour Instagram and 42% think LinkedIn is most effective.

When asked “what are the top three outcomes you are trying to achieve through social media”:

  • 73% said the acquisition of new clients was a top priority
  • 64% said improving brand awareness was key
  • 45% hoped to drive online conversions leading to purchases or enquiries

Surprisingly, only 23% of the marketers questioned said they hoped to improve the client’s experience using social media, with most focused on the potential revenue that could be generated via the various online platforms.

The study suggests this focus is a response to business lost due to the pandemic and a drive to win new work, but businesses should not neglect the need to build and maintain their brand online by providing useful information and experiences via social media.

Hootsuite recommends that marketers work across multiple channels, instead of focusing on a single platform, due to the diversification in many consumers preferences when it comes to online interactions, including the adoption of new platforms like TikTok.

The study also looked at the impact of social media on consumers and customers during the pandemic.

This highlighted that despite an increased use of social media in lockdown, consumers had become wary after being bombarded by adverts, preferring instead to see less frequent, creative campaigns from brands.

In fact, the study showed that most businesses key demographics (18 – 64-year-olds) favoured “funny or entertaining content” above anything else, with 32% of respondents highlighting this as their main reason for using social media.

When it came to how social media users interact online, Hootsuite’s experts say that businesses need to stop focusing solely on figures and focus instead on the passive impact of campaigns.

It found that only a small minority of online users actually comment or share content and that the vast majority of all online media is consumed passively.

In fact, Hootsuite’s data shows that Twitter’s total website traffic is three times larger than its actual user base.

This means that millions of tweets are read by ‘passive visitors’ i.e. those without an account. They are unable to share or like content via their feed, but their impact on the site means that Twitter is the eleventh most visited website in the world.

The same applies to many other platforms, like Facebook, where average users only like or share content every 30 days, despite regularly logging on to read posts.

The demographics of social media and e-commerce have also changed in the last year, seeing a surge in digital literacy among older generations.

According to the Hootsuite study, 70% of internet users aged 55-64 say they’ve bought something online in the past month,23 and 37% are planning to continue doing so more frequently when it’s over.

While traditionally this audience has mainly been targeted via TV, print and direct advertising, the study suggests that social media now plays a larger role in their lives and may now be a more effective platform for advertising to this age group, who hold a higher percentage of the world’s wealth than younger generations.

As our guide and this latest study show, much has changed as a result of the pandemic – with little indication of returning to pre-COVID trends and attitudes.

In response, businesses need to adapt their marketing strategy to meet these changes and remain competitive.

Monitoring and adapting digital marketing campaigns can be time-consuming and requires a significant level of skill and knowledge, which many practices may not have immediate access to.

To find out how our team of digital marketing specialists can help your firm take advantage of the latest trends, please contact us today.

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