12 Instagram Trends that Will Affect Social Media Managers in 2021

Social Media Manager

Rafaella Aguiar

Last Updated: May 24, 2021

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Instagram is an ever-evolving community, which makes keeping up with Instagram trends a neverending cycle.

The platform keeps introducing changes and users keep accepting them. In a matter of days, we see influencers adopting the new feature, so we go with the flow.

The question is: How can Social Media Manager incorporate new Instagram trends and utilize them to better their client’s success on Instagram?

The truth is: the faster Social Media Manager can accept new Instagram trends and incorporate them into their strategy the better their marketing efforts will perform.

After all, we know the utilization of a new feature typically mean a boost in the Instagram algorithm. Plus it gives you a chance to share your message in a completely fresh way. If you’re looking to focus your efforts on the biggest Instagram trend of 2021, look no further. 

We’ve collected the 12 biggest Instagram trends you should be aware of and how they will affect your social media marketing efforts in 2021.

1.  Instagram Is Catching Up with Television

When IGTV first appeared in 2018, it looked like an extension of the stories. Instagram users got more space to film parts of their lives. But it grew big!

According to Instagram, 78% of total mobile data traffic will be going to mobile video. Despite its slow takeoff, IGTV is predicted to make great contributions towards that trend.

IGTV instagram trends

What does this mean for Social Media Managers?

It means you should incorporate long-form video content in a vertical format into your strategy. Depending on the type of brand you’re promoting, you can showcase moments from behind-the-scenes, Q&A sessions, and interviews with influencers -really anything that our audience will be interested in.

Instagram practically gives you an opportunity to broadcast your own TV show. Use it well!

2.  IG Live in the Feed

With a recent update, users that broadcast on IGTV can now also share a short preview in their feed. If you check the kinoyoga profile, for example, you’ll see the vertical videos from IGTV among her posts.

igtv instagram trends

This doesn’t seem like a huge change? Oh; but it is!

Think about it. It gives you a much better opportunity to engage your followers on IGTV.

Before this feature showed up, it was a bit difficult to promote IGTV channels. The low traffic and engagement that early adopters saw left many wondering if IGTV would be Instagram’s biggest flop.

Now that you can write captions and actively direct your followers to IGTV, it has the potential to capitalize on the ever-growing trend of mobile videos.

Social media managers who utilize IGTV for clients have to incorporate preview posts in their feeds as well. Otherwise, you’re really only doing half the job.

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3.  DMs Are Getting Big

If you watch IG stories often, you probably noticed that replies on stories translate to sending direct messages.

Influencers and brands alike often use the question sticker in stories to encourage conversations and then share the answers they get in direct messages.

Question Sticker

DMs are becoming the most effective and impactful means for brands to connect with their Instagram followers.

The users can send voice messages, share posts or stories, or even have a video chat. Instagram is slowly, but surely turning into a convenient messaging platform. Making connections is no longer limited to liking posts and commenting on them. Now, the users can really engage with the profiles they like.

Maybe the time for a standalone Instagram messaging app has come? Maybe we’ll see it in 2021? Who knows?

All we know is that you should definitely include direct messaging in your SMM campaign. It’s great for humanizing your brand and getting really personal with its followers. 

4.  Influencers Are Still Big

For a while, we saw a growing level of distrust towards influencers who had been accused of promoting brands without clearly disclosing their collaboration.

They got paid to show you some products, but they never said as much.

So Instagram users started calling out the influencers, often writing comments about their posts being misleading.

Now Influencers are obligated to use the paid partnership tags, such as #ad or #sponsered.

The rise of Influencer Marketing instagram trends

That changes things for businesses and influencers; they have to be more transparent with their campaigns. There was a fear that customers would be less likely to buy if product posts disclosed the collaboration with a tag.

However, Influencer marketing is still very much so on the rise, especially on Instagram.

Even with the new disclosure policies, Instagram influencers still have thousands of engaged followers to promote brands’ products and services.

2021 is definitely not the time to cease your collaboration with influencers. In fact, you should amplify it. This Instagram trend does seem to be going away anytime soon.

5.  Long-Form Content

Instagram is still all about the visuals. However, the Instagram trend of long captions is becoming more more common.

Just check the captions on Gisele’s profile. You’ll notice that she doesn’t perceive the platform as a place for posting pretty pictures. She has a message and she uses the caption to share her voice.

In 2021, we’re going to see a rise in this Instagram trend. People want more from Instagram influencers and brands than a bland, contextless caption. They want to engage in discussions and learn the story behind what they see in the picture.

This is the time for you to focus on Instagram captions and concider it a serious compoment of your content marketing campaign.

We’ll see more brands hiring writing services like Assignment Holic UK, Assignment Masters, and AussieWritings.com just for the sake of getting brilliant Instagram captions.

For Social Media Managers, this means it’s time to step-up your caption game.

6.  Greater Transparency

According to SproutSocial, 86% of Americans say transparency on social media is more important to them than ever. Users found video content to be the most transparent.

Among the factors used to determine a brand as transparent on social media, these were the most important ones:

  • Admitting mistakes
  • Honest responses to questions
  • Disclosed prices
  • Employment diversity.

In addition, consumers want brands to be more transparent about the changes in their products, company values and practices, policy changes, and employment practices.

This is a big lesson for businesses to learn. When their audience demands information, they should be ready to provide it.

Social media gives you the perfect platform to provide more transparency to your audience. As you can see below, consumers view video as the most transparent, and Instagram gives you many video options. There’s Stories, Instagram Live, IGTV, Reels and typical feed video posts.

transparency instagram trends

When you show up on video on social media, you can build trust with your audience because they can see and feel your honesty. If you need to admit to and apologize for a mistake, do so over video. If you’re working through a problem but don’t have all the answers yet, go Live and have an honest conversation with your followers.

Consumers want to see transparency, and you have the ability to greatly increase your company’s transparency simply through video on social media. 

7.  Commercialization of IG Stories

You probably noticed that ads are now appearing in Instagram stories.

That’s because many users prefer watching stories over scrolling through their feeds. Stories are fresh, and there’s something new to see every single day. Ever hour, even!

Instagram stories

Instagram stories are big for brands, but with the opportunities for advertising, their potential grows. Your Instagram ads don’t have to be expensive or complex; it just needs to be enough for the viewer to visit your profile and get interested in your brand.

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8. Instagram Shopping

Thanks to Instagram Shopping, creators can now earn money directly from the platform. This is a big step because it means that your potential customers have fewer barriers to converting and making a purchase. When users have to leave the Instagram app, each click away is a chance for them to decide they don’t really want to make a purchase. When that purchase can happen within the app, they’re more likely to go through with it. 

Instagram Shops became important in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, but they’re going to continue to play a major role for online sellers in 2021. Use this feature to tell your brand’s story and share with your potential customers so they can enjoy the shopping and purchasing experience.

instagram trends shopping

9. Instagram Live

When everything shifted to being online, Instagram Live started to boom amidst the pandemic. Business owners are sharing their stories, and followers are finding new ways to connect with brands they love. No matter what industry you’re in, Instagram Live is sure to be an important part of your Instagram marketing strategy in 2021.

There are plenty of different ways you can use Instagram Live to connect with your audience, even if you don’t want to do the traditional face-to-camera type video. You can:

  • Share tutorials about how to use your products or services. 
  • Walk your audience through a step-by-step process
  • Introduce your team to your audience. 
  • Let your audience ask questions.
  • Host interviews.

No matter how you choose to use Instagram Live in 2021, you’ll want to get creative and be present on the platform.

instagram Live

10. Social Rights Movements and Values 

While this isn’t necessarily a trend, it’s definitely something that is critical for 2021. Gen Z is quickly taking over the social platform, and they’re passionate about finding, following and purchasing from brands that are vocal about their values and morals. Companies need to be able to demonstrate their stance and values on their social media. 

It’s also important to remember that users can tell when you’re faking it. So if you’re going to take a stance on social rights issues, you’ll need to go all-in and make sure your messaging is consistent. 

Don’t simply post about something once. Make it a part of your messaging, like @tylerjmccall. When social justice issues arise, be ready to stop your scheduled and pre-planned social media posts, otherwise you’ll come across as indifferent to the current events.

social rights issues on social instagram trends

11. Link in Bio Tools to Promote Conversions

Link in bio tools are increasing in popularity and are helping brands convert their followers into customers. While Instagram Shopping is great to keep people within the app, sometimes there are things you need to send your followers off of Instagram to see, like your blog posts or your podcast or a services page that doesn’t work for Shopping. That’s where a link in bio tool like url.bio can help.

When you have a link in bio tool, you can effectively have multiple links on Instagram at one time. Technically you’ll only have one in your profile, but that link can lead to a page that includes all the links you want to share. This can include other social media platforms, your latest blog post, or any resources you mentioned in your most recent feed posts.

Because Instagram only allows one clickable link in your profile, you want to make the most of that real estate, Using a link in bio tool can encourage your followers to reach the pages they want to go, and it can help them explore and learn more about your company.

link in bio tool

12. Reels and TikTok Takeover

Chances are you’ve seen Instagram’s latest creation: Reels. And chances are you’re familiar with TikTok, too. Reels and TikTok are creating a whole new kind of content that users are beginning to expect to see. These short, catchy videos are becoming a part of everyone’s watch list, from teenagers to adults and anyone in between. 

While these kinds of content are new, they aren’t too difficult to produce. 

If Reels aren’t on your to-do list yet for 2021, it’s time to add them. You don’t have to create fancy dance videos, but a quick video showcasing your products set to a trending song can really make a difference for your business. Instagram literally re-organized their home page to create a button to access Reels at the bottom. Whether you like it or not, Reels are going to be here for a while, so get ready to try them during 2021.

Instagram reels instagram trends

Instagram Trends In 2021

We cannot predict what Instagram trends will be introduced next.

What we can say, however, is that Instagram trends are constantly changing, and brands should use those changes as an opportunity. Observe the Instagram trends, and find ways to include them in your strategy!

Instagram Trends Infographic (Bonus Content)

Here's an infographic version of this article. Feel free to share on your website or social media account!

12 Instagram Trends that will affect Social Media Managers Infographic

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Originally written by Scott Mathews, updated by Kicksta.

Scott Mathews is a content writer for Xpertwriters.com. He’s working on his own blog that’s going to be launched soon, but he also writes posts for Resumes Planet. In the meantime, he’s working on his certification as a resume writer for Careers Booster. He’s a busy man, but his personal growth projects help with productivity.

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