Right now, social media is more important than ever before. In a socially distanced world, we are increasingly reliant on social media to bring us together. We learned that audiences’ demand for content has increased during the coronavirus crisis and it’s up to your Social Pro to keep up.

As we celebrate the power of the Social Pro, we reached out to some of the best of the best to get their advice.

We asked 21 social media experts, what’s your #1 tip for social media in 2021?

Scroll through their answers below to inspire your team’s social media strategy. And, if you want to get connected with our creative community of social pros and creative professionals, join our Slack group and jump in on the conversation.

Thanks to all of these talented social media experts for their tips – these are sure to help you and your creative team make the most of 2021, no matter what it brings.

Manager, Audience Development
LinkedIn | Twitter

Create social content and experiences for people.

One thing (maybe the only thing?) that hasn’t changed this year is who we do this for. Sometimes the magic happens when we get out of our own way, engage with fans 1:1, or humanize the brand by letting someone else do the talking. It’s okay to pivot strategy along with global trends—because if it’s important to people, it should be important to you—just don’t lose sight of who your audience is and what makes your brand unique.

Reshina Warren, Disney

Social Media Manager
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

My #1 tip for social media pros is don’t take the criticism of the brand you manage personally. If it becomes too much, step away and take a mental break.

Meg Lewis, GIPHY

Director of Social
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

I think what this last year has taught us is that social inside a vacuum benefits no one. At one point, it was true that curating perfect messaging and gorgeous bespoke assets would net you a social “success,” but that isn’t really where we are now. The goals now are to really understand who you’re trying to reach, what they’re interested in and care about, and tailor what you’re marketing to those feelings and emotions. We know everything can change on a dime and the key is realizing that supremely authentic messaging will always prevail.

Emily Crume, Social Media Examiner

Director of Strategy
LinkedIn | Twitter

Start experimenting with TikTok. Even if it’s just organic and a way to test the concept of story-selling. According to Apple, it was the second most downloaded app in 2019, and since March, the platform has exploded. Users are spending billions of hours on TikTok. It has become a top destination for creative, story-driven marketers to stake a claim.

Carina Petrillo, MTV

Social Media Coordinator
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

My #1 tip for social media pros is to be authentic. The key to making strong connections in the social space is to be true to brand voice. Audiences are smart – they know when brands try too hard to fit the bill. It’s important to ideate around “who” your brand is… what do they like? Dislike? What are their interests? As silly as it is, putting a fictional face behind an @-handle will make a difference.

Director, Brand Management & Social Media
LinkedIn | Twitter

Think small. So much of our attention is spent chasing that viral post that will reach millions, but there is so much value in the personal touches: replies, likes and customization. The one-to-one interactions between a brand and customer are where real relationships and loyalty are built.

Social Media Strategist
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

Be the first to test out new products and emerging platforms. When Vine launched, many of the earliest Vine creators became the next wave of influencers. The same recently happened with TikTok and now we have Reels. This is a great way to leverage a huge number of eyes on your content before the platform/product is flooded and can help your talent stay at the top!

Social Media Specialist
LinkedIn | Twitter

My top tip for social in 2021 is to lean into your intuition as a social media professional, let that guide your strategy decisions. You can make a content calendar for the whole year, but you have to be willing to roll with the punches, 2020 alone has shown us that the “set it and forget it” strategy is not as efficient in the social space. Treat every day as a new day and make time to assess your audience!

Jean-Paul Polo, Discover Puerto Rico

Director of Creative Strategy
LinkedIn | Twitter

Extraordinary visuals are NOT a luxury. Invest properly in quality content creators that can understand your brand and passionately live your mission.

Director of Football Creative Design
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

I think the most important skill in social media is reading the room. It’s how you can make the biggest impact, and also avoid mistakes that disconnect you from your goals.

Digital Content Coordinator
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

A lot of creators just want a chance; provide them with opportunity. Ranging from illustrators to song writers, there are people ready to showcase their passion who will greatly benefit your brand. A great place to start is by looking through your brand’s DMs and tagged photos on Instagram.

Now more than ever, authenticity and kindness is key – on social media and behind a keyboard, too. Helping to amplify someone’s story online not only expands their reach, but it sets up the foundation for a fruitful relationship. I will always recommend shouting them out by name, lifting them up, and providing some additional value. Bring others along with you, too.

Social Media Manager
LinkedIn | Twitter

I’d say my #1 tip for social media is to sweat the small stuff, especially now when everyone is having a rough time. It’s the little things on social media that make all the difference — liking posts, reading mentions with the expectation of engaging with them, providing customer service! From making someone smile to building trust in your brand, many actions take a social media manager less than a minute and make a world of difference to your followers.

C. Morgan Engel, Clarkson Creative

Staff Photographer/Social Media Manager
LinkedIn | Twitter

The year of 2020 has been a year of transformation and your audience has most likely begun to act differently. Have your social accounts done the same? My #1 tip for social media pros in 2021 is to be unafraid to act differently, to try new things & to grow with the current state of the world.

Nostalgia can create powerful and impactful content in times where you may be unable to capture anything new. Take a look at what you can produce from what you already have in your media library. You can create meaningful engagement by sharing a positive memory from the past — especially in a time full of uncertainty.

Listing Coordinator and Social Media Strategist
LinkedIn | Twitter

Maybe some unconventional wisdom for social pros but my tip would be to build in time for yourself to put the phone down, to go “off screen”. Sometimes the best ideas come when you’ve taken time to reset. It’s kind of like your computer, you can’t leave it on 100% of the time. Social media is a loud place and consumer comments or criticism can sometimes seep into your personal life. Don’t let that happen.
I added the screen time widget to my home screen so i could be conscious of it daily!

Neil Horowitz, Greenfly

Director of Product Marketing
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

Think about co-creation. That means a couple of things — one is to not just curate but collaborate with some of the talented content creators that are among your fans and followers. You’ll never have enough resources internally, but there are tons of fans wanting to collab with you. The second part of co-creation is empowering your fans to create. It’s less trackable when fans are posting content about your brand on their own channels or even dark social channels, but it’s more valuable than anything that can happen on your brand’s channels and is happening organically already. Give fuel to that fire.

Marketing Communication Specialist
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

My #1 tip would be to be flexible. Yes to having a content calendar and yes to planning ahead, but it is extremely important to give yourself space to change direction. If you don’t give yourself that space, you might find you are stuck with scheduled content that is no longer relevant, or worse, posts that feel out of touch.

Director of Digital Media
LinkedIn | Twitter

The #1 tip for social media pros in 2021 will be to be flexible. The challenges we’ve faced specifically at SFA has taught me that planning can only go so far and that you need to be a fly in the wall when handling social.

Social Media Manager
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

ENGAGE. ENGAGE. ENGAGE. Whether it’s taking 15 minutes out of your day to follow a handful of accounts, replying with flames to an Instagram story your brand is tagged in, or entering a viral conversation on Twitter – make constantly engaging a priority. Brands that sit idly by while their audience engages with them aren’t invested in establishing relationships, and in my opinion, have a lackluster social presence.

Cara Meiselman, Slice

Director, Strategic Content Maketing & Performance
LinkedIn | Twitter

 

Don’t underestimate the value of user-generated content (UGC). UGC should be a key part of your content strategy and you should always be looking at ways to encourage and incentivize your users to create content. Dedicated hashtags, sweepstakes, and surprise and delights are all ways to effectively organize and encourage more UGC from users.

Want to connect with some of these Social Pros? Head over to our Social Pro Hub to get involved in our celebration of these creative experts. Take a second to share your top tip for 2021 with us on Twitter, sign up for 20/21 Vision: The Strategy Summit by PhotoShelter, and join our Creative Slack Community to keep the conversation going!

This content was originally published here.