← Back to Blog

Data Proven Social Media Trends & Best Practices for 2021

Competitive AnalysisFacebook AnalyticsInstagram AnalyticsTwitter Analytics


Data Proven Social Media Trends & Best Practices for 2021

Social media marketing requires a constant learning curve in order to be on top of those trends and best practices.

Even the best social media managers know that analysis is the key to creating top-quality, insightful content that audiences devour.

Due to the huge amount of information people receive through Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, it’s not enough to simply create a great message anymore. The way you choose to deliver that message is just as important.

That’s what Socialinsider set up to do in 2020. We used posts data and insights to determine best social media practices like:

  • Where and what to post
  • What type of content performs better on each social networks
  • What format should you use
  • How long should your captions be
  • Emoji - Yay or Nay
  • How to leverage live and pre-recorded videos
  • How many Instagram Stories to use for better retention and results
  • How Instagram carousels help organic content
  • Where to place your Facebook ads to reach your KPIs

Keep reading to get an overview of everything we discovered, and level up your social media performance in 2021.

2021 Social Media Best Practices


People spend more time on Instagram than any other social media platform.

On average, Instagram traffic stays on site 192 seconds, which amounts to over 40% longer than on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, according to a study by Yotpo.

Here’s what data shows about constructing top-performing Instagram posts, stories, and ads.

  • Make Instagram the main social network in your content strategy, as the average engagement for one post is higher than Twitter and Facebook’s engagement combined.
  • Use more carousel posts on Instagram for more engagement and Likes. Use all 10 slides of a carousel to create a story, and include a mix of videos and photos.
  • Post up to 5 Stories per day to ensure a retention rate of over 70%.
  • Include calls to action such as β€œswipe left” in your carousel captions.
  • If your goal is to drive conversations, video posts receive the most comments.
  • Keep your captions short, under 10 words, but include many emojis to complement your point.
  • Asking questions in your Instagram captions doesn’t drive more responses.
  • Large profiles with over 100K followers should use 6 hashtags in the first comment for more engagement, impressions, and reach.
  • Hiding the hashtags in the caption works for smaller Instagram profiles, with a following under 100K.
  • Make sure to include more videos into both your regular Stories, as well as your Story ads for higher CTR.

Instagram content in 2021


Through its ads, group and large audience, Facebook can still hold its own among social media networks.

Due to its more mature audiences, many brands still heavily rely on Facebook marketing when they plan their social strategies and campaigns.

But before you move any further with those strategies, here are a few data-proven improvements you can make.

  • Post albums to get more likes, but use videos to drive conversations.
  • When creating albums, use short captions of under 10 words (written for the entire album, not on individual images) and lots of emojis for better engagement rates.
  • Opt for the vertical format in videos.
  • Use videos between 2 to 5 minutes to drive conversations.
  • Go live for over one hour to double engagement.
  • Add a description length of over 300 characters to your videos to increase engagement.
  • Place the majority of your ads on Facebook, to receive the highest CTR, with lower costs per click.
  • Include Audience Network in your Facebook ads targeting, as ads from AN are shown more often to a viewer - 1.75 times on average.

Facebook content strategies in 2021


Twitter might not be the best platform in terms of engagement, but it is the go-to network to find out information and discuss it.

Due to its informational nature, as opposed to visual networks like Instagram, it’s more important than ever to understand how to write a great tweet, and what can make it stand out from all the noise.

  • Brands post on average 195 posts/month on Twitter comparing with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Post videos with short captions of under 10 words for the highest engagement rate per tweet, but include images as well.
  • Include emojis in all tweets.
  • Avoid asking questions in the caption, as it leads to a decrease in engagement
  • Avoid tweeting too much Christmas content, as it doesn’t bring engagement.

Twitter content trends in 2021

Final thoughts

Millions of posts have proven that what you say is just as important as how you say it.
Audiences expect different things from different social networks, and typically expect to be given the information packaged in a certain way.

That’s why choosing the right type of content between images, videos and carousels, opting for the most engaging format, crafting strong captions, or carefully placing your hashtags makes a difference on whether your message gets across.

Related articles:

Diana Gogolan

Diana Gogolan

Digital Marketing Specialist @ Socialinsider

Art lover, writer, reader, traveler of time and space. I consider myself a visual storyteller and I love the creative side of marketing.

Data Proven Social Media Trends & Best Practices for 2021