2021 Social Media Content Trends All Restaurants Should Know

As a restaurant owner, you might not be able to connect with your customers in person right now, so social media is the next best place where you can establish and maintain relationships with your patrons. Recent studies show a 21 percent uptick in monthly social media usage, demonstrating the time is now to connect and sell to your customers online. But it can be hard to keep up with the latest social media and design trends while staying on top of the day-to-day of running a business. In fact, 90 percent of creators found trends and topics in visual culture are evolving faster than before. Pair that with rapidly multiplying content formats and platforms and it can be hard to know where to focus your marketing efforts.  

Using Adobe Stock’s Creative Trends 2021 Report, an annual forecast of visual content trends that will shape the year, as well as our own proprietary analysis of where social media marketing is headed, we’re breaking down how your business can translate 2021’s emerging content trends into meaningful communication strategies.

You can have the most relevant mission for your restaurant, but if you’re not posting where people are in the formats that are captivating attention, your efforts could be wasted. When developing your content and marketing strategies this year, consider the platforms and content types that are most likely to rise to the top. Then let all design decisions flow from there. 

In addition to what is on your menu, here are the top content types that people will be consuming the most this year. 

1. Short-Form Video

Videos are a must-have for any small business. According to Limelight, in 2020, people globally watched almost seven hours and 55 minutes of online videos on average per week, up 16 percent compared to 2019. And in a world that’s always in a hurry, short-form video content ranging from 4-30 seconds will continue to explode in 2021, thanks to the rise of platforms like Reels and Stories on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and more. 

Incorporate sensory, evocative triggers in the first two seconds of your videos to stop your customers from scrolling. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Think a soothing, eye-catching video background, for instance. Then make your video “readable” by adding text overlays. Other design assets, such as stickers, cut-outs, or gifs can also help you communicate emotion at the speed of a social media scroll.  

2. Handheld Video and Live Streams

The pandemic challenged all of us to find new ways to capture content, and more and more consumers have become accustomed to handheld, spur-of-the-moment footage captured on a smartphone. Similarly, social media live streaming has become a compelling tool for brands to cut through the clutter online through a human lens — especially with some smart promotion of the stream in advance. 

As a restaurant owner, have your team use this trend to your benefit to produce content that connects with your target customers without a big price tag attached. Prioritize content value and real-time engagement over production spend. Then extend the life of your content by capturing the best moments of your livestream into bite-size bits you can share later. 

3. Carousel Posts and Information-Rich Content

Long gone are the days of single-image posts. Multi-frame carousels get your audience engaged by swiping, while information-rich social content goes a long way to better educate your customers. Carousel posts are most effective when sharing related images — think: images of new menu items or showcasing multiple customer reviews at once. Meanwhile, snackable posts like quote graphics and infographics quickly tell a deep story about your business in a fun, engaging, and practical way.

4. Podcasting

Podcasting has gone entirely mainstream, with more than 117 million people listening in the U.S. alone. While it may not be an obvious tool for restaurants, podcast stories can be essential for any small businesses when it comes to reaching customers and positioning their brand as a top authority in a particular topic or field. Not only are they low-cost to produce, but with an original podcast series, you can lean on guest experts and leaders who can amplify your business to their own networks via social media. Here’s a helpful how-to guide to get you started on creating your own podcast. Also, be sure to give it an eye-catching cover to stand out from the competition with eye-catching podcast cover art.