If you’re a fan of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm, you’re probably familiar with their proclivity to debate social norms, such as whether or not you can ask a “low-talker” to repeat themselves (devoted Seinfeld fans will recall this is how Jerry winds up in the notorious puffy shirt on The Today Show).
The genius behind the social commentary is Larry David. While Larry only intended to make some interesting (and hilarious) points about human behavior, many still ring true for consumers today.
Before you start drafting next year’s social media marketing, take some advice from Larry and check out these 2021 marketing trends. These five famous Larry David quotes should inspire your content creation and inform your marketing strategy in the upcoming year.
“I’m trying to elevate small talk to medium talk.” (Curb Your Enthusiasm, season 8, episode 6)
After being seated next to a stranger at a dinner party, Larry asks, “So how’s your marriage?” His acquaintance, shocked and offended, demands to know how Larry could ask him that, to which he responds, “I’m trying to elevate small talk to medium talk.”
Like many of us, Larry can’t stand shallow small talk. Like Larry, consumers are sick of small talk – meaning impersonal marketing strategies. Brands who fail to take heed are paying for it.
According to TNW, “A recent study from Sprout Social, which surveyed 1,000 consumers, found that 58% of them believed that companies were morally obligated to be more transparent; plus, 73% said they’re willing to pay more if a brand is being completely transparent.”
Similarly, Forbes found that “consumers admire leaders with integrity — leaders who are authentic, vulnerable and willing to admit their mistakes.” In other words, covering up your mistakes will only drive customers away. Being open and authentic, on the other hand, will engage them.
In 2021, get real with your audience. Your marketing strategy is an excellent place to start. According to CMSWire, “Along with transparency comes communication. Openly communicate with customers, not so frequently the brand becomes an annoyance, but often enough that the customer never feels left in the dark.”
Use social media marketing to embrace transparency in 2021.
Offer more insight into your business and the products on your website. Patagonia devotes several web pages to their environmental footprint, which detail the materials they use and their plans to become carbon neutral. Skincare brand Glossier allows customers to leave reviews on all their products, showing prospective customers that they have nothing to hide.
Social media marketing also presents the opportunity to embrace transparency. According to CMSWire, “A social presence also allows customers to get a feel of who the brand is, and how it relates to its customers.” An active social media presence gives your customers a valuable touchpoint into your business.
When it comes to content creation, encourage audience engagement! Promote a lively comments section, host a livestream and create content that your followers want to re-post. Your audience may take this as an opportunity to share their feedback – good or bad; if they do, respond in a timely manner.
Remember, after a year like 2020, a lack of transparency feels tone-deaf to consumers.
“I don’t like to be out of my comfort zone, which is about a half an inch wide.” – Larry David
Larry likes things a certain way. In season 10 of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry visits the cafe of his long-standing enemy, Mocha Joe. After being served a muffin-like scone and luke-warm coffee, Larry decides he must open his ideal coffee shop. At Latte Larry’s, the coffee is always hot.
When it comes to your marketing strategy, take a cue from Larry and meet your customers where they are (likely on their phones). Retail Dive found that this year, “Shopping on smartphones jumped 25% to $3.6 billion, making up 40% of total online spending on Black Friday.”
In 2021, create content and webpages well suited for mobile devices. According to Entrepreneur, “Businesses will do well to focus on touch-screen-friendly navigation, streamlined navigation menus, less text-heavy content and functions like collapsible menus.”
If you adapt website content to mobile devices, you will have an easier time engaging your audience, who are spending an ever-increasing amount of time on their phones. With phone usage on the rise, people are likely spending more time on social media. Take this opportunity to refine your social media marketing.
Tailor content to suit the specific audience of each social media platform you use.
Create content that targets the specific audience on each channel you use. According to Forbes, “For too long, ‘omnichannel’ has meant treating all channels equally. But in 2021, the leading brands will shift away from executing unilaterally across all channels, assuming what worked in email would work on mobile and so forth, or using one type of content across all channels.”
Different demographics favor different channels. According to Sprout Social, Facebook is most commonly used by 25 to 30-year-olds, while Instagram is most popular among 13 to 17-year-olds. These two demographics likely won’t be receptive to the same message. By creating content tailored to each platform, your messaging will feel more personal to your audience, and your social media marketing will soar.
“He wanted to stop and chat with me, and I don’t know him well enough for a ‘stop and chat.’” (Curb Your Enthusiasm, season 2, episode 10)
We’ve already established Larry is not a fan of small talk, but he finds the “stop-and-chat” is its own breed of dreadful chit-chat.
While strolling the streets of Los Angeles with a friend, a man approaches Larry and beckons, “Hey Larry!” Larry responds, “How you doing?” and begins to walk away as the man replies, “Good.”
Larry’s friend scolds him, “Why didn’t you say hello to him? You know him.” Larry explains that although the man is a host at a restaurant he recently visited, he doesn’t know him well enough for the “stop and chat.”
Like Larry, consumers are tired of interacting with businesses they know nothing about. With more businesses online, customers may be coming down with content fatigue. Cut through the social media marketing noise by putting your values on display.
According to The Drum, “One way brands can form a quick yet visceral connection with potential customers is by homing in on the values behind their purchasing decisions. With purpose-driven consumers on the rise, especially among generation Z, online shoppers are actively scanning for brands that align with their ethical beliefs.”
Entrepreneur even goes so far as to say, “Brands that lack social responsibility or do not have a purpose-driven model may soon be extinct.” While your marketing strategy may not encompass your business model, you can still use social media marketing to promote the good you are doing in the world.
When it comes to content creation, take a stand.
Since the killing of George Floyd, Ben & Jerry’s has used their social channels to share educational content on racial injustice and police brutality. They take this opportunity to share links to nonprofits and social movements, making it easy for their audience to support progressive policy changes.
Amidst the pandemic and resultant layoffs, travel guru Rick Steves took to social media to announce his plans to keep his staff of nearly 100 employed for the next two years, even if the company brings in zero revenue. When asked why, Steves simply explained it is his “civic responsibility” to keep his employees, well, employed.
When possible, create content that highlights your company’s social responsibility efforts.
When you’re doing good, you’ll earn your audience’s trust. Salesforce recently reported that 81% of consumers say that their “ability to trust the brand to do what is right” is a deciding factor in their buying decisions. Don’t be afraid to use your social media marketing to highlight company-wide volunteer outings. Create content that highlights the family-friendly work policies you’ve implemented during the pandemic or what you’re doing for social issues.
Before you get started on your marketing strategy, make sure the values you’re promoting are authentic. Harvard Business Review advises companies to “[ensure] your house is in order before going big on public actions.” If your company does not reflect the progress you are advertising, hold off on the social media marketing and start by making internal structural changes.
“When you’re not concerned with succeeding, you can work with complete freedom.” – Larry David
In many ways, Seinfeld was a groundbreaking TV show. According to Vox, the sitcom gave rise to the antihero and paved the way for “deeply weird and deeply feminine” female characters (thank you, Elaine Benes).
But what Seinfeld is most known for is being the “The Show About Nothing.” TV historian Jennifer Keishin Armstrong argues, “They’re dealing with these everyday irritations that we all really relate to,” and that’s what keeps us coming back 30 years later.
When it comes to our creativity, Larry urges us to not get caught up in the final product. As marketers, we are concerned with the success of our marketing strategies, but Larry has a point. At a time when more brands than ever have resorted to social media marketing, standing out from the crowd becomes a necessity.
Bring new and unexpected content to your social media marketing in 2021.
While creativity may not be a trend, per se, innovative marketing strategies will help you grab your audience’s attention. According to Social Media Today, 40% of consumers believe “memorable content” makes a brand’s social media “best in class.”
What social media marketing trend can your brand be at the forefront of? In 2021, create content that talks about your brand in new and unexpected ways.
Mattress retailer Casper, for example, expanded beyond the basic social channels (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and took to Spotify to launch their Casper Sleep Channel, which features “meditations and bedtime stories.” According to Sprout Social, Casper cross-promotes their Sleep Channel across all their social accounts, making it “the perfect way to generate buzz” and “increase their following on other platforms.”
Another way for your social media marketing to garner attention in 2021 is to promote brand-to-brand collaborations. According to Marketing Interactive, “Unexpected alliances between corporate brands surprise consumers, gain media attention, generate buzz on social media and create cross-selling opportunities in marketing to new customer bases.”
Travis Scott’s partnership with McDonald’s is likely the most famous brand collaboration of 2020. The partnership boosted sales for the fast food chain and gave content creators an opportunity to share eye-catching new visuals on social media.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your marketing strategy. Delivering bold, unexpected content pays off.
“I’m not a person who embraces challenges. I run from challenges. I break world records running from challenges.” – Larry David
Larry certainly has a tendency to exaggerate. While Guinness World Records may not measure the speed at which people “run from challenges,” they do recognize highest annual earnings for a television writer. Larry David holds this title for earning $242 million in 1998 as a co-writer on Seinfeld.
To outrank competitors in 2021, long-form content must be a part of your marketing strategy.
If, like Larry, you hope to outdo your competitors in 2021, you must embrace long-form content. According to Search Engine Journal, content reaching 2,000 words consistently outranked blogs of 1,000 words or less during 2020. In 2021, content will get even longer, and your blogs may need to reach the “2,500-3,000 [word] mark” to outperform competitors.
When planning your marketing strategy, make sure to include rich blog article ideas. If your blog topics lack depth, your content creators will struggle to create quality content that is long enough to rank highly in search engines.
If you’re worried content this long will drive readers away, take some steps to make your articles more digestible. Marketing software provider Hubspot advises content creators to use subsections and photos to break their articles up. Subsections will allow you to better organize your ideas and photos help make long content less intimidating to readers.