Social media has been a transformative force in the world of marketing and advertising, the world can no longer live without it. People's lives and daily routines basically revolve around social media, (some of us would even say it’s impossible to live without!) It's how we stay connected to the rest of the world.
The nature of social media is that it’s forever evolving, if you work in marketing, you’re constantly having to ask yourself the big questions. “Is TikTok going to overtake Instagram? Is organic engagement better? Do people still use Pinterest? Are paid ads relevant in the world of influencer culture?” Social media is growing faster than ever before and we’re not just talking about the number of users, but also the amount of time people spend on these apps. In 2022 social media is going through another rapid transformation and you need to make sure you stay ahead of the game with your marketing strategy!
1. Social Commerce
The rise of social commerce is not slowing down anytime soon, eMarketer predicts social commerce will be an $80 billion industry by 2025. Many businesses have figured out that letting users checkout in the same app just makes sense. So, when designing your user experience, make sure you give this some serious thought - even if it's only for your most popular items.
Social commerce is nothing new. Brands like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook have been using their platforms to sell products for a while now. However, in 2022, buying products directly via social media will become the norm. After spending the last two years in a series of lockdowns, it was only inevitable that an increase in social media consumption would occur. This then created the perfect environment for social commerce to thrive. This year we will see more brands testing shoppable functionality on all platforms, and is predicted to be at the forefront of smart social strategies.
Instagram has held the number one spot in most people's hearts for a long time. But that’s all changing. TikTok is the new IT girl on the scene! In 2022 the app is set to dominate social media trends and marketing landscapes. Consumers have committed so fully and quickly to TikTok that other social media platforms have had no choice but to follow suit. Think Instagram Reels, and just recently, Reddit rolled out a video format that is notably similar to TikTok
Thanks to Gen-Z, the short term video platform has broken download records, quickly becoming the go-to app for connecting with current and future consumers. As the app looks to introduce an ecommerce aspect, it's clear that short-form video content will become more popular. TikTok is the ideal platform to use in 2022. This year we’re throwing out tradition. Keep up or get left behind!
If your audience is on TikTok, you should be too. Connect with them, and find out just what they’re engaging with.
3. The Creator Economy
The creator economy has been around for just over a decade but it only really took off during the height of the pandemic as people looked for ways to diversify their income - regular people now monetise their hobbies as a way to create a second income. In 2021, 50 million people considered themselves to be creators on social networks. Whatever your niche, there is a creator out there with an already established fan base waiting to collaborate with you. This has now become a dominant marketing methodology.
When working with creators make sure to always define your goals; do you want more exposure for your brand? A more loyal customer base? Higher sales or increased ROI? It’s also important to make sure the creators you reach out to align with the bigger picture of your brand - with a greater demand for content also comes greater expectations, including a push for authenticity. For most consumers, this means deeper connections with influencers as well as value-driven content.
As the line between social media and ecommerce becomes increasingly blurred, influencer marketing needs to truly connect with consumers, especially if you want to grow and see immediate results. One way this can be achieved is with micro-influencers, who are set to continue to grow in 2022 - studies have even shown that micro-influencers come across as more trustworthy. As companies continue to seek a meaningful way to balance budgets and return on investments, the highly engaged audiences of micro-influencers are the answer. Especially, the inflated prices that major influencers are now demanding make no sense to brands if they’re looking to get direct sales. If you’re not considering influencer marketing moving into 2022, you’re at risk of missing out.
4. Paid Social Media Ads
As Google works to phase out cookie tracking by 2023, the future of social advertising remains undefined. Then with so many people installing ad blockers and actively trying to avoid ads, brands need to get creative. Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Media Trends survey states 43% of brands said “the decline of organic reach and the need to increase paid advertising budgets” was their biggest challenge on social media. This is second to consistently coming up with ideas for content. This makes perfect sense considering that the average organic reach for a Facebook post is just slightly over 5% according to Hootsuite’s data.
Social advertising has had some bumps over the past couple of years - businesses reduced their spending on ads and the ones that continued to spend complained about low returns on over-saturated networks. However, marketers will be spending more on social ads in 2022—but to stand out, you’ll have to work harder due to the level of competition.
Social media typically lends itself to the B2C sector. However, that doesn’t mean B2B businesses should take a step back. Twitter offers a large platform for companies looking to connect with professionals in other sectors. And of course, LinkedIn is always adding more tools to bring organisations together. This means that both could be a worthwhile investment in the coming year. No matter your budget, someone on your social marketing team is going to have to learn how to boost your reach. And everyone is going to have to learn the basics of audience targeting.
5. Customer Service
Traditionally, social media has been a place for people to connect with their networks and share photos, videos and parts of their daily lives. However, expectations have been raised, and social media is now so much more than just that. It has become a retail platform, a product discovery platform, and now, a customer service channel. A lot of brands have started recognizing social media networks as platforms for delivering customer service.
After lockdown halted global supply chains and caused labour shortages, it meant consumers had more urgent questions for businesses than ever before. And they discovered that they could get the answers to those questions more conveniently using social media. Today consumers want a quick and reliable way to communicate with businesses that feels natural. They expect businesses to address their needs quickly, but they also seek the flexibility to respond when it's most convenient for them. Messaging ticks all these boxes, which is why 64% of people say they would prefer to message rather than call a business. And according to Gartner, 60% of all customer service requests will be managed via digital channels by 2023. With that being said, it can be expected that in the near future, social media managers will deal with the customer service aspect of running socials. This will mean that brands will have to expand their teams to include at least one community manager to deal with these developments.
6. Social Audio
Clubhouse launched in April 2020 but the app grew popular in early 2021 and unfortunately it’s reign didn’t last very long . However, it’s clear that the app had an influence on the industry as following this, Twitter launched its social audio platform, Spaces and it has been reported that Facebook is also trying to enter the live audio format, they’re just trying to work out the right formula. Social audio is designed for those who have the boldness and the budget. It’s a big opportunity to build trust in your brand and directly connect with potential customers. However, you’ve got to have the cash to make an investment upfront and this can be risky to do in a format that hasn’t given a return on investment for anyone yet. This is probably why small businesses will be slower to adopt it.
Clubhouse has stated that ads won’t ever be a part of its business model. This can be a pro or a con for businesses, depending on how you look at it. Either way, the lack of ads means integrating your brand into Clubhouse will take some imagination and a lot of creativity. And the path to ROI will be a long one, which may often include redirecting listeners to your other social media channels.
7. Short-Form Video
One of the biggest current social media marketing trends is video. More importantly, short-form vertical video. The likes of TikTok and Instagram Reels have made this medium huge in terms of driving sales and engagement. Short videos are considered more entertaining than your average posts. For example, videos get more attention on Instagram compared to conventional image posts. Pinterest also highlighted a 240% increase in video pins from 2020 to 2021. You can also interact with the Millenials and Gen-Z audiences who are more likely to use these platforms via Live videos and provide engaging content.
People are spending more time on social media but they’re also engaging less with posts - studies show that the average attention span of a person these days is 8 seconds. Social media sites are adjusting to this by offering bite sized content in the form of short videos and disappearing content aka stories. While disappearing content such as Twitter Fleets and LinkedIn Stories came and went in 2021, TikTok’s popularity fed consumer appetite for video snippets that were smart, eye-catching and informative. With almost 40% of businesses preferring short-form videos too, the stage is set for a boom in the ad form. Start brainstorming now for ideas or read on for more social media trends for 2022 (and beyond).
8. User Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content isn’t a new trend but is still going strong. The only thing that has changed is the rate of adoption, with more and more marketers utilising UGC. Brands that incorporate UGC have seen a 20% increase in return visitors and 90% increase in the time visitors spend on their site. You should note that most consumers trust their fellow consumers over brands, so having UGC as part of your game plan can help build trust in your business.
Some brands, like Daniel Wellington, motivate their customers to create content and tag the brand for a chance to get featured on their page. Some, like Olay or Dove, run relevant marketing campaigns that encourage people to submit their entries to be a part of the campaign. Then other brands, like Airbnb, completely rely on user-generated content for their social media content.
No matter how you want to use UGC, you should have a place for it in your content mix. User-generated content is free and is considered much more authentic than branded content. It’s time you get on board!
9. Brand Inclusivity
For the last two years, corporate social responsibility has been a hot topic (and for very good reason). In 2022, brands will need to continue emphasising their commitment to inclusivity. Consumers have set high standards for brands when it comes to social responsibility - brands will need to know which social issues mean the most to their target audience and go over into action.
The pandemic forced consumers to make changes in how they lived their lives, and as a result, they wanted more from the brands they follow and buy from. Companies can no longer create their products or services and stay on the sidelines of topics that matter. Brands today must engage with topics like mental health, sustainability, and social justice, or face becoming irrelevant in 2022. Connection is the key to this year, and it’s more important than ever. We understand that becoming socially conscious, inclusive, and aware won’t happen overnight; you need to put in the research, time, and effort to engage genuinely with your audience on the issues that matter most to them!
These are just some of the trends that we think will dominate the social media landscape this year. By taking advantage of these trends, you can stay ahead of your competitors. But always remember that social media is a dynamic and competitive space - what worked before isn’t guaranteed to generate the same results.
If you have any more social media pains, our team is always ready to lend a hand. You can dowload our social media calendar here. We build communities, boost engagement and keep you out front. Let's talk.