Social media can be a tough nut to crack for brands. There’s a plethora of networks each with their own set of marketing tools and products. Brands can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to their online marketing campaigns.
The challenges are further exacerbated by the rapid pace at which social media evolves. Trends come and go quickly than most brands can jump on them. Social media networks regularly tweak their algorithms and that means a strategy that may have previously been working for a brand may no longer work in the future.
Despite the rapid pace at which the social media landscape can change, trends continue to be constant. They may be fleeting, spurred by a meme or event, or they could last for months. On a wider scale, trends may also emerge from changes that these social media networks introduce to their products and services.
Therefore, it’s imperative for marketers to stay on top of these changes. The new year certainly brings a need to revamp strategies so that brands are able to extract the most value out of their campaigns. In our view, these are the top 5 social media trends to prepare for in 2022.
- Rise of shopping on social media platforms
A lot has changed in the way people shop for goods and services online over the past decade. Gone are the days when an online store used to be the only channel to sell your products online. The advancement of social media networks has unlocked new opportunities for brands to sell directly to their intended demographic.
Top networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have all developed robust features that enable businesses to sell their products online. People have responded positively to the ability of shopping for goods directly through a social media network. This is one trend that’s likely going to surge even more in 2022.
The pandemic has also played a role in the surge of this trend. Shopping was increasingly being done online as the world was locked indoors. Social media networks facilitated this need with new tools that made the shopping experience easier, people could now buy their favorite items without even having to leave their social media network.
In the United States alone, the number of social commerce buyers crossed 80 million last year. The younger demographic in particular is more inclined to purchase things through social networks. Instagram remains one of the highly used platforms for social commerce.
If you sell products online, consider the shopping tools that these social media networks have developed. This provides you with an incredible opportunity to reach a wider demographic for your products.
- Augmented reality goes mainstream
Augmented reality projects have existed for several years now but they haven’t really evolved beyond being a niche product. It was largely the early adopters who bought into the augmented reality craze when it first emerged on the market.
In 2022, both augmented and virtual reality are likely to go mainstream, and a lot of it will have to do with the metaverse. The metaverse does sound like the buzzword that will define 2022. The public’s understanding of the concept is still in its early stages but the incredible hype around it is driving more and more people to get interested in the metaverse.
AR and VR both tie into the metaverse as major companies like Facebook are developing experiences that will help people connect with the people they love in a completely virtual setting. As such, you also find brands lining up to grab their spot in the metaverse as more people flock to the virtual world.
Brands, particularly those that are tech-forward, should absolutely leverage this trend to put them in a position to gain the first mover advantage. The AR and VR experiences around the metaverse are still being developed and this provides brands with the opportunity to become leaders in this space.
- Influencer marketing will continue to grow
People love to follow content creators online that produce content that resonates with them. This has led to the creation of the multi-billion dollar industry known as influencer marketing. It didn’t exist before social networks were a thing but has grown significantly over the past decade or so.
It won’t be surprising to see influencer marketing go from strength to strength in 2022. Creators have become more savvy and now have a wide variety of tools and networks at their disposal to grow their following.
The large influencers will continue to charge top dollar for campaigns, providing brands with access to a highly qualified demographic that’s receptive to recommendations from the creators that they like to follow.
Brands must expand on their influencer marketing efforts in 2022 to take maximum advantage from this surging trend. Their strategy shouldn’t rely on top influencers only. There’s incredible value to be had by collaborating with micro-influencers as well.
Often influencers with small but extremely engaged followers can help deliver better results on campaigns than those who may have a large following but not a lot of engagement on their content.
- Short form video content reigns supreme
By now, everybody knows that video content tends to perform better online compared to anything else. People just love consuming video on their mobile devices and brands have responded effectively to this change in consumer behavior.
However, over the past few years, there has been a surge in the popularity of short form video content. So it remains a top social media trend to watch in 2022. The explosive growth of TikTok is one of the reasons why short form video content will become even more powerful this year.
Many companies have tried to replicate TikTok’s success. Instagram wants similar short form content on its app even though Instagram Stories has been around for longer and is proven to be effective.
You’ll find short form video support on most major social networks. Utilize that as much as possible to expand your reach not only with people who are already connected to your brand to also with those who may never have heard about it.
- Share more User Generated Content (UGC)
You may not know it, but your followers will most likely jump at the chance to provide you with unique content about your product or service that you can then share on your social media channels. User Generated Content is increasingly becoming popular and brands have now started making it a central pillar of their online marketing strategy.
Studies have shown brands that incorporate UGS tend to see a 20% increase in return visitors in addition to a staggering 90% increase in time spent by customers on their website. These stats alone explain why UGC may be one of the most important 2022 social media trends.
Brands can gain a lot of benefit from UGC. Firstly, it tends to be a lot cheaper than conventional advertising. It also appears more relatable. Any new customers who see content from existing users who have paid money for your product advocating about it are likely to take a chance on your product. UGC adds an element of authenticity to your product that’s completely unique.
Fill your social media feeds with more UGC. Give your customers an incentive to share it with you and see how it leads to an increase in engagement.
This list is obviously not exhaustive and it doesn’t cover all of the 2022 social media trends that may emerge. There may be others, some entirely new, but brands must remember that need to be prepared to pounce.
On some trends, there may be a very short window of opportunity to get the maximum benefit out of it. Often, these opportunities led to content going viral and generating a lot of positive buzz, which is always a great outcome for brands.