Predicting the future of social media is always fun. The sector is changing almost every day, with new utilities and tools being rolled out, adding more ways to connect, track and maximize your online marketing performance. Saying that most people spend a good part of their days on social media would not be an understatement. Not nowadays in this world. Social media has become an integral part of our lives and everyday routines. Some are so addicted to it that the first thing they do after waking up is to check their social media feeds.
Given the importance of social media in consumers’ lives, marketers and businesses flock to social platforms in the hope of connecting with their target customers. However, there is a content overload on social media, and the competition is very high. It can be complex or challenging for you to stand out unless you have a clear social media marketing plan or strategy. Staying updated on the latest social media trends can help fuel your strategy/plan and make you stand out in the crowd. In the meantime, here are 10 of the most important social media trends that you need to be aware of for 2022 and beyond.
1. TikTok WILL BECOME HUGE
While Instagram is still a firm favourite, TikTok is moving up in the ranks. Plus, considering that short-form video content will become more popular, TikTok is the ideal platform to use in 2022. TikTok has also launched several valuable tools, like ads and business profiles explicitly aimed at businesses during the past two years. So, it’s no longer just a platform where young creators can show off their latest dance moves. All in all, it’s set to become one of the main platforms that brands can use to reach millennials and Gen Z.
2. SMALLER NETWORKS WILL BECOME POPULAR FOR ADS
TikTok isn’t the only “smaller platform” that’s catching the attention of consumers and brands. Pinterest and Snapchat are also gaining in popularity. According to data shared by Pinterest Business, ads on their platform can generate twice the return on ad spend for retail brands, compared to other social media channels. At the same time, Snapchat isn’t as popular for marketing like Facebook and Instagram. Snapchat advertising statistics show that the potential advertising audience on Snapchat has increased notably. Also, considering Apple’s announcement earlier in 2021 that it will block the ability of Facebook to target a significant segment of its users, it’s vital that brands start to look at other platforms.
3. SOCIAL COMMERCE WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE
Brands have long used social media like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook to sell their products. This year, though, the ability to buy products directly via social media will become a model. Gone are the days that it will be used only by innovative brands. In fact, eMarketer anticipates that the social commerce industry will be worth $80 billion by 2025. Social networks are continuously evolving from shoppable posts to Instagram Storefronts to become retail platforms. Brands and marketers will continue to leverage these and incorporate social commerce in their sales strategies in 2022. So, when designing your user experience, be sure to give some serious thought to this, even if it’s only for your most popular items. Nevertheless, your goal should be to create a frictionless shopping experience and having to switch to a website when browsing social media might just soon become one too many clicks for your target audience.
4. REACHING NEW AUDIENCES WILL BECOME A PRIMARY GOAL
According to research completed by HubSpot, the main social media goals of most marketers this year will be to reach new audiences, grow relationships with customers, and boost customer service. These goals focused more on boosting sales and advertising products in the past. So, it’s anticipated that there will be a clear shift in how brands will use social media moving forward. Instead of using it purely for advertising, it will also be used as a channel for deeper customer relations.
5. VIDEO CONTENT WILL CONTINUE TO DOMINATE
Video content remains one of the most engaging forms of content. Of all online, 82% of content will be video content by this year, that’s according to a Cisco study. This clearly shows how important it is to start utilizing video content to stay relevant in the social media domain. If you’re not currently creating videos, it’s time that you include them in your content strategy. In the near future, videos will dominate social media and anyone who doesn’t realize that will have a tough time. What is important to keep in mind for the future, though? Is that long-form content is no longer the way to go? You simply have to look at the success of Stories, Reels and TikTok to realize that engaging short-form videos are the preferred choice of consumers.
6. SOCIAL AUDIO WILL BECOME MORE POPULAR
Since Clubhouse was launched in 2020, it has become increasingly popular. In June last year, Facebook followed suit by officially launching its Live Audio Rooms and Podcasts in the US. And, brands are taking notice. More than 74% of businesses indicated in Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Media Trends survey that they’re planning to invest in audio-only content in the next year. The same survey revealed that hosting an audio live stream as a thought leader was the most popular strategy.
That being said, at this stage, the trend has not yet caught the attention of smaller businesses, especially considering that it’s not the most affordable form of content marketing. It might only be an audio clip, but there’s still a lot of time and expertise that go into creating audio content.
7. PAID ADVERTISING WILL BECOME NECESSARY
More than 40% of respondents indicated that the decline in organic reach and the need to spend more on paid advertising were their biggest challenges ( that’s according to Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Media Trends survey). Considering that the average organic reach for a Facebook post is just slightly over 5%, according to Hootsuite data, it makes sense why paid advertising will be necessary.
8. AUGMENTED REALITY WILL BECOMEMORE MAINSTREAM
Social media will see a rise in the adoption of technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality(VR). As these platforms grow, users will demand better and more engaging experiences, and these technologies can make that happen. While VR adoption in social media might still be at an early stage, the same can’t be said for AR. Augmented reality filters are now being used on several major platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. These were introduced to enhance the visual content shared on social media and are widely popular.
Augmented reality enhances our reality by adding digital elements to it and changing the way things actually look. Social media platforms have found interesting use cases for this technology and started leveraging it nowadays. Instagram, for example, uses augmented reality for its numerous photo filters. We’ve all seen those filters that can add makeup to your face or sunglasses or bunny ears, right? Maybe too many of those posts already. That’s nothing but an application of augmented reality for social media.
These applications of AR on social media are not limited just to photo filters to post fun posts and stories. Brands can also leverage augmented reality to provide better shopping experiences to their customers. It’s becoming more common for brands to use AR so that people can try out products beforehand. However, according to The Drum, AR can boost click-through rates by as much as 33%.
Augmented reality can have a lot of potential social media applications for brands. And this trend will be further driven by social media platforms’ continuous effort to add more AR functionalities. This technology is definitely only set to grow in the next few years.
9. INCREASE IN THE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE
Social media has traditionally been a place for people to connect with their social networks and share photos and videos. However, those days are long gone, and social media is now so much more than just that.
10. INFLUENCER MARKETING WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP
Influencer marketing isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that is going to stay for a while. Nowadays, social media is dominated by influencers who are getting paid inflated amounts to promote brands. The adoption of this trend can be seen from both perspectives. Not only is there the sheer rise in the number of influencers on social media, but there’s also an increase in marketing spend on influencer marketing by businesses.
Investing in influencers is much cheaper than running paid ad campaigns, yet it delivers good results. Moreover, influencers can help marketers achieve various marketing goals and not just generate leads. These are two main reasons why it has become so popular and is continuously getting more robust and bolder. Marketers aren’t just collaborating with 1-2 influencers now but are working with a whole network of small, relevant niche influencers. This kind of influencer gets much higher engagement and costs much less. Going forward, more and more marketers will use this strategy and work with multiple smaller influencers instead of a celebrity.
Social media marketing is entering a new era, which is increasingly being driven by technological developments. In order to accommodate these new technologies, brands need to build a cohesive marketing technology stack.
The good news is that social media marketing technology is advancing at a fast pace to meet the demands for more innovative, more integrated, cross-platform and machine learning- enhanced marketing software. The web is getting faster and engaging the customer is getting even more challenging. The answer to this lies in building a cross-platform presence and utilizing aggregated data from all channels for an advanced understanding of your market.