The holidays are right around the corner, which means that it will be 2022 in no time. As this year comes to an end, we naturally start focusing on what the next year will bring- and the world of social media marketing is now something that we need to factor in for businesses and brands.
We all know that the realm of social media has changed so much over the past few years that it actually has become challenging to stay on top of the game. The only foolproof way to be prepared is for marketers to successfully predict the next big trends in social media for the new year and beyond, and position themselves to capitalize on said trends.
With that said, let’s get into it!
The Top 10 Social Media Trends and Predictions for 2022
Social Commerce Will Go Mainstream
One of the big things that we noted during the COVID-19 pandemic was the increase of social selling. Selling through social media became so popular that social networks expanded on their in-platform shopping tools to help businesses sell items directly from their networks. While this is still a fairly new development, it’s definitely picking up steam.
Now we have Facebook Marketplace, Instagram shoppable posts, and Pinterest buyable pins just to name a few. On top of this, there are also Facebook and WhatsApp groups dedicated to social selling as well!
We know that you might be asking – “Are people actually buying from social media?” The answer is yes, yes they are indeed. You may have not even realized it, but there’s a good chance that you’ve messaged someone via Instagram or Facebook to purchase a product or two before.
One of the best aspects of social buying is the speed. You can send brands a DM and get instantaneous responses and updates — think of it like having a virtual shopping assistant! Recent research has shown that social commerce business is worth $89.4 billion. Think that’s a lot? Well, in the next seven years, it is expected to increase to $604.5 billion!
If you’re selling products or services, we recommend ramping up your social media e-commerce strategy ASAP!
Video is Still King
In early 2020, we all found out that video had become the most commonly used type of marketing content. In fact, it was up as the second with the most engagement. Video isn’t going anywhere. This will not change. Actually, it will most likely increase as the new year approaches
With the top social platforms, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, increasing their video capabilities with stories, reels, etc.) content creators and brands can safely anticipate more video consumption amidst consumers.
Live Streams and Stories Will Continue
Since the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, live streams have become incredibly popular. It’s quite clear that the trends of lives, reels, and podcasts will continue into 2022 and beyond.
A cool thing you can do to capitalize on this is to give your followers some behind-the-scenes insights into your business operations through live streams. With both Facebook and Instagram, customers can engage with short-lived content, like stories. The exclusive availability of such content will attract your customers.
The other thing that has (unfortunately) started trending over these past few years is “fake news” or misinformation. With that said, we think it’s pretty safe to say that social media giants will become more vocal with addressing issues head on. In fact, we’ve already seen some progress.
Facebook has made mention that machine learning is being used by their response teams to aid in the detection of fraud and the enforcement. This is for regulations against inauthentic spam accounts.
They are also working with partners and independent third-party fact-checking organizations. Most recently, Facebook used a tool they call “viral content review system.” This tool restricts the spread of a story while it’s being investigated. However, it’s important to note that this is clearly not enough – and there will always be some sort of collateral damage.
In fact, did you know that when Instagram launched an algorithm to fight fake news, they actually inadvertently ended up hurting digital artists? So, it’s safe to say that we still have a long way to go here. We need to find ways to address this issue without endangering freedom of expression and investigative journalism.
The Rise of The Influencer
Much to nobody’s surprise, influencers will continue to dominate all social platforms. Instagram and TikTok are producing influencers with thousands to millions of followers, and brands have to prioritize incorporating them into social media.
Influencers will become critical in not just business-to-consumer markets, but also with business-to-business as well. Right now, 89% of B2B marketers use social media to share content with their audiences, which is great! However, they use only 24% influencers as part of their strategy. In the very near future, these internet personas will rise to become an even bigger part of B2B social marketing.
Make The Way for Gen Z!
Gen Z is slowly but surely taking over the world. At least they’re reinventing the world of social media marketing. According to the World Economic Forum, these kids… (hey, they’re kids to us) log on to social media for roughly two hours and 55 minutes each day- this is almost an hour longer than the average millennials. So, to not include them in your digital marketing strategy truly is a missed opportunity.
Part of making them included means truly understanding this “unique” audience and their needs. The Generation Z’ers are trying to save the world. They prefer brands that advocate for social causes, those who are more emotionally aware. They value authenticity. Is your brand showing all of this? If you’re trying to appeal to this new generation, it needs to be.
We predict that brands who are investing heavily in customer insights and strategy will really cater to this generation- even if it requires some adjusting.
Customer Service is Key
An additional big social media trend that’s emerging is the importance of your social’s customer service. Now, we know what you might be asking – hasn’t this always been important? Yes, but according to Sprout Social, 49% of consumers say that they unfollow brands with poor customer service. This high number indicates that social marketers can’t risk having negative feedback from their social following.
You need to have a designated person who can be in charge of responding to comments and DMs, resolving issues, and answering questions. If this is not something that your brand your business doesn’t have now, it’s time to prioritize it.
Sales & Marketing Will Be Together
For as often as we talk about sales & marketing together, these departments tend to work independently of each other. The old way of doing things was that marketers would focus on guiding buyers through the early stages of the buyer’s journey, and then the sales team would take over and close the deal. The issue with this is, which attribution model do you implement to make sure you’re crediting the teams fairly?
Yes, it’s incredibly important to guide the buyer and create brand awareness in order to make a sale. This makes the marketer’s work even more significant. However, all the brand awareness could also lead to no sales, which is why sales plays a huge part in the bottom line conversion.
This is why the marketing-sales alignment is the answer to providing a seamless customer experience.
Going back to what we said about the social media in-shopping features, marketers have more power than ever to bring the customer throughout the entire funnel to conversion and retention. You couple this with the fact that a sophisticated customer doesn’t appreciate companies being too “salesy” or any kind of hard-selling techniques… it’s got all the fixings.
There is more of a need than ever to reach “smartketing” in the upcoming year(s).
Social Ads Will Become A Bigger Deal
In the coming year alone, social media ads will continue to increase in effectiveness and popularity. Recent stats have shown that social ads have become more compelling because of how social networks leverage user information. This includes browsing habits or demographics which help provide them with advertisements that will actually speak to them and make them purchase.
With all of these new data capabilities allowing for this to happen, it’s important to keep stay in the know for what social ads are putting out.
In spite of the ever-changing landscape of social media, planning for the long term is never a bad idea. It is important that you know how to correctly predict which trends are bound to blow up, and which ones will quietly tiptoe away.
We know that we will be keeping our eyes peeled for major news and updates. After all, the only way to not get left behind is if you are the first one to arrive in the future!