In this article, we summarize the most important 2022 social media trends that will drive digital content and strategies next year.
We have reached that time of the year in which the major marketing players publish reports on the main trends in the digital world for the following year. Important data and insights – obtained through surveys and interviews with industry experts – which help us fully understand the digital world and adjust the focus of our communication strategies.
So, let’s inaugurate this series of articles on next year’s marketing trends by talking about 2022 Social Media Trends.
Table of contents
TikTok will continue to grow and other apps will adapt
TikTok was the first non-Facebook-owned app to reach 3 billion downloads globally. Just by this we should understand the power of this social network, which is based on user-generated content (UGC), leading to very high levels of engagement and cross-platform sharing. When we spoke of 2021 social media trends, we mentioned the importance of such content, the role that TikTok plays in promoting it and the fact that more and more apps will adapt to try to imitate TikTok, as Instagram has already done with Reels.
Today, we can say that this trend has been confirmed and shows no signs of dying out, especially since TikTok is launching further innovations, including the e-commerce aspect, new monetization models and #TikTokResumes, a new feature that will allow users to upload their CV and apply for a job directly through the platform. The hashtag launched to promote the initiative is already attracting the attention of younger people who will surely use their creativity to apply and stand out in the eyes of employers.
Therefore, what we will see will be an even more widespread dissemination of TikTok-style content, not only on TikTok itself but also on all other platforms (as it already happens, to the point that Instagram has come to penalize the content reposted directly with the TikTok watermark). For this reason, other apps will adapt to host similar content, while inspiring users to create it.
Therefore, if our target is on TikTok, it’s more important than ever to follow this trend, abandoning the more traditional forms of communication and embracing new formats but without distorting the brand. The consequence of the success of TikTok-style content is also clearly visible at the advertising level: despite the fact that we come from reduced budget times, the largest increases in advertising spending compared to last year were assigned to TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat. Marketers are shifting their assets to where they can make the most impact, and increasingly, this is happening on platforms that weren’t prioritized in the marketing mix before.
Therefore, our creativity must not fail when it comes to advertising: brands that want to stand out in 2022 will have to commit to creating ads that reflect and enrich the experience offered by each social network.
To keep up with all these changes, it is clear that we will have to accept the need of experimenting, without focusing too much on the metrics, making mistakes and trying again and again.
Social Selling will take on a leading role
Thanks to the collaboration with Shopify, Instagram introduced Shoppable Posts in 2018, which allow users to purchase products without leaving the app, with a simple touch. Since then, the goal of the main social apps has been to offer users the ability to buy quickly and easily, without redirecting to other sites.
For this reason, on the eve of 2022, brands that sell online should re-evaluate their sales funnel and consider taking advantage of social selling opportunities through posts, stories, reels, etc. Clearly, the rule always applies that the easier and faster the purchase process, the more chances we will have of concluding the sale. Furthermore, it will also be important to provide support through chatbots and verify through analysis tools that the costumer journey is as smooth as possible.
To be successful in social selling we will have to speak the same language as users and in particular that of our audience, by creating content that attracts their attention but also by exploiting user-generated content. In fact, UGC is an effective way to sell on social media as they generate trust in the brand, while increasing engagement.
However, if on the one hand social networks have become the heart of shopping, on the other, brands must commit to offering, through social media, a punctual and efficient customer service.
In fact, consumers, tired of waiting, have discovered that the customer service provided via social media is immediate, convenient and effective, and they prefer it: in a Nielsen survey commissioned by Facebook, 64% of people said they prefer to send messages rather than calling a company. The pressure on companies to adapt to as many digital support channels as possible is therefore skyrocketing.
But it’s not just customers who expect their needs to be met on social media: some regulatory bodies, such as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, are starting to require organizations to provide support through customer-preferred channels.
In this context, it is also important to remember another factor: our customers don’t make the distinction between customer service, marketing or sales team. For them, every interaction is simply an experience with the brand. It is therefore important to ensure that the various teams work in tandem and communicate without constraints, so that they can easily and immediately deal with requests and mitigate any problem.
The way we advertise and manage the privacy narrative will change
At the time of the war on cookies and the tracking policies adopted so far, learning to balance the need to offer personalized services and the need to obtain the consent of users, acting in accordance with the new regulations, will be of primary importance.
As we have already seen when talking about digital marketing trends of 2021, people are, in fact, worried about their online privacy. However, such concerns do not seem to translate into a more conscious behaviour for the time being. This was demonstrated by an experiment by Security.org, which added the right to name the user’s first child in the consent form. 98% of users agreed to.
The truth is that many times the language of privacy policies is too complicated and verbose and people have neither the time nor the desire to read them. However, with privacy policies changing and the need to address user concerns, brands will need to take matters into their own hands and set a strategy. This presents a challenge as well as an opportunity: that of rewriting the privacy narrative, using a more concise and direct language and building a relationship of real trust with users.
One of the ways to do this and advertise our brand at the same time is to recognize that consumers trust other consumers more than brands. Therefore, UGCs must once again be part of our strategy to address both growing user concerns and the fact that advertising is changing.
In addition to user-generated content, we can also take advantage of influencer marketing, which to date remains one of the promotional forms with the highest return on investment, capable of generating high engagement rates without being invasive, and increasing the credibility of a brand.
TO LEARN MORE: Influencer marketing: how it works and how it has evolved
The metaverse will be the future
Driven by the world of gaming, the metaverse is a fusion of the physical world, augmented reality and virtual and, according to Mark Zuckerberg (and many others), it will be the future.
Many brands, from fashion to automotive, have already exploited the metaverse to launch their products, offering the public an immersive experience and investing heavily in this new technological challenge.
Then we have the recent launch of Meta, which brings together all the apps and technologies owned by Zuckerberg under a new corporate brand. Meta’s goal, as stated in the official press release, will be to bring the metaverse to life and help people connect, find communities and grow businesses.
The metaverse will be a hybrid of today’s online social experiences, which will embrace both a three-dimensional and physical world, allowing users to live different immersive experiences, from social connection, to entertainment, to games, to fitness, to work, to education, right up to business.
Considering that Zuckerberg owns some of the most widely used social apps in the world today, it is clear that this new project will have significant proportions and consequences for anyone who does online marketing.
Having said that, we must always keep in mind that projects for their own sake lead nowhere: our audience will not be interested in our brand, our platform or our space if what we have built does not actually meet their actual needs nor their interests. So, let’s not get carried away by the enthusiasm of these new digital and technological revolutions but, before diving into the metaverse and the infinite possibilities it offers, let’s take the right time to reflect and gather information on consumers.
Brands will need to be attentive to social issues
Environmental sustainability was perhaps the first major topic of social interest to be embraced also at a corporate level. To such an extent that in some cases we speak of greenwashing, a term that indicates all those marketing and communication strategies aimed at presenting a company as eco-sustainable when in reality it is not.
Today, however, the time for bla bla bla – to put it as Greta Thunberg did – is over: whether we are talking about environmental sustainability, racial issues or gender inclusiveness, brands will have to have an opinion on it because that is what consumers expect and what they will be judged for.
Having said that, one does not become socially aware and inclusive overnight. You need to devote time, research and commitment to seriously and sincerely engage not only your audience on the issues of greatest interest but also the entire company.
Therefore, let’s not imitate the popular sentiment to keep our audience engaged but let’s strive to be a truly inclusive and aware brand.
The power (and potential) of communities will grow
As mentioned, the line between digital and physical is becoming more and more blurred and younger generations are driving this change, by networking and sharing online. All social networks are moving in this direction, just think of the aforementioned metaverse but also of the new Twitter Communities, which aims to offer people a virtual place to connect, share and get closer to the discussions they care about the most.
Last year we wrote about how brands focused on listening and finding their place within the conversation before making their voices heard online. This year, we need to take it one step further: not only do we need to listen to what people say within the online communities we address, but also actively support the content creators who bring those communities to life. This means building trust by investing in partner creators, taking the lead in distributing their content and amplifying it across our channels.
So, instead of trying to create a community from scratch – which requires time and money that are not always available – it is better to introduce ourselves and tap into existing creator communities to learn more about our customers, simplify content creation and increase brand awareness and affinity.
What do you think of these trends? Let us know with a comment and contact us for more information on our social media management services.