Here in the digital age, there’s no such thing as a successful marketing campaign that ignores the importance of social media.
Modern consumers don’t just rely on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep in touch with their friends and relatives or connect with audiences of their own.
They also use them to research products they’re considering and build connections with brands they’re interested in, making it a must for businesses across every industry.
But establishing a solid social media presence isn’t something you do just once.
Algorithms undergo constant updates, and trends come and go. The expectations and tastes of your audience are constantly evolving, as well, so staying ahead of the curve is a must.
Here’s a look at some of the most critical social media trends for 2022, straight from the experts.
1. TikTok is going to be a huge deal
Don’t worry. If your marketing team has invested a lot of time and energy into your successful Instagram branding campaign, you should know your favorite platform is set to remain a top pick for a long time to come.
But it’s officially time to start looking at TikTok as an essential place to be, as well, if you haven’t already done so.
Shortform video is red hot right now and getting hotter all the time, and TikTok is the ideal place for it.
Plus, TikTok has launched a wealth of valuable tools for brands over the past couple of years. (Think dedicated business profiles and sleek new advertising options.)
TikTok is a clear favorite among millennials and Gen Z consumers, as well, so you absolutely need to be there if you’re looking to tap into that market.
2. Social audio will become a mainstay
If you were around for the launch of Clubhouse in 2020, then you no doubt remember how huge it was.
And if there was any doubt as to whether the trendy audio room platform would actually stick around, the writing was officially on the wall when both Facebook and Twitter introduced similar features of their own.
The appeal of audio rooms isn’t going anywhere in 2022, and top brands everywhere have noticed in a big way.
In a recent survey conducted by Hootsuite, nearly 75 percent of businesses polled said they’d be integrating social audio into their 2022 marketing plans.
So making sure yours is one of them would be a smart move indeed.
3. Purpose and empathy will remain important in marketing
After two years and counting with the COVID pandemic front and center, people’s priorities have changed to fit the times.
That said, businesses that took an empathetic, people-first approach to marketing hit all the right notes with modern consumers and reaped the benefits.
And since it’s likely that new COVID variants and waves will continue to make headlines throughout 2022, intelligent marketers would do well to plan ahead.
Campaigns that continue to incorporate the “4 Cs of COVID” (community, compassion, contactless, and cleanliness) into their marketing messages and brand practices where warranted will continue to do very well.
So will empathy-based branding and campaigns that place more significant social causes at their core.
4. Reels will become more important for Instagram campaigns
Instagram has already embraced video to a greater and greater extent over the past few years, but their Reels feature is blowing up in a big way right now.
It’s Insta’s latest attempt to satisfy its users’ growing hunger for video content, it’s a huge success, and it’s set to be an essential part of any business’s Instagram marketing plans in 2022.
Keep in mind that although modern consumers still love getting lost in genuinely amazing content, their attention spans are growing ever shorter.
As a result, quick, concise, and fresh are the orders of the day, so look into using Reels to develop entertaining short-form videos with impact to better connect with your target audience.
5. Use of social media for customer service will increase
These days, people aren’t just used to using social media to connect with their favorite brands. They actually expect it, so it’s increasingly important that brands make themselves accessible.
Yes, that still means producing a steady stream of great content and engaging with those who interact with it, but it’s no longer the whole picture.
Both existing and potential customers are using platforms like Facebook or Twitter to reach out to brands with questions and concerns for many reasons.
Some do it to reach someone when other channels have failed, but there are definitely those that simply prefer the directness social media brings to the table.
By the time 2023 rolls around, experts estimate that 60 percent of all customer service requests will be resolved over social media, so take note now.
6. Facebook users will pivot toward niche experiences
Even with the meteoric rise of platforms like Instagram and TikTok, Facebook remains the world’s most widely-used social network, with over 2.9 billion active users to its credit.
However, the fact that people still clearly love what this social media veteran has to offer doesn’t mean their tastes aren’t changing.
Social media users, in general, have begun to crave experiences that are more personal, intimate, and niched, which happens to be something Facebook does well.
Brands that market on Facebook should pay special attention to Facebook Live, Facebook Groups, and Facebook Audio Rooms, as they’ll become critical ways to connect with your audience there in 2022.
7. Nostalgia-based marketing campaigns will be massive
Speaking of ways the pandemic has changed the face of marketing over the past couple of years, lockdowns and numerous restrictions have everyone wistfully remembering when.
Some are merely reminiscing about pre-COVID days and hoping to see them again soon. But others are waxing nostalgic about their childhoods and eras long gone by.
Savvy marketers have been taking note and catering to that shift to the tune of fantastic success.
In 2022, look for ways to leverage the power of nostalgia in your brand’s marketing campaigns.
People are looking for ways to disconnect from the harshness of the current reality and make new positive memories by revisiting old ones.
Consider ways your products and services can help them do that to help pandemic-weary consumers associate you with some of the most powerful positive feelings out there.
8. Geo-targeting will be a bigger thing for advertising
Localized digital marketing has always been a big deal for business owners who need to focus on getting customers through the doors of a traditional brick-and-mortar location, but that’s not all.
Geo-targeting is a mainstay on social media, as well, which you’ll continue to see to an increasing degree throughout 2022 and beyond.
Explore ways to reach your existing clientele by adding locations to your content, as well as tap into new demographics from fresh locations.
And, of course, geo-targeting is a must for sponsored posts, especially for businesses that can benefit from marketing to one or more specific locales.
9. Social commerce will not only stay popular but expand
Convenience is king in today’s digital world, so it’s essential to make the experience of buying from you as friction-free as possible for your customers.
The recent rise of social commerce has made it easier than ever to do that, as consumers can now complete purchases without even leaving the social media platform where they found it.
So if you haven’t already done so, look for ways to integrate options like Facebook storefronts, shoppable Instagram posts, and so forth into how you connect people to your products.
Remember, attention spans are getting shorter as life becomes more convenient for modern consumers.
Having to click through to a particular website to complete a purchase could soon become a deal-breaker no matter how great the product.
10. Influencer marketing will continue to be essential
These days, it’s almost impossible to think about social media marketing without also thinking about influencer culture, as the two now go hand in hand.
And even more importantly, this is a trend that will stay very relevant as we proceed into 2022 and beyond. So if you’re not already using influencers in your marketing campaigns, start.
Influencer marketing really does offer brands the best of every world. It’s inexpensive, especially in comparison to more traditional advertising options.
However, it’s also highly effective and a reliable way to reach the coveted millennial and Gen Z demographics.
You don’t necessarily need to connect with huge mega-influencers to see these results, either.
Micro-influencers actually tend to have stronger, more intimate bonds with their audiences, leading to higher overall conversion rates for sponsors.
11. Personalization will become a must
Personalized digital experiences are far from new, but they’ve become increasingly important over the years.
Now they’ve officially reached a point where they’re considered essential, meaning their absence could make or break a brand’s marketing campaign.
People expect a tailored experience in practically every instance these days, including on social media.
Naturally, you won’t be able to tailor all of your everyday posts to every possible demographic, but you can certainly embrace the benefits of personalized social media ads.
Such ads are ideal ways to show the right message to precisely the right person at the opportune time, so use them to your advantage in 2022 and beyond.
12. User-generated content will stay extremely popular
Partnering with everyday users across social media has been the secret sauce to social media success for a while now, and it will stay huge in 2022.
In fact, you should expect it to grow as more and more brands embrace user-generated content and integrate it into their ongoing marketing strategies.
Today’s consumers love feeling like they’re part of the story behind their favorite brands and user-generated social media content helps them do that while boosting your bottom line.
You don’t necessarily have to follow in the footsteps of brands like Airbnb and rely entirely on user-generated content, but you should look for ways to place it front and center.
For example, encourage your users to take photos of themselves using your product and tag your brand.
Create fun, engaging contest-style campaigns and invite your customers to participate. It’s fun for your audience and powerful free advertising for you.
13. Watch for Twitter to jump headfirst into the video craze
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve no doubt noticed that many recent social media trends positively revolve around video.
So surely you didn’t think Twitter wouldn’t be diving in on a major level with new innovations of their own. Video already enjoys massive reach across pretty much every platform, and Twitter is no exception.
To start with, Twitter is already testing its Live Shopping feature and is preparing to make some serious waves with it.
However, you should keep your eyes peeled for even more video-oriented innovations from Twitter in 2022 and beyond.
In other words, if you haven’t already considered making video content part of your Twitter-facing branding campaigns this year, it’s officially time to get started.
14. LinkedIn will be exploring video further, too
LinkedIn may not have been on as many radars for a long while, but 2021 was the year that all changed.
Last year, the professional networking platform transformed itself into a force to be reckoned with and proved itself an ideal destination for brands interested in B2B social media marketing options.
The launch of its celebrated Creator Mode is just one example of moves that have totally put LinkedIn back in the game, but don’t expect them to pump the brakes on the surprises anytime soon.
Expect even more on-trend features to make an appearance throughout 2022, like audio content as well as short-form video.
For instance, LinkedIn recently acquired a video tutorial company called Jumprope, which will undoubtedly come into play.
15. YouTube will embrace the concept of live shopping
Recently, YouTube experimented with the red hot live shopping trend when it launched its new Live Shopping feature and watched it make headlines for the entire week it was available.
However, many marketing experts are optimistic we haven’t seen the last of it. Watch for it to become a permanent feature at some point in 2022.
For those not in the know, YouTube’s Live Shopping made it possible for viewers to shop straight from the videos they loved.
It also gave creators a way to generate exciting shopping events and embed store links into their videos.
So if YouTube is part of your brand’s marketing strategy and you have a use for such a feature, make some tentative plans now so you can dive right in when the time comes.
16. Inclusivity will be a dominating force
Today’s consumers, especially younger demographics, take social justice and representation very seriously.
Over the past two years, brands and marketers have risen to the occasion by looking for ways to make their approaches more inclusive.
Watch for that trend to not only grow in 2022 but evolve into a full-fledged necessity.
Prioritize staying on top of relevant social trends throughout the year, and look for ways to respectfully integrate them into your branding and marketing efforts.
Today’s consumers are setting higher and higher bars for the brands they buy from, and they want to make sure a brand is committed to social responsibility before reaching for their wallets.
17. Deep personal relationships will remain crucial
The days of generic, impersonal marketing approaches are long over with.
The rise and subsequent ubiquity of social media combined with evolving social values have made the personal route the only way to go.
This approach is more than a flash in the pan, so don’t expect it to go anywhere anytime soon (or ever, for that matter).
Watch for an even clearer shift in how brands use social media to make intimate, mutually enjoyable connections with their audiences.
Empathetic engagement, heartfelt messages, and campaigns that in turn help consumers connect with each other will be massive, as will reaching out to new audiences.
Start planning your advertising campaigns accordingly.
18. You’ll see a lot more of augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) aren’t exactly everywhere yet, but you’re guaranteed to start seeing them more often throughout 2022.
They’re wonderful, immersive ways to let modern consumers enjoy better, uniquely engaging experiences, and expert marketers are already experimenting with ways to make them part of their ongoing strategies.
Consider the way platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat already use augmented reality in their popular photo filters.
And how about the way brands like IKEA use it to let potential customers see how their new furniture might look in their homes before they buy it?
AR is ripe with possibility when it comes to ways it can help brands enchant and delight their audiences, so take note.
Wrap Up: How Does Your Brand Plan to Boost Conversions in 2022?
As you can see, social media will continue to be a pillar of any comprehensive digital marketing campaign in 2022 and beyond.
Fresh new features, exciting innovations, and global shifts toward social awareness will bring with them plenty of opportunities to get ahead of the competition and attract new customers.
And the sooner you start finalizing your initial strategies, the better.
Check out our ebook on effective lead generation for even more great tips for raising conversion rates this year and every year.
You’ll learn about micro versus macro-conversions, valuable tools that will help you meet your goals, and more!