Don’t have the time to stick around and read the entire blog? That’s ok! Here are the key points briefly summarised of the top 5 social media trends in 2022 you should be watching out for.
- 2020 and 2021 saw TikTok explode, completely accelerated by the pandemic. This will continue throughout 2022 and we will likely see other social media platforms begin to emulate aspects of TikTok’s success.
- Influencer marketing has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years. 2022 will mark the start of the majority of businesses allocating large percentages of their online budget towards it. Influencer marketing is here to stay and it is now part of mainstream marketing.
- The further growth of social selling and how the online customer purchase journey will become even more simplified thanks to developments on platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
- With the deadline looming for the use of browser cookies on Google, 2022 will mark an acceleration in businesses shifting away from this practice. More innovative ways of advertising on social media will come to the fore.
- The strengthening of the importance of brand inclusivity and CSR. In the last few years there has been a very clear shift in people’s attitudes to companies who might talk the talk, but do not walk the walk in relation to societal issues. Remaining silent or on the sidelines is no longer an option for many brands.
Social media trends 2022. What is coming around the corner next? Which trends should I be preparing my business for? How do I prepare for the next big thing? Where do I need to be present online?
2021, hand-in-hand with the pandemic, saw continued growth on social media platforms as people are still spending longer amounts of time on their phone than pre-pandemic levels. We have come to grips with what now seems to be the “new normal”, 2022 will follow similar patterns to 2020 and 2021 on social media.
We have put together five key social media trends in 2022 that we believe will be hugely significant for the industry. There are of course many trends to be watching out for and some will emerge from nowhere in 2022 that nobody saw coming. But the five explored here are nailed-on to be big and you can start planning for them now!
#1 The Continued Rise of TikTok.
I think it is pretty obvious now, but just in case there are some who are still not onboard with the TikTok revolution – IT IS HERE TO STAY! It is not just a passing trend. It is not just for teengaers. And it is probably a platform your business could benefit from being active on.
Earlier in the year we wrote a blog outlining 6 top tips for businesses who are looking to start out on their TikTok journey. You can read that blog here.
TikTok recently released their stats for the first half of 2021 and they are incredibly impressive.
They reached 3billion downloads globally, becoming the first non-Facebook owned platform to do so. Compared to the first half of 2020, TikTok experienced an increase of 61% in online mentions in the same period in 2021. And forecasts suggest that these figures show no sign of slowing down.
In the very early days TikTok may well have been confined to teenagers lip syncing or posting dance videos, but it has left those days far behind. Some of the things you can now do on TikTok include;
Where businesses can now advertise and sell products directly from their videos with a simple click. (More on social selling to come later in the blog!)
Applying for jobs directly via TikTok. This has been hugely successful and has been seen by Millennials and Gen Z as a creative new way to apply for jobs. #TikTokResume has over 3400 conversations and over 300million views. 93% of these conversations are from people aged 34 and under. You can learn more about TikTok resume here.
On the safety side of things TikTok are also upping their game. They have introduced restrictions on direct messages for teens to help protect them from bullying, harassment, inappropriate content, etc.
It is hard to summarise something as large and complex as TikTok in a couple of sentences, but here goes……
2022 promises to be TikTok’s biggest year to date. As a social media trend in 2022, TikTok will continue to grow and if your target demographic is on it, you need to be on it! Keep up or get left behind.
What can you do right now?
- Familiarise yourself with TikTok.
- Get comfortable with the platform on your personal profile.
- Then look at setting one up for your business.
- Start creating a bank of content (like IG Reels!) that you could share to TikTok once up and running.
#2 Welcome to the Mainstream Influencer Marketing.
Earlier in 2021 we wrote another blog which explored how an influencer marketing campaign was hugely successful for one of our clients. You can read that blog here.
Similarly to TikTok, the pandemic has completely accelerated the growth of the influencer marketing industry. While it has been around a lot longer than the last two years, a significant social media trend in 2022 will see influencer marketing become part of mainstream digital marketing.
New regulations have been introduced to avoid misleading practices by influencers. This means there are fewer risks and better results for businesses who want to engage in the practice. The introduction of tighter regulations was the first major indication that influencer marketing would be going mainstream.
Another key trend in the last couple of years has been the shift away from major influencers towards micro influencers. Paying a high-profile influencer or celebrity huge sums of money just for mass awareness of a product has been largely replaced by targeted micro-influencers who can relate and identify with a certain product. This is more appealing and relatable to that target audience.
In 2021, 67% of influencers surveyed by the Influencer Marketing Hub stated that they are using their social media platforms primarily for influencer marketing. It is being treated as a full-time profession to most. This has led the standards of the marketing to reach much more professional levels. This has benefitted the influencers themselves, but also the businesses whose products are being advertised.
And with 2020 figures like these, it is no wonder that more and more companies have been getting on board;
- In the US the average influencer marketing campaign generated $18 for every dollar spent.
- The average return on investment on influencer marketing was $5.87 for every $1 spent.
- The influencer marketing industry surpassed a valuation of $10 billion at the end of 2020.
- 65% of companies who were participating in influencer marketing planned on increasing their budget in 2021.
No doubt that when 2021’s figures are available they will be even more impressive than the 2020 ones above.
As a result of all of these factors, a social media trend in 2022 will undoubtedly be the mainstream arrival of influencer marketing and the increased spend on it by businesses. If you have not yet included a budget for influencer marketing in 2022, ask yourself why not?
What can you do right now?
- Study your target audience.
- Find out what influencers they follow.
- Begin to compile a list of potential infleuncers you could work with in 2022.
- Review the amount of budget you have allocated influencer marketing for 2022. You may need to increase it!
#3 The Further Growth of Social Selling.
Having spoken about how big a year 2022 will be for TikTok and influencer marketing, this rolls nicely into another social media trend to watch in 2022 – social selling.
Social selling involves any sort of promotion or attempts to sell products or services via social media platforms. Some types of social selling include – influencer marketing, tagged products in posts, “swipe-up” story ads, “link in bio” messages, and so on. There is nothing brand new or groundbreaking in that list, but TikTok has been leading the way in simplifying and growing social selling in recent times.
In the fast-paced online world of 2022, the customer buying journey has to be short and simple. The days of navigating several pages to add to cart or opening external links on browsers are gone. TikTok added the function whereby you can click a link to buy a product featured in a video. It is short and sweet and is the start of what “normal” social selling will look like.
Anyone notice the new feature Instagram added recently? People who are not blue-tick approved can now also add links in IG stories. Why? It is off the back of the success TikTok were having with their own social selling function. Instagram needed to adapt and advance their own version.
A good move on Instagram’s part, as a study showed that 70% of IG users now use the platform to discover and research products. Your business needs to be there to capitalise with information on the product or service, as well as a link to buy the product right there next to it.
Social selling has simplified the customer purchase journey on social media. Further simplification and less buying steps or stages will become the norm throughout 2022. And if you have not already, start trying out these social selling features now!
What can you do right now?
- Begin to familiarise yourself witht the social selling tools across all social media platforms.
- Ask yourself – “Is it easy for my followers to buy directly from my social channels?”.
#4 Goodbye Cookies!
In case you didn’t already know, Google is phasing out the use of cookie technology to track users’ movements online in 2023. It was initially planned to end in 2022 but has been pushed back. You can read the nitty gritty of how this will exactly work here.
In a nutshell for businesses, simply placing a cookie on someone’s browser to track their movements is no longer an option. Creativity will be the order of the day and throughout 2022 you will see businesses place a greater emphasis on;
User Generated Content (UGC)
Online users no longer trust ads. Online users also have less trust in brands even trying to sell organically. What do people trust? Other people! Brands will begin using content served up to them by consumers more often to gain and build trust and relatability. ASOS are just one of many companies who have done an excellent job of this.
Social Selling / Social Commerce
As mentioned previously, social selling will be huge in 2022. With the disappearance of cookies, online content will have to be more engaging and eye-catching than ever before. And once you have gotten people’s attention an option to buy there and then is vital. Look at the trend #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. It features countless products that have gone viral and began directly selling through the TikTok platform. At the time of writing #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt had over 6.4billion views!
Often an underappreciated and underutilised marketing technique, email marketing or mailing lists can be hugely effective. By getting someone onto your list, you have done the hard work! Now keep them there and engaged by serving them up regular news and updates, exclusive sales, generous discounts, etc.
Branded as “lazy marketing” by Toby Daniels (Founder of Social Media Week), cookies are on the way out. If you are still heavily reliant on them as a core part of your marketing strategy, it is time to start pivoting towards other tactics such as the ones mentioned above.
What can you do right now?
- Establish first if you digital marketing techniques are still reliant on cookie technology.
- If so, start planning and implementing alternative ways to reach your customers more effectively.
#5 The Continued Growth of Inclusivity & CSR.
The world has become a more socially-aware and socially-conscious place. In the last couple of years things like the BLM movement have brought major societal issues under the microscope and social media has amplified it to the world. And for the first time ever, we saw brands and businesses, on mass, respond.
It is clear now that heading into 2022, brands are not able to just stand on the sidelines or remain neutral. People will come after brands online who do not, at the very least, address whichever major societal issue is being discussed. Sometimes the issue might be totally unrelated to them and their business practices, but for many there is still a responsibility to speak-out.
Inclusivity and CSR are now central to all marketing activities. Inclusivity towards minorities. Being socially responsible towards the planet. Being mindful for the future generations. A
nd so on. While the major decisions still may lie with the boardroom, all stakeholders in a business need to play their part. From senior management to the consumers, from suppliers to floor staff, inclusivity and CSR falls on everyone’s shoulders.
And when it is done well, it can have great results. Look at Sure and their #WatchMeMove campaign. They have received great reaction to this campaign which has also included deodorant product innovations such as; one-handed applications, a braille label and magnetic lid closure.
Some simple rules for your business to follow in relation to social inclusivity and CSR;
- Practice what you preach. If you do not, you will be caught out and publicly exposed eventually.
- Keep your finger on the pulse in relation to what issues might be important to your target demographics. You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that ratio.
- Be relatable and don’t try to be something you are not.
- Have a crisis PR plan in place just in case you do ever find yourself on the opposing side of a popular opinion and need to explain yourself.
What can you do right now?
- Follow the pointers above!!
The five key social media trends 2022 mentioned above, we believe, are nailed on to be huge in the coming year. Yes of course you should be paying attention to a whole host of other things across social media, but paying some special attention to these five trends will give you a major leg-up heading into the new year.
The online behaviours learned throughout the pandemic look set to hang around. What is relatable and important to people is changing. How people are buying is also changing. We, as digital marketers, need to stay on top of it or risk being left behind.