In the two years since the onset of the pandemic, the use of social media has soared. Total social media users increased by almost 10% in 2021, hitting 4.55 billion people worldwide. As most of us continue to live a large chunk of our lives through screens, brands are taking note and shifting the way they promote themselves on these networks.
Whatever the industry or audience, businesses of all sizes can benefit from leveraging this growth to connect with their customers and improve their digital footprint. But social media moves fast. Keeping up with the latest trends and updates can be exhausting. Although we can never be certain what the next year will hold, we’ve put together a list of larger social media trends we are watching to serve as a guide as you build out your 2022 strategy.
1. Short-form Video Reigns Supreme
If the exponential rise of TikTok during the pandemic wasn’t enough, just pop open any social app today and you’ll see the impact video content has. With Meta (Facebook/Instagram’s parent company) announcing “unprecedented competition” and prioritizing their version of short-form videos called Reels, it’s time to face the facts—videos are here to stay.
Around 50% of people say they prefer video over other types of content, yet it only makes up for 14% of the content on Facebook and 11% on Instagram. This creates a massive opportunity for brands to grow their video presence in 2022.
How can I use video for my small business?
Video is all about telling your story and building trust with your audience. Start by introducing who you are and what you do. Give a behind-the-scenes look at the day-to-day of your operations. Introduce your team or create educational content to engage potential customers. Try incorporating popular songs or sounds as it will increase your reach and likelihood to show up organically. Make sure to add closed captioning to all your videos for accessibility and to further engagement from those who don’t keep their volume up!
The key is to use video strategically, as creating content can be a full-time job! Our tip: repurpose old videos, stories, or images to create new, engaging content without having to start from scratch.
2. More Paid Social Advertising
More than 40% of respondents of Hootsuite’s Social Trend survey, indicated that the decline in organic reach and the need to spend more on paid advertising were their biggest challenges in 2022. Paid social advertising is one of the best ways for small businesses to break through the algorithm and directly target their ideal customers. Whether you are looking to increase engagement on your posts, create brand awareness, generate leads, or drive traffic to your website, paid social ads can help you stand out from the crowd.
But a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Consumers are getting smarter when it comes to ads and they don’t want their experience to feel inauthentic as they are scrolling through their feeds. To be effective, marketers and businesses will need to work to create ads that are unique to each platform they are on. For example, what works on TikTok probably won’t work on Facebook or LinkedIn. This is where getting creative and thinking outside the box will serve you well. Get clear on who your intended audience is and what platform they use. Create content that feels organic to that platform, then target them via paid social ads. Make sure to test and refine your ads to get the most out of your budget!
3. Continued E-Commerce Growth
Out of sheer necessity during lockdown, many businesses both big and small were forced to pivot to creating online storefronts. Although people are beginning to shop in person again, this move to e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down.
As platforms like Facebook and Instagram prioritize online shopping, they’ve made adding storefronts to your business’s profile easy through Commerce Manager. Here you can easily upload and keep track of your products manually, through a data feed/spreadsheet, or use a Facebook pixel to import items from your website or Shopify account. You can then decide whether you want customers to be directed to your site to complete the purchase or check-out through the app.
Although Facebook and Instagram still rank as the most effective platforms for e-commerce, in 2022, expect to see Snapchat, Pinterest, and TikTok start pushing more shopping functionality. You may want to consider adding your products to these platforms, especially for businesses targeting those under 30 years old.
4. Push to Improve Customer Service
More shopping online means more reviews and customer interactions via social networks. According to Hootsuite’s Social Trend Survey, nearly 60% of marketers say social customer care has increased in value for their organization over the past year. Customers are learning that response time via messaging on social media or leaving a review will sometimes elicit a faster response. Businesses that respond promptly and personally can help build trustworthy relationships with customers. However, it can turn ugly if public complaints aren’t taken seriously or aren’t dealt with in a timely manner. Stay on top of customer messages, reviews, and comments by organizing a streamlined plan so you aren’t overwhelmed by inquiries.
5. Rise of (Micro)Influencer Marketing
In 2022, influencer marketing isn’t just for massive brands and celebrities. Small businesses can work with local or micro-influencers to promote their services and products. Often this small-scale approach has better results as these influencers generally serve a more niche and engaged audience. Partner with influencers to create organic-looking content on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. This can combat ads feeling fake and can reach new audiences that traditional social advertising might not.
Consider leveraging your employees as “influencers” for your brand; after all, they are your most trusted ambassadors. Encouraging employees to share their authentic experiences with your company or brand to their unique networks can be extremely beneficial. This can be especially helpful on platforms like LinkedIn to help recruit new employees or show off your company culture.
How to Capitalize on Social Trends of 2022
The beauty of social media is its customizability. What is successful for one brand might not work for another. In order to capitalize and stay ahead of your competition, you’ll want to ask yourself, how can these trends help me reach my business goals?
Quality Over Quantity
Long gone are the days of needing to post 3-5 times a day on each platform to stay relevant. Sometimes less really is better. Creating never-ending streams of “meh” content is a waste of you and your follower’s time. Getting clear which platforms are worth your energy and can help you meet your business goals is imperative.
You’ll also want to invest in high-quality photos, graphics, and videos that help you stand out from other lackluster brands. This content can then be tweaked and refurbished across many different platforms to save you time. But be mindful of your audience’s attention span (or lack thereof). As often as you can, deliver your content in shorter, more “snackable” pieces to not overload them in an already info-packed world.
Try Something New
Part of the fun with social media is the short life-cycle of posts, trends, and even platforms! Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and jump on a trend or experiment with what you share. Try adding a short-form video with trending sounds to Facebook or Instagram, or posting a quiz or poll to LinkedIn. Nobody knows your customers better than you—see what they respond to and run with it!
Let Webspec’s Digital Marketing Team Help Strategize
Nobody expects you to run your small business AND keep up with every new social media trend. Leave that to the experts. From social media audits and paid advertising to content creation and management, Webspec’s digital marketing experts will help strategize a unique marketing plan that fits your business’s audience and goals. Connect with our team to get started today!