Roughly 3.6 billion people use social media globally, and it is only predicted to increase to a massive 4.41 billion in 2025. When examining brands that advertise, social media advertising was seen used by about 83% of marketers and ranked second in success behind SEO marketing.
In this article, we’ll take you through the trends to look forward to and be aware of in 2022 to help you ace the social media marketing game.
Trends to Watch in 2022
1. More User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content (UGC) refers to media created by individual users (on social media or shared directly) rather than by a company or organization, and is a powerful content type for brands looking to add social proof and community focus to their marketing efforts. A post you or your friends share on Instagram would be considered UGC.
This type of content is often free to collect and reuse, plus it is 35% more memorable than other media, and 50% more trusted. It’s also extremely flexible; top brands like Alo Yoga and Lamps Plus use Pixlee’s CRM platform to collect, manage, publish, and measure success from UGC across their marketing channels.
This type of content is hugely prevalent across social media platforms, at your fingertips to reshare on brand accounts like Airbnb does. Consider TikTok — this app is swiftly becoming synonymous with viral content, and there’s no shortage of UGC on TikTok. TikTok’s culture is all about authentic, short videos rather than focusing on refined reviews or stories. Pixlee also lets brands source creator content from TikTok and share it across their marketing channels.
2. Short-Form Video Content Will Reign
When we talk about short-form videos, the first thing you probably think of is TikTok. We all know that it’s a very famous social media platform, and therefore contributes to shaping broader social media marketing trends. Don’t take this at face value, here are the stats to back this up:
- 49% of business videos are less than 60 seconds long
- 66% of video ads are less than a minute
- 68% of consumers will watch a business video if it’s under a minute
The average TikTok user is consuming around 104 individual videos per day, some of which are likely ecommerce or brand-related. Instagram Reels and Youtube Shorts also continue to grow in popularity as short-form video takes over, offering multiple outlets for your brand to experiment with this content type and discover where your audience is most active.
The growth of short-form videos is an element of the growth of user-generated content, as more tutorial and unboxing videos are posted like this user’s post featuring Alo Yoga gear. This means these platforms are an opportunity for your brand to produce and share original content and reshare or engage with community posts as well.
3. The De-Siloing of Social Commerce
Social commerce blends ecommerce and social media best practices as an exciting, profitable development in the retail marketing area. But it’s no longer a one-avenue venture, with social commerce taking a life of its own through a multi-faceted, omnichannel approach.
Social commerce applies to diverse shopping scenarios, ranging from product search, influencers, and mobile pay. The global social commerce market is estimated to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 28.4% from 2021 through 2028.
Brands can take advantage of this integrated approach to social commerce through the following ways:
- Linking your sales to social media engagement by encouraging customers to share their purchase or reviews on social platforms
- Researching in-app checkout and product tagging options
- Featuring Shoppable UGC and shoppable posts from your brand’s own social channels on your ecommerce website
Spiceology features user-generated content from Instagram on its website, using Pixlee to make this content shoppable for site visitors.
4. Growth of AR/VR
Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are becoming more common in social media. After Snapchat pioneered it, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok have launched their lenses, filters, and special effects. In the process, AR is showing its value not only for branding and entertainment but also for ecommerce.
The shutdown of many retail stores because of COVID stimulated many brands to invest more in AR and offer virtual try-on or other experiences that were otherwise typically only available in-store. Brands are also beginning to tie social content itself into AR experiences, like Jones Soda’s Reels campaign that allows customers to scan soda bottle labels with the brand’s app and watch Reels from its community come to life.
Jones Soda also displayed the UGC collected through its Reels campaign in an on-site gallery using Pixlee.
5. The Growth of the Metaverse
Facebook recently announced its rebranding as Meta, an umbrella company brand that Mark Zuckerberg states will help people and businesses grow in a more community-centric environment. ““From now on, we’re going to be metaverse-first, not Facebook-first,” he said.
What does this mean for businesses and how will it impact your social media marketing on the platform? Supposedly, there won’t be much of a shift. “Our apps and their brands aren’t changing either. We’re still the company that designs technology around people,” Zuckerberg adds. This means that the way you interact and market your brand on Facebook won’t change in the immediate future.
Although the impact may not be felt immediately, creators will likely have more ways to express themselves, grow their communities, and reach even more and newer audiences once the ‘metaverse’ officially kicks off.
6. Cross-Platform Integration
Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter have been making changes to support cross-channel content sharing, including messenger API for Instagram, a click-to-chat button on Instagram linking to WhatsApp, and previews of Instagram posts embedded into Tweets. These updates will likely continue to roll out, and brands should keep them on their radars in order to maximize impressions and engagement on the channels where their target audiences are most active.
How can brands make the best of these updates?
- Create cross-platform engagement strategies for direct messaging with customers on Instagram and Facebook.
- Integrate WhatsApp into your digital marketing platform if it’s relevant to your customer base.
- Look for innovative ways to convert customers from multiple platforms and facilitate an omnichannel experience.
7. The Growth of the Creator Economy
Creators are driving conversations on social media as entrepreneurialism becomes increasingly necessary and attainable with the growth of social commerce. 2 million people already pursue content creation as a full-time career, and 49% of consumers depend on influencers for purchase recommendations.
As more people seek out authentic, real experiences within digital communities, there’s an increasing interest in social connection centered around content. Embracing creators by investing in influencer marketing takes on many forms; you can start an ecommerce referral program, partner with micro-influencers, or run a traditional influencer campaign.
Babyletto finds the right influencers for its social campaigns whose values and interests align with the brand’s products.
How can brands act on the growth of the creator economy?
- Champion creativity and empower creators by helping to amplify their voices and hiring them to be part of your campaigns.
- Discover, manage, and launch influencer campaigns with a CRM platform like Pixlee for Creators.
- Let influencers take creative control in the strategy; their ability to generate conversation and excite an audience is unmatched.
8. TikTok as the New TV
Hashtag challenges on TikTok in addition to the app’s overall setup of an endless feed of videos almost make it feel like you’re watching TV. Now, the app has announced TikTok TV, partnering with Smart TV brands to bring the short-form video experience to a living room near you.
Taking advantage of this trend, brands should also ride the popularity of TikTok hashtags by creating their own branded challenges or could even collaborate with creators and influencers for creating sponsored videos. Check out our guide to going viral on TikTok as a brand to create a winning TikTok strategy.
For brands, 2022 is the year of the new “now” consumers.
This is a time of change in many respects, with people looking to evolve from the post-COVID days and to build new opportunities in the ever-adapting market. As seen from the trends that we’ve listed in this article, connection is the key to success, and consumer-centric content and strategy will help you win in 2022.
Mark Quadros is a SaaS content marketer that helps brands create and distribute rad content. On a similar note, Mark loves content and contributes to several authoritative blogs like HubSpot, CoSchedule, Foundr, etc. Connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.