Social Media Vision 2022 - SEK

19.01.2022
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Social Media Vision 2022

4 major trends I’m focusing on this year

Hello, 2022. Another exciting year in the world of social media is upon us and I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for us. I’m always eager to read all the many blogs about the upcoming year’s social media trends and like to take a moment and chew on them for a while, really get the big picture and contemplate how those trends will affect my job as a social media specialist working with brands. 

I’m sure most of us have now read about the raved social media trends for 2022: expansion of social commerce, the birth of the metaverse, video as the king of content. In this blog, we touch on these and a few other trends; however, we also dive slightly deeper and consider what things should social media professionals include in their social media 2022 vision boards. 

Social keeps blowing our minds with ever-growing user figures. In fact, according to Data Reportal, last year saw over 400 million new users flocking to social media, hiking up the total number of users globally to 4.55 billion. That means on average 13 new users every second. With growing figures, new platforms and features, and changing consumer demands and behaviours, the world of social media is certainly an intriguing one.

Here are 4 things I’m especially focusing on in social media in 2022:

Creator & Community economy

Keep a close eye on this one: the creator economy will act as a community booster. The era of marketing ‘for’ and together ‘with’ creators rather than ‘to’ is here. This means endless opportunities for social media content creation. 

Brands can take a step back from producing everything in-house for every channel, and optimize their strategy by utilizing channel-native and channel-specific creators to create “in-house” and “on-brand” content for them in the long-term not just as a one-off. Ideally, this will not happen by telling a creator how everything should be done but by getting them involved early on in the process and treating them as the expert when it comes to that social media content. (Remember, together and with? Good, just checking.) 

To meet the demands for more authentic content with a human feel, brands should tap into existing creator communities and hire talent from them. These are creators who know all the latest features, trends and already have a captivated audience – they will help you boost social engagement and create channel suitable content. Neal Schaffer, the President of PDCA Social, vouches for this:

“The new normal requires every company to put extreme importance on all things digital marketing. While search and email are two major components of digital marketing that can be done in-house, social media is both the most popular activity people do online as well as the most challenging for businesses.

This is because companies still look at social media as a promotional and advertising channel rather than as a grand arena to collaborate with social media users, primarily customers and influencers, and work them through a relationship funnel to incite word of mouth marketing for your brand in social media.”

TikTok highlights the idea of co-creation and community in the most concrete way by encouraging brands to partner with experienced creators on the platform and help them boost brand awareness by creating content that is in line with the app. When creators are the ones creating the content and sharing it with their trusted community, they help the brand gain those brand-loyal followers and build authentic encounters with them.

The Belong Index 2021 report by creative agency Sid Lee states that for brands to be successful in reaching the Gen Z audience, they have to create communities. As a matter of fact, 77% of respondents said that brands that are linked to their communities reflect their identity with value-based communities, outshining others. Focus on listening and amplifying the community identity without forcing your brand’s message to drive brand growth, as highlighted in the report:  

“Your brand can empower communities by providing them with tailored content, products, services and actions that will help you gain traction and fuel the flywheel of engagement and participation. And as a brand, you can harness the network effects to increase awareness, boost profitability and capture a greater market share.”

Fellow social media marketers, set your vision on amplifying co-creation: leverage creators to tap into existing communities, connect with your target audience on a deeper level through strategic community management, and sky-rocket those social engagement figures. 

Social commerce 

The popularity of social commerce continues its rise: consumer demands point to the need for seamless in-app shopping experiences and, especially with the influencer industry maturing, channels and influencers have to work even more closely together to sell to consumers.

Platforms are thus quickly developing their social commerce features to better serve the modern consumer. People prefer not to leave the platform to make a purchase if they can complete the transaction in seconds by just clicking on a product tag. Direct in-app shopping is the way to go, especially for Gen Z’ers: 97% of them list social media as their top source of shopping inspiration, according to a report by The Influencer Marketing Factory. 

In 2021, we saw TikTok secure a partnership with Shopify. Thanks to the new in-app shopping features, users can now make purchases directly from videos and retailer profiles. This is paving the way for one of this year’s most anticipated features, the TikTok shop, already available in the Chinese version of the app Douyin. Brands and business owners need to think of how to utilize these new sales streams and how to make the shopping experience as seamless as possible. 

A report by market research company Kantar stated that 83% of consumers browsing on TikTok say seeing trending content has inspired them to make a purchase. The #TikTokMadeMebuyIt viral trend is a great example of how TikTok highlights rapidly changing consumer behaviour. It showcased products you didn’t know you needed, become sold-out hits. 

Gen Z’ers expect apps and influencers to know what they’re interested in. This means brands need to ensure a smooth shopping experience on social. Think of what this means for brands you’re managing: what technical updates do you need to set up social commerce shops on different channels, what kind of supporting content do you need (both organic and paid), and which influencers should you collaborate with? 

How about shopping via tweet? I am excited to see where Twitter takes their social commerce experiments. In 2021, Twitter announced they were developing a range of new shopping tools across the platform that would allow consumers to buy directly from tweeted content. 

Twitter Live shopping was a particularly raved-about feature and the first-ever test of Live shopping happened during 2021 Cyber week in collaboration with Walmart with singer Jason Derulo hosting. The trial seemed to be a fairly successful one. I recommend keeping an eye on Twitter’s social commerce developments: it’ll be interesting to see if there is something new and fresh you could suggest to brands you’re managing. 

Beyond that, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest continue at the forefront of social commerce. I’m especially interested in seeing AR-infused social commerce features. Snapchat and Pinterest are already using these: to appeal to a younger audience, Snapchat introduced AR try-on tools and lenses which allow the user to see how products look on them before buying (see case Gucci). With Pinterest Lens (a very underrated feature), you can discover ideas about anything you point your Pinterest camera at. The feature even lets you try on beauty products from different brands based on your skin colour.

Fellow social media marketers: do you have a brand that could naturally try out AR features to reach out to a younger demographic? Set your sights on leveraging the possibilities various platforms and their new features provide.

Metaverse

The hype around Metaverse is very real. I’m not going to delve deep into but I want to share a few thoughts and ideas that have come to me so far from reading a variety of articles and listening to dozens of podcasts on the topic:

The direction towards metaverse is clear and Web 3.0 will be here just as Web 2.0 did before. Something that sounds incredibly unreal to us right now will be the new normal within a couple of years time. But should brands jump on the Metaverse wagon immediately? My answer is: not necessarily. 

I recently listened to an invigorating podcast from Social Minds (episode 166 ‘How Brands work in the Metaverse’). The episode made clear that right now brands should focus on keeping an open mind and educating themselves on the Metaverse. 

The episode discussed some great brand cases such as John Lewis’ cross-media campaign with ITV to launch the first synchronized activation across Fortnite as well as multiple luxury brands such as Rolex, Hermes and Gucci exploring NFTs. It certainly is an exciting area: what we can do now is make sure we have all the knowledge we need so that when the time comes, we know what to do.

So: explore cases and references in this area and write down the pros and cons. Be an expert for your brand when it’s time to move forward. 

Video-forward

In the last couple of years, we have seen stunning shifts in moving towards more video-forward content, especially in the short-form (TikTok, IG Reels, YouTube shorts, etc.). This trend is not going anywhere anytime soon. The biggest question is, how agile are you? Even if your business isn’t heading to TikTok yet (although I’d seriously recommend that), video-forward content will continue to dominate as the most engaging form of content on social. 

The popularity of Reels and TikTok is set to continue. Quick content is becoming more important especially when educating and entertaining your audience. And this doesn’t just apply to organic content, but ads as well. Diversifying ad strategies with Reels and TikTok content have seen great results and I predict this will continue in 2022. It’s also not a bad idea to grab your brand a TikTok handle and start mapping out your strategy, even if you’re not ready to jump on the platform just yet. 

Short-form videos are here to stay, but we have to also talk about the almost certain return of long-form content, as noted by some professionals predicting 2022 trends here. TikTok’s videos are lengthening to 3 minutes and IG Reels to 60 seconds. Long-form social audio content with Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Discord and Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms and podcasting are gaining popularity – there is definitely a noticeable shift towards long-form content again. 

To my fellow social media marketers: ensure your social content strategy is in line with the latest platform developments. Think of how you can be as agile as possible and utilize the creator communities in your video content creation process.

The world of social media will surely keep surprising us throughout 2022 and I am more than ready to see what’s next. Let me know what are your focus areas for social media in 2022 by dropping me a message or tagging me on LinkedIn. I’d love to discuss more!

Enoma Edevbaro
Social Media & Influencer Marketing Lead
SEK

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