Social media trends to watch out for in 2022

Social audio, buying through social channels and paying if you want to get your posts seen are just three social media trends for 2022, says Mark Wright

The events of the past two years have had a dramatic impact on the way brands will use social media to promote their products and services in 2022.

With over 3.7bn social media users worldwide, neglecting the online presence of your business means not only losing out on these potential customers, but also falling behind competitors successfully managing theirs.

As 2021 draws to a close, brands are looking at how they can effectively engage their audiences in 2022 as social media trends continue to develop at seemingly breakneck speed. While the ever-changing online landscape may seem daunting, there are certain key trends to keep an eye on in the coming year, to ensure your marketing plans stay on the right track.

#1 – Selling through social channels

The increased social media consumption that came as a result on the pandemic fuelled the move towards social commerce, and this is one trend that shows no signs of slowing.

With 81 per cent of consumers already researching potential purchases via social media, it makes sense to dispense with the added step of navigating to an external website, and instead allow customers to purchase directly from apps they already use.

Each additional step a customer is required to make before purchase is another opportunity to lose their attention and a potential sale. Social commerce removes this friction from the customer journey, while allowing you to curate and target the products that will appeal the most to your audience.

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#2 – Video content is king

While video marketing has been around for a while, this year has seen it become a central part of brand content strategies. With the rapid growth of TikTok, which grew 173 per cent this year alone, and Instagram both embracing a shift towards video content, the importance of quality video content will continue to grow into 2022.

Short-form videos in particular align well with fast-paced social media platforms (and attention spans!), and over 39 per cent of businesses are already using this style of content to promote and sell their products and services, with 30 per cent saying it provides a higher ROI than even their own websites.

Not only do videos perform better and generate higher levels of engagement than text or image-based content, they are easy to adapt across various social media due to their versatility. The coming year will undoubtedly see more brands strike the balance of utilising new video trends and features, while providing value to their target audiences.

#3 – Organic reach vs. paid advertising

With the average organic reach of a Facebook post at 5 per cent, and Apple’s iOS update allowing users to opt out of Facebook tracking altogether, more brands are facing the challenge of a decline in organic reach.

More than ever, there will be a need to amplify content with paid advertising to reach your audience effectively, With social media click-through rates and costs-per-click still better than many other forms of paid media, businesses will undoubtedly benefit from allocating part of their marketing budgets towards paid advertising.

Strategically targeting paid exposure and tailoring content towards those segments of your audience most likely to purchase your product or service – along with boosting your best performing posts – are great ways to maximise the effectiveness of paid advertising.

This is not to say organic content should be neglected, as it is still vital for building awareness and engagement, with many brands opting for a location-based approach to their online marketing strategies to draw in local communities and establish awareness.

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#4 – The year of social audio

This year saw the meteoric rise of drop-in audio app, Clubhouse, with over 10 million registered users as of February this year, and with Twitter following suit soon after with the launch of its social audio platform, Twitter Spaces, this new form of content is set to become a huge part of brand marketing in 2022.

It differs from the one-way broadcast medium of podcasts in that it is a real-time conversation that listeners can actively participate in, while presenting a new way for businesses to develop exciting new forms of thought leadership content.

Social audio offers the intimacy and authenticity of hearing thought leaders having real, unscripted discussions on a variety of topics, while offering brands a way to directly connect with their potential customers. This new iteration of conversational marketing is a powerful way to personalise the customer experience, building trust and credibility along the way.

Though social audio platforms present a somewhat uncharted territory, their undeniable popularity with audiences means those brands that get this new medium right have the potential to become market leaders in these emerging spaces.

Social media outlook in 2022

Brands need to be aware of these key social media trends if they want to continue effectively serving their audiences as we move into 2022.

However, this does not mean ignoring marketing basics, as simply hopping on a trend without a unified content and marketing strategy is unlikely to pay off in the long run. Ensuring your marketing and sales departments are aligned and defining your marketing goals will allow you to utilise trending forms of content most effectively.

Mark Wright is a winner of BBC’s The Apprentice and director of digital marketing agency Climb Online

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