As we start to wrap up 2021 and prepare to say goodbye to another year, it’s time to start looking forward to 2022 and what the new year might have in store. Trying to predict the world of social media is a thankless task due to the constant evolution of the platforms, and the speed of the industry. Add to that the impact of the wider social environment and it turns into mission impossible – no one predicted the pandemic and its impact on the meteoric rise of TikTok.
While no one knows for certain what 2022 has in store, we can use our best judgement on how the market has evolved over the past year or so. With that in mind, here are five social media marketing trends you should start to prepare for in 2022.
1. Social advertising will evolve
With Google planning to phase out third party cookies by 2023, brands will start adapting their social advertising over the next year in the build up to the death of cookies. There are thankfully a number of advertising options that don’t rely on third party cookies so all is not lost, it’s just a case of fine tuning your activity accordingly. Social platforms still provide marketers with the opportunity to target users with personalised ads, and then there are things such as email marketing and search engine retargeting.
Of course, third party cookies have always been a crucial part of any strategy, but this does provide a great opportunity to truly get stuck into the data. Get to know your audience better by diving into metrics around interests and preferences and you will start to understand your customers on a personal level.
2. The continued rise of TikTok
If you’ve managed to get through 2021 without venturing into the world of TikTok I can only congratulate you. The platform has exploded over the past year so its growth doesn’t look like slowing any time soon. In September this year, TikTok celebrated hitting 1 billion monthly active users, making it the 7th largest social platform, and if you remove messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Wechat), the 4th biggest.
However, despite the huge growth, brands have often been reluctant to invest in the platform, potentially due to concerns about its longevity. When TikTok first hit the mainstream there was no way of telling whether it would be a flash in the pan or whether it would start to dominate like it is today. This does however provide brands with the opportunity to get ahead of the competition while they continue to persist with the old reliables.
TikTok doesn’t appear to be slowing down into 2022 and if you haven’t considered making it part of your marketing strategy, now is the time to.
3. More in-platform purchases
Social commerce has seen a large growth in recent years, once again mostly thanks to the pandemic, and it’s now at a stage where it’s almost expected by customers. With customers being forced to stay at home there was a greater demand for the opportunity to make purchases in alternative ways.
From a conversion perspective, having the opportunity to make a purchase straight after finding the product on social media is a no brainer. Making potential customers navigate to a website is just an extra step where they have the opportunity to fall out of the conversion funnel.
Social media has always been a great discovery tool for brands, but it now needs to work hard and become part of the purchasing process. If you sell products online at all, it’s worth setting up a shop on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.
4. Influencers are the key to success
The number of influencers/creators online has boomed during the pandemic with people looking for alternative sources of income and something to fill their spare time. These creators won’t be on the same level as the huge influencers with millions of followers, but anyone who creates content for social media.
Over 50 million people in the world consider themself a social media ‘creator’ in some sense, making it a lucrative area for brands. As a result, social media platforms have been responding to this growth with various features that help brands and content creators work together. The addition of tools such as Instagram’s Branded Content Ads, YouTube Brand Connect, TikTok’s Creator Marketplace and much more just show how important platforms are considering their creators.
If influencer marketing isn’t part of your social media strategy at the moment you should really consider it. Consider looking past the traditional ‘influencers’ and engage with the smaller creators, who while they may not have the biggest follower, will often interact with your brand more authentically.
5. Short form content is king
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that short engaging content that instantly grabs your attention is key on social media, this has always been the case. However, this is becoming more extreme with shorter form content dominating the world of online video. This again is likely a result of the growth of TikTok. Originally the platform only allowed 15 second videos to be uploaded. This has changed over the years and the maximum length is now 3 minutes, but shorter videos still dominate the space.
A few years ago we all thought long form video content was the way forward with the likes of Facebook Watch and IGTV, but honestly, how many times can you say you’ve engaged with this content. Since TikTok’s arrival, other social media networks have followed suit with the likes of Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and the continued growth of stories on Instagram and Facebook (let’s just pretend Fleets and LinkedIn Stories weren’t a thing).
Video content should already be a part of your social media strategy, but are you investing in 10 minute videos that no one is watching? Consider cutting down the content and focusing on short and sweet videos that are highly engaging.