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15 Epic Social Media Trends for 2022 to Expand Your Online Business

Here are 15 social media trends that every business owner and marketer should know heading into 2022 and beyond.

Social Media Trends
Photo by Prateek Katyal / Unsplash

Social media's rapid growth has changed how businesses interact with customers.

From simple business-to-consumer interactions to partnering with influencers on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, to engaging in forums like LinkedIn brands are redefining their marketing strategies to keep up.

This blog post will look at some of the most significant trends for social media marketing over the next few years, which you can use to grow your online business.

What’s more important than attracting customers?

The customer journey is evolving rapidly, and marketers must stay ahead of this curve by staying informed about these new technologies to prepare them for launch. With that said, here are 15 social media trends that every business owner and marketer should know.

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Prioritize Alternative Social Media Platforms

Now that traditional social media platforms have flatlined organic reach (organic = no ads) to truly abysmal rates, many brands are faced with two choices: paid social or alternative social media platforms.

Social media platforms are a must-have for any business, and there’s no shortage. If you haven’t explored all the alternative social platforms, then now’s your chance to try something new!

The caveat here is going after a new platform takes time. In the long run, organic reach is temporary if we’ve learned anything from social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and the like.

We’ve seen Instagram’s reach decline at a predictable rate, and all of the platforms in this section will either decrease their reach or cease to exist (because ads drive social media revenue).

For instance, TikTok has been rolling out social commerce features that enable consumers to buy products from interactive content without leaving the app. Yet, TikTok has a concerning privacy policy that may worry some companies. And its popularity will likely cause reach to recede quickly.

Snapchat introduced an audience targeting option which helps advertisers reach different social media users based on age or location (i.e., those living in big cities can see ads about cars, while rural folks might see ones promoting gardening supplies). This signals Snapchat’s reach may decline.

If you’ve given up on Pinterest, Pinterest TV may interest you, as it also allows social shopping through videos and live streams.

Other social media platforms on the rise include Nextdoor (local business), WhatsApp, and, perhaps surprisingly, YouTube.

YouTube was a pandemic sensation, and the data shows it performs well across all key demographics, extending its lead over Facebook as the most-used platform with 81% of social media users on YouTube.

It’s hard to call it an alternative social media platform, except many marketers overlooked its power. That changes in 2022.

Major platforms aren’t going away. But seeking out alternative social media platforms is a trend that could gain momentum in 2022 and beyond, especially since it helps small brands increase organic reach while making their social advertising more relevant.

Social Ads Evolve as Cookies Crumble

Website cookies are pieces of code on the back end of a website used to track your activity. Almost every website asks you to accept cookies.

Here’s why: have you ever shopped for something and seen it EVERYWHERE? On every website you go to, there’s repeatedly an ad for that product. Those are cookies.

And due to GDPR and other privacy policies, cookies are being phased out.

Cookie tracking is nothing new, but social media ads are about to get a lot more personalized. As cookies crunch and user data are analyzed, social media platforms will be better able to target specific users with the ads they’re most likely to respond to.

Businesses need to focus on creating quality content that resonates with their target audience if they want to take social media ad campaigns to the next level.

This social media trend is something we’ll see in 2022 and beyond as social platforms look for new ways to monetize their sites, meaning that brands will need to keep up by providing more innovative ads if they want a piece of the pie.

Google intends to phase out cookie tracking by 2023 in order to help protect users’ privacy.

As we head into the “cookieless future” brands will have to ensure that social media ads are personalized in other ways, such as through email tracking or by basing targeting on user interests and behavior.

To catch up with the social media trends of 2022 and beyond, brands will need to start thinking about how they can personalize their ads based on users’ behaviors outside social platforms.

Inclusive Marketing Continues to be Critical

Inclusive marketing means running campaigns, images, and product promotions that are more inclusive in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, and ability.

More than that, for inclusive marketing to be truly effective it needs to reflect your organization. In the wake of George Floyd, many businesses began stating public support for Black Lives Matter; however, these businesses faced backlash if the company didn’t internally address inclusivity and diversity issues.

In other words, inclusive marketing works best when the brand practices what it preaches.

Many companies have felt the consequences of poor social listening skills when customers became offended or frustrated because their messaging did not reflect diversity and inclusivity principles.

A diversity Marketing Study found:

  • 70% of Millennials were likely to choose one brand between two competing brands if only the other demonstrated an understanding of inclusivity and diversity.
  • Younger millennials are more concerned than previously anticipated, with 54% of respondents saying that companies have a responsibility and duty to discuss more significant diversity-related social and political issues.
  • Employer diversity is one of the most critical metrics in determining where to buy. 31% percent of millennials consider workplace diversity when deciding where to shop, with job type and seniority being two of the most significant aspects.

When you reflect on your customer demographics, go deeper, so you understand their values. Then, make sure your social media and organization also reflect the importance of your customers. David Allison’s research and example below demonstrate why.

Omnichannel Engagement Grows in Importance

Omnichannel engagement is based on the principle that the customer journey is non-linear, meaning potential customers engage with companies using several channels before becoming paying customers.

Omnichannel engagement means creating seamless customer experiences regardless of where the customer interacts with the company (brick and mortar, social media, website, etc.).

The rise of omnichannel experiences is also rooted in the post-COVID world. Many people were home more and, as a result, engaged more online.

According to a study by Forbes, 64.5% of online users receive breaking news from YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter rather than traditional media outlets such as TV or newspapers.

But they’re not only looking at breaking news. They’re also looking at YOU and YOUR information. According to Sprout Social, in 2020, 57% of consumers will follow a brand to learn about new products or services, while 47% will follow to stay up to date on company news.

Social media is changing. It’s no longer puppies and rainbows. It’s where customers are constantly checking you out, asking questions (and expecting immediate responses), and engaging.

You must tell the right story; otherwise, customers will discover it somewhere else, with content that may harm your business.

Businesses must take advantage of every opportunity to continue or grow in the coming years. This implies gaining access to consumer insights.

It’s also vital that your marketing department understands your primary customer service policies or regularly engages with customer service staff. This will help you avoid customer service snafus on social media.

Social Communities Take Over

Social media communities are the digital evolution of traditional social groups.

These online spaces offer brands an opportunity to create a networking platform where like-minded people discuss their interests and engage with other members in meaningful ways, all while being connected through technology!

Facebook groups have been around for years, but they’re still one of the most popular platforms on social media today.

These Facebook groups allow brands with large followings or those looking for niche markets to quickly bring all of their current and potential customers together and interact with them in a meaningful way.

Group members may share experiences, discuss various topics, exchange experiences, and look for solutions.

Brands can also use their social media communities to gain critical customer insights, launch new products, and seek consumer feedback.

Given the recent backlash against Facebook, its continued problems garnering younger users, ongoing research about the negative mental health effects of social media, and the lack of ownership of social media content, content creators must seriously consider creating a community on a platform you own, like Circle or Tribe.

Short-Form Video Content Dominates

Video content is one of the most engaging forms of social media and will soon dominate all other types.

More and more platforms are actively boosting their video offerings while also seeing a shift in the algorithms pushing out short-form clips like Reels or eye-catching infographics with high reshare values.

These short-form video content have become popular recently because they drive views quickly on different social media sites rather than long-form video posts, which can sometimes get boring for viewers who don’t want to sit through hours’ worth of footage before getting anything new.

YouTube has recently launched YouTube Shorts, their version of social media sites like TikTok and Instagram.

By 2022, according to a recent study, 82 % of all online content will be video. This shows how important it is to start utilizing video content to remain relevant on social media. It’s time to start making videos if you haven’t already.

Videos will dominate social media in the near future, and anyone who doesn’t recognize this will be disadvantaged.

You can start by using the new features on social media, such as Instagram Stories or Facebook Stories, to make your content more engaging.

Even on platforms where images or text are more common, you may include videos in your social media posts.

TikTok Leads Short-Form Video Content

TikTok has become a trend like no other in the social media marketing world.

The app is number one for monthly active users, beating out all competitors by almost 100 million!

This might seem surprising initially because you would assume that such popularity could only last so long before others caught up or surpassed them.

Still, this platform appears to dominate for many years, thanks mainly to its young demographic, which makes up less than half (44%)of the total user base.

Two billion videos have been created on Tik Tok since 2017 alone, making it likely there’s a video of just about every person alive.

TikTok is not just for young audiences- don’t let that dissuade you from getting your brand involved there. But if you have a young audience, you’ll be hard-pressed to make an argument against being on TikTok.

Point your social listening tools in the right direction so that when it comes time to create content, YOU know how best to approach these consumers with something they can relate to because TikTok isn’t yet exploring!

If you need inspiration, take a look at social media influencers like Loren Gray, who has over fifty-three million followers on TikTok.

Behind-the-Scenes Content on the Rise

This content shows what happens behind the social media posts we see. It’s a way for people to get an inside look into your company and share it with their friends, which will help you reach more people in a word-of-mouth fashion.

Behind-the-scenes content can come from anywhere social media influencers or other platforms where people post their social media updates or even employees of your company.

You can take a social listening approach to get behind-the-scenes content by looking at the social activity that comes from different platforms and seeing how people respond.

This will help you determine what posts might be popular among consumers so they’ll want more! Then give people the content they want by pushing out social media posts with behind-the-scenes social activity.

This will be especially helpful for companies who haven’t had social listening tools before because it’s one of those strategies that can help you get ahead early on and see your social presence multiply!

This social media trend can be seen on Instagram or TikTok, where businesses are opening up more about themselves with their products.

Artificial Intelligence Bridges Gaps Between Business and Consumers

Artificial Intelligence uses data from people’s internet histories and social media posts or email subscriptions to provide an accurate idea about who these individuals are.

It is more valuable than guessing based on traditional methods such as collecting demographic information through surveys, only giving vague answers.

Artificial Intelligence has been a hot topic for social media trends because it is taking over and will continue to take over social platforms. Artificial Intelligence is more than just a way to make your life easier.

It can help increase brand recognition and sales with personalized marketing messages and ads tailored specifically for each customer based on their web history or social media usage!

Companies like Starbucks, Amazon, and Nike have started utilizing this marketing trend for potential customers interested in their products/brands to find them more quickly on the web.

With AI at your side, you’ll be able to capture every brand mention and incorporate them into one master database where all keywords related to the said topic will appear with sentiment data attached. This data also gives insight into other current issues being discussed online.

Brands without an edge risk having customers stray unless they make adjustments quickly or get ahead early by researching what consumers want before social media trends take over.

Let Customers Speak for You: User-Generated Content

User-Generated Content is content that is not produced by the company but instead created by customers or consumers.

It can be in text, images, or videos and often showcases what people think of a product or service.

Here’s a great example: did someone post a video review on Instagram? Share it on your Instagram account and tag the person in it.

User-Generated Content has been used for social media trends mainly because it is free to produce, and companies can get an idea about how their social media strategy is going.

This social trend positively impacts businesses because it allows them to gain insight into what people think of their product/service, which can help companies adapt or pivot if necessary for the company’s social media presence to stay afloat.

Brands that use user-generated content (UGC) have a 20% higher visitor return rate and a 90% boost in the time spent on their websites.

Consumers want authenticity these days so much! According to a recent survey by Stackla, approximately 90% of customers stated that authenticity was important in their purchase decisions. Moreover, consumers note that they are more likely to find UGC authentic than any other form of traditional branding.

The average person creates 3-5 pieces of content every single day, so it’s no wonder many businesses are now turning towards user-generated content marketing for their websites or apps instead of commissioning traditional ad campaigns. UGC has proven much more successful than professionally produced advertisements ever were at attracting a new customer base.

Augmented Reality and Metaverses Will be the Next Consumer Connection

Facebook has been the most popular and a major player in the social networking scene for years and continues its dominance with new features, innovations, and investments.

The goal of Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, has changed from being recognized as a social media network to constructing his idea of virtual reality, augmented reality, and video, known as the metaverse. This shift ushered in Facebook’s new business name, Meta.

As of April 2022, Meta's Mark Zuckerberg says it's losing billions on metaverse initiatives and it won't be profitable for some time. Maybe augmented reality and metaverses aren't ready for prime time?

Announcing that the rebrand does not change how data is utilized by the firm but rather how it is reported, Meta emphasizes connecting people through augmented reality as the social media platform’s new direction.

In 2022, one of the focuses will be on expanding your digital identity through your Facebook profile and virtual reality or metaverse presence.

More sophisticated avatar-creation tools will surface due to the growing popularity of digital art-based non-fungible tokens or NFT avatars.

Facebook intends to capitalize on this trend and allow users to ‘own’ their social media identities by creating a digital avatar.

The new Meta Quest app will work with Oculus Plus and Facebook’s current virtual reality product, Oculus.

There’s no doubt that this movement into the metaverse will significantly influence social media in 2022. Even though other innovative social networks emerge, Facebook marketing should remain an essential component of every plan.

If you’re interested in augmented reality, Hubspot suggests testing it out on Snapchat because younger users hang out there (75% of all U.S. 13-34-year-olds are on Snapchat).

SEO Draws Social Media Users to Other Platforms

SEO stands for search engine optimization. In the social media world, it ensures that your website content and social media posts are easily found by people who use search engines to find information online.

When done correctly, SEO can help you get more web visitors, social media followers, and customers from other platforms such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

To optimize your social media posts for SEO, you need to use the right keywords in your titles and descriptions. You should also write high-quality content that is interesting and helpful to your audience, as you do on your corporate website.

For instance, you can use keywords in your board titles, pins, and pin descriptions with Pinterest. You can also add hashtags to your pins so that they will be more easily found by people looking for information on specific topics.

Still, it will spread further to platforms like Instagram and TikTok more than what exists currently, making it even easier for users to find content that meets their needs and excites them.

Google recently announced that Instagram and TikTok videos will be indexed and searchable, adding to the appeal of video social content.

Instead of simply finding accounts and posts via relevant hashtags, consumers will search specific keywords or even have posts and accounts suggested via AI due to advanced search engine optimization.

Social Selling Simplifies the Customer Journey

During the pandemic, social selling began to grow more widespread. Social media platforms began to gain popularity as shopping destinations. Social networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest allow businesses to sell their products, making the customer journey much more straightforward.

This social revolution has allowed social media to take over as the main avenue of communication between brands and their customers, turning social selling into a vital component in every marketing strategy.

With an average time spent on social media on these platforms at 145 minutes per day, it makes sense for brands and retailers to set up a shop where their potential clients hang out.

In 2022 we can expect more stores across different industries, including clothing lines or restaurants, to incorporate some form of digital marketing strategy into their business model.

These strategies include selling goods directly from one’s page without having physical inventory using services such as Instagram Influencers/Motivators (Influencer Marketing), Facebook Ads, Ad Campaign Manager toolkits, and Social Media Ads.

In 2020, Facebook added Facebook Shops to its commerce solutions, including Facebook Marketplace and shoppable advertisements. Users may establish a single online store shoppable from either Facebook or Instagram using Facebook Shops.

This will surely make the buying process more accessible and provide an even more fantastic user experience on these sites.

Social Commerce Increases Product Access

One social media trend that will continue to grow is shoppable posts. Social commerce enables customers to buy items without ever having to leave the social media platform they are using.

Buyable posts first surfaced on Instagram in 2016 and have since been adopted by other social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest. In 2019, about a quarter of businesses reported that at least half of their social media traffic came from shoppable posts.

This number is only going to grow in the years to come as social media platforms continue to develop and perfect this feature. By 2022, all social media platforms will likely have some form of shoppable post capability.

With social media trends like shoppable posts, social channels are becoming a direct revenue stream for brands.

As we move into 2022 and beyond, businesses must take note and adapt social media trends to fit their online marketing strategy. As social sites grow and change, so should the way companies utilize them.

Golden Age of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing means working with key individuals who have a large social media following and can persuade their followers to take action, such as buying a product. The tactic has been around for a few years but will come into its own in 2022.

Influencers are not just ordinary people with tremendous followings; they’re also professionals who understand what it takes to create compelling content which attracts tons of views in short amounts of time, all at affordable prices!

When investing your budget into them rather than traditional ads, you’ll see better ROI. According to Convince and Convert, businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing.

These partnerships provide a high return on investments through more engagement. Still, marketers often find themselves working alongside creative minds capable of making creative videos or photos, so there is no lack whatsoever regarding social media marketing.

Brands needn’t engage people with millions of followers. Micro-influencers who know and engage with your customers can be your most powerful advocates.

Marketers prefer to work with a broad network of tiny, relevant, specialized influencers rather than just one or two big influencers.

These sorts of influencers receive significantly higher engagement and are far less expensive. More marketers will utilize this approach in the future and collaborate with numerous smaller influencers instead of one famous figure.

With these significant social media trends coming to fruition in the next few years, it’s no wonder we continue to see such growth in online business.

If you want your company to be around for another 10-15 years and grow with this changing landscape, I encourage you to subscribe to our email list.

Stay up-to-date on our latest blog posts and articles about how companies are using new technology and adapting their marketing strategies and lessons learned from those who have failed.

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