Saying that most people spend a good part of their days on social media would not be an exaggeration. Not in today's world.
Social media has become an integral part of people's lives and daily routines. Some are addicted to it so much that the first thing they do after waking up is to check their social media feeds.
Given the importance of social media in consumers' lives, marketers and businesses flock to social platforms in the hope of connecting with their target customers. However, there is a content overload on social media, and the competition is very high. It can be challenging for you to stand out unless you have a clear social media marketing strategy. Staying updated on the latest social media trends can help fuel your strategy and make you stand out in the crowd. To find out more about these trends, check out the Influencer Marketing Hub Social Media Benchmark Report for 2022. In the meantime, here are 17 of the most important social media trends that you need to be aware of for 2022 and beyond.
17 Social Media Trends for 2022 and Beyond:
- 1. TikTok Will Become Huge
- 2. Smaller Networks Will Become Popular for Ads
- 3. Social Commerce Will Continue to Expand
- 4. Reaching New Audiences Will Become a Primary Goal
- 5. Video Content Will Continue to Dominate
- 6. Social Audio Will Become More Popular
- 7. Paid Advertising Will Become a Necessity
- 8. Augmented Reality Will Become More Mainstream
- 9. Influencer Marketing Will Continue to Soar
- 10. Increase in the Use of Social Media for Customer Service
- 11. Personalization Will Be Paramount
- 12. User-generated Content Will Continue to Be Popular
- 13. Local Targeting Will Become More Prevalent
- 14. More Brands Will Incorporate Social Listening
- 15. Instagram and Twitter Will Remain Popular
- 16. Inclusivity Will Be Key
- 17. Social Media Communities Will Continue to Increase
- Frequently Asked Questions
17 Social Media Trends for 2022 and Beyond:
1. TikTok Will Become Huge
While Instagram is still a firm favorite, TikTok is moving up in the ranks. Plus, considering that short-form video content will become more popular, TikTok is the ideal platform to use in 2022.
During the past two years, TikTok has also launched a number of useful tools, like ads and business profiles, aimed specifically at businesses. So, it’s no longer just a platform where young creators can show off their dance moves. All in all, it’s set to become one of the main platforms that brands can use to reach millennials and Gen Z.
2. Smaller Networks Will Become Popular for Ads
TikTok isn’t the only “smaller” (if you can still call it that) platform that’s catching the attention of consumers and brands. Pinterest and Snapchat are also gaining in popularity.
According to data shared by Pinterest Business, ads on their platform can generate twice the return on ad spend for retail brands, compared to other social media channels. While Snapchat isn’t as popular for marketing as Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat advertising statistics show that the potential advertising audience on Snapchat has increased notably.
Also, considering Apple’s announcement earlier in 2021 that it will block the ability of Facebook to target a significant segment of its users, it’s key that brands start to look at other platforms.
3. Social Commerce Will Continue to Expand
Brands have long used social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to sell their products. In 2022, though, the ability to buy products directly via social media will become a norm. Gone are the days that it will be used only by innovative brands. In fact, eMarketer anticipates that the social commerce industry will be worth $80 billion by 2025.
From shoppable posts to Instagram Storefronts, social networks are continuously evolving to become retail platforms. Brands and marketers will continue to leverage these and incorporate social commerce in their sales strategies in 2022.
So, when designing your user experience, be sure to give some serious thought to this, even if it's only for your most popular items. After all, your goal should be to create a frictionless shopping experience and having to switch to a website when browsing social media might just soon become one too many clicks for your target audience.
4. Reaching New Audiences Will Become a Primary Goal
According to research completed by HubSpot, the main social media goals of most marketers in 2022 will be to reach new audiences, grow relationships with customers, and boost customer service. Previously, these goals focused more on boosting sales and advertising products.
So, it’s anticipated that there will be a clear shift in how brands will use social media moving forward. Instead of using it purely for advertising, it will also be used as a channel for fostering deeper customer relations.
5. Video Content Will Continue to Dominate
Video content remains one of the most engaging forms of content. According to a Cisco study, by 2022, 82% of all online content will be video content. This clearly shows how important it is to start utilizing video content to stay relevant in the social media domain.
If you're not currently creating videos, it’s time that you include them in your content strategy. In the near future, videos will dominate social media and anyone who doesn't realize that will have a tough time. What is important to keep in mind for the future, though, is that long-form content is no longer the way to go. You simply have to look at the success of Stories, Reels, and TikTok to realize that engaging short-form videos are now the preferred choice of consumers.
6. Social Audio Will Become More Popular
Since Clubhouse was launched in 2020, it has become increasingly popular. In June 2021, Facebook followed suit by officially launching its Live Audio Rooms and podcasts in the United States.
And, brands are taking notice. More than 74% of businesses indicated in Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Media Trends survey that they’re planning to invest in audio-only content in the next year. The same survey revealed that hosting an audio live stream as a thought leader was the most popular strategy.
That being said, at this stage, the trend has not yet caught the attention of smaller businesses, especially considering that it’s not the most affordable form of content marketing. It might only be an audio clip, but there’s still a lot of time and expertise that go into creating audio content.
7. Paid Advertising Will Become a Necessity
According to Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Media Trends survey, more than 40% of respondents indicated that the decline in organic reach and the need to spend more on paid advertising were their biggest challenges. Considering that the average organic reach for a Facebook post is just slightly over 5% according to Hootsuite’s data, it makes sense why paid advertising will become a necessity.
8. Augmented Reality Will Become More Mainstream
Social media will see a rise in the adoption of technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). As these platforms grow, users will demand better and more engaging experiences, and these technologies can make that happen.
While the adoption of VR in social media might still be at an early stage, the same can't be said for AR. Augmented reality filters are now being used on several major platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. These were introduced to enhance the visual content shared on social media and are widely popular.
Augmented reality enhances our reality by adding digital elements to it and changing the way things actually look. Social media platforms have found interesting use cases for this technology and have started leveraging it in recent years.
Instagram, for example, uses augmented reality for its numerous photo filters. We’ve all seen those filters that can add makeup to your face or sunglasses or bunny ears, right? Perhaps too many of those posts already. That's nothing but an application of augmented reality for social media.
The applications of AR on social media are not limited just to photo filters to post fun posts and stories. Brands can also leverage augmented reality to provide better shopping experiences to their customers. It’s becoming more common for brands to use AR so that people can try out products beforehand. In fact, according to The Drum, AR can boost click-through rates by as much as 33%.
Augmented reality can have a lot of potential social media applications for brands. And, this trend will be further driven by social media platforms' continuous efforts to add more AR functionalities. This technology is definitely only set to grow in the next few years.
9. Influencer Marketing Will Continue to Soar
Influencer marketing isn’t a new trend, but it’s one that is going to stay for a while. Social media today is dominated by influencers who are getting paid exorbitant amounts to promote brands.
The adoption of this trend can be seen from both perspectives. Not only is there the sheer rise in the number of influencers on social media, but there’s also an increase in marketing spend on influencer marketing by businesses.
Investing in influencers is much cheaper than running paid ad campaigns, and yet it delivers good results. Moreover, influencers can help marketers achieve a variety of marketing goals and not just generate leads. These are the two main reasons why it has become so popular and is continuously getting stronger and bolder.
Marketers aren’t just collaborating with 1-2 influencers now, but are working with a whole network of small, relevant, niche influencers. This kind of influencer gets much higher engagement and costs much less. Going forward, more and more marketers will use this strategy and work with multiple smaller influencers instead of one celebrity.
The challenge, though, will be to identify which influencers will align the best with your brand.
10. Increase in the Use of Social Media for Customer Service
Social media has traditionally been a place for people to connect with their social networks and share photos and videos. However, those days are long gone, and social media is now so much more than just that.
It has become a retail platform, a product discovery platform, and now, even a customer service channel. A lot of brands have started recognizing social media networks as platforms for delivering customer service.
This transition happened gradually as brands started noticing that many customers try to reach out to them on social media. This may be because of a lack of response on other channels or just because it was a more direct way to reach the brands.
It goes without saying that brands started responding to such messages and directing those customers to the right channels.
Fast-forward a few years, and imagine the number of such interactions growing multifold. It's not just some one-off cases where customers post their questions or complaints on social media and brands respond. Now, it has become a significant enough customer service channel for brands to recognize it as one. In fact, according to Gartner, 60% of all customer service requests will be sorted out by means of digital channels by 2023.
And, it is one of the most important customer service channels, owing to the massive repercussions of not handling a customer well in front of other users. So, it becomes all the more important for brands to handle these customers well.
To help you use your social media channels in this “new” way, it can be a good idea to create templates for FAQs and invest in a chatbot to boost your response time.
11. Personalization Will Be Paramount
Personalization is a global consumer trend that has been there for several years now. However, it is still a recent one when it comes to its adoption for social media.
Some might argue that brands can't exactly personalize their social media content for different consumer segments. True. But, they can still customize their social media ads for as many target segments as they like.
The key aspect where businesses and marketers are leveraging the personalization trend is their delivery of social media ads. Social media platforms have started providing advanced targeting and customization options for marketers. These let you show the right ads to the right people at the right times.
Personalization has reached a level that these social media platforms now also understand the type of products you like. And, they show you ads for similar products from different brands.
Don't believe me? Try checking an ad, any ad, on Instagram. Within minutes, you will see ads for similar products all over your feed. The more ads you click on, the better it will understand your online behavior and preferences. And, the next thing you know, all of your Instagram ads will be personalized and curated to your tastes.
12. User-generated Content Will Continue to Be Popular
Brands leveraging user-generated content is not a new trend but is a trend that is still going strong and will continue to do so. The only thing that has changed is the rate of adoption, with more and more marketers utilizing UGC.
Some brands, like Daniel Wellington, motivate their customers to create content and tag the brand for a chance to get featured on their page. Some, like Olay or Dove, run relevant marketing campaigns that encourage people to submit their entries to be a part of the campaign.
Some brands, like Airbnb, completely rely on user-generated content for their social media content.
No matter how you want to leverage UGC, you should have a place for it in your content mix. User-generated content is free and is considered much more authentic than branded content. It can help your brand seem more trustworthy and can do wonders for your image.
So, if you have never experimented with user-generated content for your social media profiles, it's time that you start using it.
13. Local Targeting Will Become More Prevalent
Just like local SEO is for local brands who want to get more organic traffic, local targeting is the counterpart for social media. Many brands use location-based targeting to reach out to and attract people from a specific geographic location.
One common way in which brands attract a local audience is by geo-tagging their posts and stories. If you add a location to your social media content, it will automatically draw in a local audience.
Social platforms like Instagram provide the option to search for posts from nearby places or specific locations. If you add locations to your content, it will show up in these search results, helping local people find your brand and content.
Geo-targeting works especially well for promoted posts or tweets as these platforms help you target the right audiences.
For example, if you use the "boost post" option on Facebook, you can also select the locations that you want to target. Facebook will show your posts to users in those locations.
Brands can also use geo-targeting to get more people to attend their local conferences and brand events. Or, they can use location filters in their social media ads to advertise only to a relevant, local audience.
There are many benefits of location-based targeting on social media, and you simply need to know how to leverage it.
14. More Brands Will Incorporate Social Listening
Social media is a gold mine for data and insights that businesses can use to refine their social strategies. And, with the launch of so many social listening tools, it has become very easy for anyone to access these insights.
Given the ease with which you can tap into social conversations to draw meaningful insights, social listening has made its way into every marketer's strategy. Data shared in Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Media Trends survey found that the majority of respondents felt that social listening has increased their organization’s value over the past year.
Brands and marketers are using it for a variety of use cases. From understanding the impact of a social media campaign to understanding how people perceive a brand, you can get a lot of information using social listening. This has made social listening an integral part of most marketers' social media strategies.
There are many social media listening tools that you can use for this purpose. So, start experimenting by setting up brand mentions, branded hashtags, and other keywords and hashtags that are important to your niche.
15. Instagram and Twitter Will Remain Popular
While a lot has been said about TikTok and smaller channels like Pinterest and Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter aren’t going anywhere in 2022.
In fact, according to research completed by HubSpot, Twitter and Instagram will become more important to B2B businesses specifically. In 2022, 70% of respondents indicated that they plan to increase their investment on Twitter, while 63% of B2B businesses planned to increase their spend on Instagram. To put this into perspective, only 49% of B2B brands planned to increase their investment on Facebook.
16. Inclusivity Will Be Key
In the past two years, corporate social responsibility was a hot topic (and for very good reason). In 2022, brands will need to continue emphasizing their commitment to inclusivity.
Brands will need to know which social issues mean the most to their target audience and go over into action. Consumers have set high standards for brands when it comes to social responsibility and a one-off gesture will no longer be enough.
17. Social Media Communities Will Continue to Increase
While this is not something new, it is definitely something that is becoming more popular now than ever before.
Social media communities are basically social groups created by brands to provide a networking platform for their customers. These are usually private groups that like-minded people can join to talk about their shared interests.
Facebook Groups are a brilliant example of such social communities. Many brands utilize such groups to bring all of their existing and prospective customers together and engage with them in a meaningful way. Group members can discuss various topics, share their experiences, and seek solutions to their challenges.
Brands can also utilize their social media communities to launch new products, seek customer feedback, and gain valuable customer insights. So, when creating new content keep in mind how it can help to create engaged communities so that you can help to strengthen online communities in 2022.
Wrapping Things Up
These are just some of the trends that will dominate the social media landscape in 2022 and beyond. By taking advantage of these trends, you can stay ahead of your competitors.
The biggest anticipated changes are the rise of TikTok and short-form video content. While Instagram and Twitter will continue to be important (especially to B2B businesses), 2022 might just be the year for smaller networks like Pinterest and Snapchat. Oh, and social commerce is a must for eCommerce businesses.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that social media is a dynamic and competitive space. What worked before isn’t guaranteed to generate the same results. So, keep abreast of the latest developments around these themes and use these for your social media initiatives.
Frequently Asked Questions
What were the biggest social media trends for 2021?
We have given our predictions for the social media trends of 2021 and beyond in this article. Some of these include:
- Ephemeral content will keep gaining popularity
- Niche social platforms will perform well
- Instagram will remove likes
- Social commerce will expand
- Video content will dominate
- Technology adoption will be at an all-time high
- Influencer marketing will continue to soar
- More regulatory control and legal scrutiny
- Higher adoption of augmented reality
- Increase in the use of social media for customer service
- Personalization will be paramount
What is the most popular social media sites?
Popularity is, of course, a personal thing, and various demographics of people prefer different social media sites. Although Facebook tops this list, most young people prefer to communicate on a social site that isn’t popular with their parents. As we discussed in this article, niche social platforms still perform well. However, according to Statista data, the most popular social networks as of July 2021 are:
- Facebook Messenger
- Weixin / WeChat
What is the hottest social media right now?
It can be challenging to declare the hottest social media right now, as the term is so subjective. As we saw above, more people have downloaded Facebook than any other social app. Yet to many in Generation Z, Facebook is “old school” and something beloved of their parents. Instagram is still the most popular social app for influencers and sharing images. YouTube still rules for long-form video, with TikTok rapidly taking the lead for short-form video. WhatsApp has grown in popularity for messaging in recent years.
What’s the next big thing in social media?
It is also challenging to determine one next big thing in social media. We have looked at a range of possibilities in this article. Some of these include:
- Local targeting will become more prevalent
- More brands will incorporate social listening into their strategies
- User-generated content will continue to be popular
- The rise of social media communities
- Ephemeral content will keep gaining popularity
- Niche social platforms will perform well
- Instagram will remove likes
- Social commerce will expand
- Video content will dominate
What is the #1 social media app?
Facebook still has the most users of any social app, up to 2.6 billion users. However, just because many Millennials and Generation Z have Facebook accounts, doesn’t mean that it is their #1 social media app. YouTube is still the most popular app for video. WhatsApp comes third, placing it ahead of Facebook Messenger (fourth overall) for messaging. Instagram is the top app for visual content and is beloved by the younger generations, who have also pushed TikTok up to 800 million downloads.
What was the first social media ever?
As “social media” is a relatively recent term, it can be tricky to determine the first social media app. One of the first was SixDegrees.com set up in 1997, where you could create a profile page, have lists of connections, and send messages. AmIHotorNot.com encouraged users to submit photos of themselves so others could rate their attractiveness in 2000. In 2002, Friendster let you create a profile, include “status updates,” and reveal your mood. By 2003, MySpace had arrived, with 25 million uses by 2005.