8 Social Media Trends to Look for in 2022

It can be hard to know which social media trends to pay attention to and which ones to ignore. Is TikTok going to take over Instagram? Will email marketing die out completely? Is it necessary to host a live audio chat on a frequent schedule? After doing our research, here are the top eight social media trends that we predict will dominate the industry in 2022.

TikTok is taking over

In case you didn’t know, TikTok boomed in 2021. It is the fastest-growing social media site to date and has now surpassed one billion users as of September 2021. In both 2020 and 2021, TikTok introduced helpful business tools, including business profiles, ads and a creator marketplace. This could be why businesses are feeling more optimistic about it going into 2022.

If brands aren’t flocking to TikTok yet, they will be soon. We recommend being at the front of the wave rather than behind it. So, start an account and explore the platform to start feeling fluent and to find some ideas. Then, sketch out the basics of your TikTok marketing strategy. This will be important in the coming months, regardless of your industry.

Smaller platforms get big ad spend

New research shows that consumers may be more receptive to advertising on smaller channels like TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest than on the bigger social networks. 

Google Search Trends shows increasing search demand over the last two years on these networks, with TikTok leading the pack. This is potentially because the smaller networks aren’t as saturated as Facebook and Instagram, so users may suffer less ad fatigue. This could also be because these smaller platforms encourage advertisers to make their ads “fit in” with organic content that is already being posted by regular users. Many times, you don’t realize you are viewing an ad until you look closely at the hashtags or click on the link. This results in ads that are more entertaining and less disruptive, increasing conversions and all-around good vibes for businesses.

Social media shopping

Before the pandemic, social commerce was a flashy opportunity for the most innovative businesses. But increased social media consumption combined with the stay-at-home mandates and/or preferences created the perfect conditions for a social shopping explosion, which is here to stay in 2022.

eMarketer predicts social commerce will be an $80 billion industry by 2025. Eighty-one percent of shoppers were already using social media to discover new brands and research products before the pandemic, and now businesses are figuring out that letting shoppers check out on the same app just makes sense.

After all, navigating to a website is an extra step, which is a potential leak in your sales funnel. Especially on mobile, where cart abandonment rates are high.

Most social networks have in-app shopping solutions now, including live video, and are working to provide new features to meet rising demand. But Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are the most popular, with TikTok and Twitter close behind.

Hang up the phone

Between lockdowns, halting global supply chains and labor shortages, consumers have had more urgent questions for businesses than ever before. And they’ve discovered they can get answers to these questions more conveniently using social media.

In a Nielsen survey commissioned by Facebook, 64 percent of people say they would prefer to message a business rather than call them. And, according to Gartner, 60 percent of all customer service requests will be managed via digital channels by 2023. 

Despite the rise in demand, many organizations aren’t ready to deliver effective customer support over social media yet. Hootsuite’s 2022 Customer Care Survey showed that 71 percent of organizations have either not started investing in social customer care yet, or they don’t plan to invest at all.

Long-form video is gone, except on YouTube

According to Vidyard, a video hosting software company, 60 percent of all videos published on the internet in 2020 were under two minutes long.

Two years ago, with the advent of IGTV and Facebook Watch, there was a moment when we all thought long-form video was the future. YouTube, known for its long-form educational videos, was rewarding videos that passed the 10-minute mark. And Facebook wanted to compete in the same arena. Businesses rushed to make “TV series” for these social platforms, and it seemed like Facebook might be taking on not only YouTube, but cable TV networks as well.

But then TikTok arrived in North America. Quick to act, Instagram released Reels in late 2020, and the rest is history. 

Instagram removed IGTV. No one talks about Facebook Watch anymore. And even YouTube has introduced YouTube Shorts. But there have been some short-form video flobs too (**cough cough** LinkedIn Stories and Twitter Fleets **cough cough**). This suggests that social media users won’t watch just any short-form video. They have to be entertaining and engaging as well.

Paid advertisement is necessary

Honestly, the trend of paid advertising has been around for a number of years, but it’s still worth mentioning because of the results of that previously mentioned Hootsuite survey.

Forty-three percent of respondents said “the decline of organic reach and the need to increase paid advertising budgets” was their biggest challenge on social media. This is second only to consistently coming up with ideas for content. But that loss of organic reach hits hard.

The decline of organic reach has been well-documented for years, especially on Facebook and Instagram, and most small businesses have limited funds to put towards paid advertising. In fact, the average organic reach for a Facebook post is 5.2 percent. That means only 5 percent of your followers may ever see your posts if you don’t have a paid budget behind them.

Of course, you could argue that it’s still possible to go viral without putting spend behind your content, but that’s the exception, not the rule. No matter what your budget, someone on your social marketing team is going to have to at least learn how to boost your content. And everyone is going to have to learn the basics of audience targeting.

Are you social listening?

During the pandemic, many businesses jumped on board the social listening train for the first time. They liked being able to respond in real-time to questions and conversations with their customers during a health crisis. But as the pandemic progressed, even more businesses learned that social listening could help them understand their customers’ changing preferences and avoid PR mishaps.

Google search demands for keywords like “social listening” and “social listening tools” is up 22 percent year-over-year, which means that more people are on the hunt to either find out what this is or how to do it. And you should be too.

Social audio strategy from the top

Ah, social audio. Clubhouse launched in April 2020 but grew steeply in popularity in early 2021. Then, Twitter launched its social audio platform, Spaces, quickly after that, and Facebook is also reportedly trying to enter the audio format as we speak. But what does that mean for small businesses in 2022?

Let’s look back at that Hootsuite survey’s data. They found that 74.2 percent of respondents stated they were planning to invest in audio-only content in the next 12 months, and when asked how they wanted to do this, the most popular answer was “hosting/leading audio live streams as thought leaders.” Again, what does this mean for small businesses in 2022?

Well, it seems that the survey found it was most often VPs and mid-to large-size companies who planned to invest in social audio and thought leadership, as well as companies that were already very confident about providing social media’s return on investment (ROI). This makes sense for those companies with the boldness and budget to build a brand on social audio channels. That being said, it’s not for everyone. 

Small businesses, those who can’t afford to invest all the time and money in social audio channels, can use them in different ways. One fantastic option is to be a guest host on someone else’s popular channel, showing what you have to offer on their dollar. 

Social media is changing, people. If you don’t keep up, you’ll be left in the dust by your competitors who took the time to study and invest. Don’t know where to start? Our marketing team at Rooted Web can help you follow those 2022 social media trends that stress you out. Let’s chat!

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Samantha Prost

Samantha Prost is a digital content writer with almost 10 years of experience who uses her upbeat and creative energy to write fresh, fun and custom content for our clients.

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