Drake’s 2015 album cover perfectly encapsulates every social media marketer’s feelings surrounding social media trends. If you’re reading an article about it, it’s too late – the train has left the station, you’ve missed your chance to hitch your wagon. BUT WAIT... this is not one of those articles! Knowing that true “trends” in social media come and go faster than you can say social media marketing, we’ve taken this opportunity to steer clear of simple social “trends” and instead outlined five over-arching shifts to the social media landscape that marketers should take into consideration when developing their 2022 social strategies.
1. Short-Form Video is Here to Stay
Thanks to the virality of TikTok, other mainstay social platforms are working to keep up. To stay relevant, we’ve seen social platforms mimic the capabilities of TikTok, but that’s not enough to compete, as TikTok continues to outpace in other social apps in popularity. Now that apps like Instagram and Facebook have developed similar short-form video capabilities, we’re seeing both platforms “push” these features to stay relevant for video-first audiences, which means a prioritization of short-form videos in algorithms for explore pages and featured content. So, if you’re not prioritizing Reels, Stories and at least taking inspiration from Tiktok, you’re reducing visibility and top-of-mind positioning for your brand.
Not sure where to begin? Below are some tips for teams starting their social media short-form video content journey:
- Get on TikTok! Whether with a brand account or not, TikTok is still the leading platform when it comes to short form videos on social media. So, use exploration within the platform to support your video strategy.
- As always start with planning messaging via a content calendar but keep it flexible, leaving windows for of-the-moment video creation and posting.
- Create videos that go beyond just product/service promotion, making clips that entertain, inspire, or educate to warm up your audience. The 80/20 rule still applies! Look for topics related to your brand that audiences will enjoy that are less brand-focused, at least 20% of the time.
- Even though platforms have started allowing longer form video content, you can’t go wrong with short (8 seconds is the average human attention span these days). Just because the feature is there doesn’t mean it’s what your audience wants or needs – stay focused on what’s working now.
- Don’t be afraid of incorporating trending audio and jumping into viral moments – just be sure you maintain brand relevancy and any content still ladders up to your overall brand personality.
2. A Creator Economy BOOM
While the creator economy has been around since YouTube coined the term in 2011, the pandemic really fueled its growth. People were stuck at home with nothing better to do than, well, create something other than a sourdough starter! In the past year, social media platforms have started to push for growth in this area by developing Creator Marketplaces, investing in creator programs, and making the monetization of content easier. We expect all of this build up to lead to one thing in 2022… a creator economy BOOM. What do we mean by BOOM? Social media marketers can expect to see more creators continue to come onto the scene, as well as more brands using creator-based content on social channels. So, whether you sell a product or service (or both) there’s a way your brand could be capitalizing on creators. The first place to look? Check out creator marketplaces like Aspire.
3. The Rise in Brand-Owned Communities
Though social media apps collectively have over 4 billion users, these people are only valuable to a brand if they purposefully engage with your content. And with 92% of companies in the U.S. using social media marketing - PLUS friends, family, influencers, and celebrities - winning an audience’s attention (in any way that matters) is easier said than done. So, while traditional social media can play an important role for reaching new people, what if we told you there was a better way to get your content in front of the audiences who want it most? Enter brand-owned communities.
Think about it… when someone takes an extra action to not only join but visit a brand-owned community, they’re showing a level of interest in your brand unseen with typical social media platforms. They’ve come to the space for YOU. As a result, we expect to see more brands prioritizing the creation of unique, individualized owned social communities in 2022. Not sure what this could look like for your brand? Check out these 10 examples of digital communities from brands you know and love.
4. Employees as Brand Advocates
What is EGC? Great question, I would love to tell you (and yes, that is an homage to Elyse Meyers – this writer’s favorite creator). EGC stands for Employee Generated Content which is possibly the number one untapped resource by social media marketers. In a world of fake news and paying influencers for reviews, who is a more reliable truth-teller than employees with behind-the-scenes perspective? Literally no one knows you better than your employees and, as Amazon workers have recently proven, they’re not afraid to share the scoop. EGC should consider the multifaceted nature of employees. Not only can they provide the most trustworthy reviews of product or service, but their voice can help beyond sales with talent recruitment, and/or proof of brand accountability toward values. Brands should look to develop strategies that leverage employees for social media content in 2022 – the trick will be keeping it honest while incentivizing participation. Find inspiration from these 10 brands that have been absolutely crushing the EGC game!
5. Social Commerce Starts a Shopping Revolution
People like social media. That’s it, that’s the statement. All joking aside, the average daily time a social media user spends on their preferred app is around 2.5 hours (Statista). And while social ads are a great way to capture this audience’s attention, consumers don’t want to leave their social space and neither do the apps. So, the natural evolution… social commerce.
Social commerce occurs when “the entire shopping journey, from product discovery through the check-out process, is conducted on a social media platform” (Forbes 2022). While social commerce is already here (Facebook & Instagram Shop, TikTok Shop), sales are expected to triple by 2025 (Accenture 2022). So, in an effort to continue simplifying the buyer journey—because simple equals sales—and not be left behind, DTC brands selling products (selling services is not yet available) should prioritize the development of social store fronts in 2022. Brands can start getting set up with Meta’s “Set Up Your Shop” e-learning course.