We’re gonna go out on a limb and guess that your brand is, at least in some way, active on social media.
Were we right?
Thought so. If you’re here you are interested in social media marketing trends.
Really, it was a nine-in-ten shot. As Statista reports, 91.9% of companies use social media for marketing purposes as of 2021.
And, well…they have good reason to do so.
For one thing, social media use is on the rise across the board. According to Sprout Social, 71% of people are using social media more than ever before.
What’s more, social media users are becoming increasingly apt to use these channels for consumer-related purposes. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed by Sprout Social said they use social media to learn more about a brand’s products or services, while 47% use it to stay up-to-date with brands and industry social media marketing trends.
Brands that meet (and exceed) their audience’s expectations on social media are rewarded with massive spikes in engagement:
- 91% will visit a brand’s website or download their app
- 89% will make a purchase
- 85% will recommend the brand to others in their network
Of course, what the customer expects is always in-flux — especially in the ever-evolving world of social media.
With that in mind, we decided to dig into the ten biggest social media marketing trends to look out for in 2022 and the years to come after.
Not “New”, But “Evolving” Social Media Marketing Trends
As you go through this list, you’ll likely recognize many of the tactics we’ll mention.
(You probably already use some of them, too.)
Though not necessarily new, these social media marketing trends and tactics are continuously evolving — and will do so for the foreseeable future.
This, for one thing, is a testament to how effective these tactics are. While certain social media marketing trends have fallen out of favor over time, the social media marketing trends we’ll be discussing have proven to work like gangbusters to attract, engage, and convert the modern consumer.
It also means companies need to stay on top of how these social media marketing trends are evolving. This, in turn, will allow teams to see how they can best implement these trends into their social media marketing playbook in an effort to best serve their audience.
Social Selling and Social Commerce Goes Mainstream
First things first:
By today’s standards, social selling is in full effect.
As we said above, today’s social media user wants and expects to perform consumer-related tasks on the various social channels they use. It’s up to you, then, to ensure that every experience they have with your brand on social media nudges them closer to their next purchase in some way or another.
(To clarify and reiterate: If you’re not on the social media marketing bandwagon, the time to get onboard is now.)
Social commerce — which enables consumers to make purchases directly via social media — has seen especially increased adoption in recent years.
According to eMarketer’s Social Commerce 2021 report:
- Total social commerce sales will rise by 34.8%, to over $36 billion, in 2021
- The number of social commerce users will increase by 12.9% (after increasing by 25.2% in 2020)
- The overall social commerce industry will see 37.9% growth in the coming year
As things currently stand, Facebook and Instagram are leading the charge in social commerce.
On these two channels, “shoppable” posts and in-app checkout have become commonplace.
As Facebook reports, the next big thing or social media marketing trends in social commerce is selling via live video.
Though only 47% of all consumers say they would buy a product through a live video feed, this number shifts to 55% for millennials, and 62% for Gen-Z consumers. As younger digital natives come of age, social commerce via live video will almost certainly become more prevalent as a social media marketing trend in 2022. There are also now social media management for businesses which are becoming popular.
(Keep video content marketing in mind; we’ll be back to it soon enough.)
Paid and Organic Battlegrounds Go Local
Social media marketing involves a balance of both paid and organic tactics to generate awareness and engagement.
Moving forward, it will be much more difficult to use social media ads to engage lookalike audiences and other first-time customers. Add to that the continuing decline of organic reach on algorithms facebook and other channels, and it seems like marketers will be facing an uphill battle either way.
One of the strong social media marketing trends we’re seeing for both paid and organic social media efforts is a heavy focus on location.
On the paid side, we’re seeing brands promote tailored content and ads to audiences in specific geographic areas.
A few examples:
- Ads featuring seasonal or weather-specific products and themes
- Location-specific, branded filters on ephemeral user-generated content
- Ads promoting live events to followers in specific geographic locations
Organically, brands are creating on-location content, being sure to tag each post accordingly.
Not only can this draw in local community members via organic search, but it can also lead to opportunities to collaborate with other establishments. For example, a neighborhood restaurant might post on-location at a community event. This increases awareness of the event, and also expands the restaurant’s overall reach in the process.
Location-based marketing has become a go-to tactic for brands, overall. With such widespread adoption and effective use, we’re bound to see it play an increasingly larger role in social media marketing in the years to come.
Personalized and Personable Experiences Drive Engagement
Personalization is another area that continues to be important in all areas of marketing — social media marketing trends included.
Even back in 2019, 72% of consumers said they’d only engage with marketing messages that were tailored to them in some way or another.
At any rate, brands are personalizing the social media experience for their customers in two key ways.
First, as we discussed above, there’s an increased focus on creating laser-targeted ad campaigns. As social media platforms allow marketers to get increasingly granular, it will become increasingly important to do so.
It’s all about using your collective customer data — persona, location, behavior, and more — to segment them in order to create and deliver highly-tailored ads to them.
(It’s worth noting, though, that social media users are again becoming wary of platforms collecting too much information from them. To this end, you’ll want to tread carefully when delivering laser-focused ads to your audience.)
Brands are also seeking to personalize (and “humanize”) their customers’ social media experiences via DM and livechat, as well as via chatbot.
Again, as social media marketing trends go, it’s simply what today’s consumers want:
- 69% of shoppers say that interacting with a company through messaging apps makes them feel more at ease with the brand
- 71% of customers expect brands to offer customer support through online messaging platforms
- 94% of customers are also likely to buy again from brands that deliver a satisfying customer experience over messaging platforms
A key part of effective personalization on social media is attention to engagement history and context. We’ll revisit that toward the end of this article.
Influencer Marketing Continues Evolving
Influencer marketing has been around for a while — and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
But, it is continuously evolving.
The consumer’s expectations with regard to influencer marketing are changing.
Today, it’s not enough to simply use a celebrity or well-known entity to promote your products. As ExpertVoice Consumer Trust Panel report shows, only 4% of consumers say that celebrity endorsements alone will get them to make a purchase.
Instead, most consumers look to influencer content that:
- Showcases the brand’s value
- Shows the brand’s products or services in action
- Explains how to get the most use out of the brand’s product or service
The report explains that “having honest, personable, and educated individuals making recommendations based on actual experience with the product is a key differentiator in determining whether they would trust a recommendation.”
For this reason, we’re likely to see brands continue to shift toward using micro- and nano-influencers to generate not just awareness, but meaningful engagement as well.
In fact, a 2021 report from Later shows that content from influencers with 25,000 or fewer followers gets the most engagement — by a pretty wide margin.
As social media marketing trends go, we’re also likely to see brands and micro/nano-influencers form more lasting and more intense relationships with one another. This will open the door for ongoing collaboration and content creation to take place — and will all but shut the door on one-off influencer campaigns moving forward.
Influencer houses and collaborative efforts will also become more prevalent in the coming year, as well.
This builds on the idea of authentic influencer marketing, with multiple entities working together to showcase how a brand’s products actually fit into their lives. What’s more, collaborative influencer campaigns can lead to strong brand partnerships that could, in turn, lead to additional co-branded marketing efforts.
User-Generated Content and Social Proof Build Trust
User-generated content is already huge and has definitely made many of our social media marketing trends before — and it’s about to become even more in-focus in the years to come.
As things stand, a full 93% of today’s marketers agree that consumers place more trust in user-generated content than content created by the company itself. This applies to all types of UGC, from product reviews and peer recommendations to social media posts and brand-focused content.
That said, it’s recently come to light that nearly 40% of consumers trust online reviews less than they did five years ago.
This is where the importance of user-generated content comes in.
With actual user-generated content, the authenticity is immediately recognizable. While text-based online reviews can easily be faked, the same can’t be said for content created by the customer on their own social channels.
User-generated content removes all doubt that your audience loves your brand — making potential customers much more likely to hop on your bandwagon.
Moving forward as social media marketing trends evolve, it will be critical that marketing teams have a plan for:
- Finding high-quality user-generated content as it’s created
- Soliciting high-quality UGC in a way that increases engagement and creates a valuable experience for the customer
- Showcasing user-generated content on social media (and on their other marketing channels)
The trick will be to create a balance between providing guidance to ensure your audience’s content meets a certain standard, and allowing them to be authentic in how they create said content.
Social media marketing trends aside, still, an increased focus on UGC will allow you to develop stronger relationships with some of your most-valuable customers.
An Avalanche of Video Content
You already know how important video is to your overall digital marketing efforts, right?
Just take it from Biteable:
- 60% of marketers use video — with 94% planning to continue using it in the coming year
- 61% say video content is “very” or “extremely” important to their marketing plan
- 30% say video provides a higher ROI than their brand’s website
The use of video content on social media is a no-brainer and might seem like an obvious as social media marketing trends percolate, probably because video marketing generates 48% more overall engagement — and an astounding 1200% more shares — than text- or image-based content.
For marketers, the true value of video on social media is its versatility and adaptability.
In terms of length, both long and short video content can be effective for engaging and delivering value to the consumer.
In some cases, you might choose to publish static video content to your social feeds. In others, it may be appropriate to post ephemeral video content to facilitate immediate engagement.
Brands also have the option of posting pre-recorded videos or broadcasting live through their social media channels. Coming off the heels of a socially-distant 2020, we’re seeing brands use live video as a go-to method for engaging with their audience — and even as a way to simulate the in-person shopping experience.
Still with us? We are discussing social media marketing trends.
On that note, it’s highly likely that video will continue to evolve on all social media channels in a variety of ways. Moving forward, look to strike a balance between experimenting with new video features as they emerge, and ensuring your videos provide practical experiences and value to your audience.
Augmented Reality Gets Even More Practical
Speaking of practicality…
Augmented reality (and, to a lesser extent, virtual reality) is quickly becoming a critical part of the overall social media user experience — especially for the consumer.
As data collected by ThinkMobiles shows:
- 63% of online consumers say AR enhances their shopping experience
- 40% say they would pay more for a product if able to preview it via AR technology
- 35% would increase their shopping habits if provided more AR experiences
AR is another area that the major social media platforms are continuing to invest in.
In just the past few years:
- Facebook has introduced augmented reality ads
- Snapchat released its Local Lenses feature
- Instagram enabled its AR-based “try on” feature
While lenses, filters, stickers, and the like began as quirky little additions for social users, it’s now fairly common for brands to use them for promotional purposes.
This goes hand-in-hand with user-generated content: The customer snaps a branded photo or video, then publishes it to their Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat channels for their friends and family to see.
As mentioned above, we’re also seeing brands use augmented reality as a way for customers to preview their products. This is especially true in the fashion and makeup industry.
As augmented reality continues to break into the mainstream, brands will need to become more strategic in their approach to using it. Overall, you’ll want to go beyond the quirky, “just because” aspects of AR — and start looking for ways to use it to truly enhance your customer’s experience with your brand.
Social Media is FOMO-Central
The fear of missing out looms heavily over the world of social media.
Overall, around 56% of social media users experience FOMO — with this number jumping to nearly 70% for millennial-age consumers. In an effort to quell this sense of FOMO, 51% of social media users say they check their preferred platforms more frequently than they did two years ago.
Brands today are capitalizing on this ever-present feeling in two key ways — each of which we’ve touched on a bit already.
First, there’s ephemeral content, such as Snapchat posts and Instagram Stories.
Ephemeral content is a huge driver of engagement and conversions across the board.
According to 99Firms:
- Instagram Stories reach an average of 7.2% of a brand’s audience
- 25% of Millennial and Gen-Z consumers actively seek out ephemeral content that focuses on specific products they’re thinking of buying
- 20% of all ephemeral content views leads to direct engagement
Marketers should consider experimenting with ephemeral content to promote flash sales, new product releases, and can’t-miss brand events. While these experiences already come with a sense of exclusivity and urgency, it will only be strengthened through the use of engaging ephemeral content.
Broadcasting live offers another key opportunity to play off your audience’s sense of FOMO.
(Again, learning how to go live on Instagram is crazy effective at generating engagement.)
You can strengthen the FOMO generated by your videos by delivering unique experiences, and by enabling your audience to engage directly with your brand. As mentioned, shoppable live videos are becoming increasingly effective as it is — and will only become more so when coupled with exclusive offers and promotions that end with the broadcast.
In a world where so much is available to the consumer on-demand, that which is not readily-available becomes extremely valuable. Deliver an experience your audience can’t get elsewhere — and will never receive again — and you’ll easily keep them engaged well into the future.
Responsible and Ethical Operations Take Center Stage
Recent years — especially this past one — have seen the emergence of a new “type” of customer.
Fast Company calls it “Generation N”, for novel.
The defining characteristics of Generation N:
Their hyper-connected nature, and their hyper-aware approach to commerce.
There now exists an entire demographic of consumers that is much more informed than any other generation in history. What’s more, they’re also more curious — and they have the means and abilities to find whatever information they’re looking for, right when they need it.
Couple this with an increased awareness of social, environmental, and political issues, and the writing is on the wall:
Today’s brands need to operate responsibly and ethically in order to maintain their positive reputation.
- 86% of consumers say authenticity is a key factor when deciding to do business with a company
- 77% of consumers prefer to buy from brands that share their values
- 64% of consumers would boycott a brand over a social or political issue
More than just being ethical and responsible, brands must also be sure their customers are aware of the positive impact they have on their community.
Social media, of course, is the perfect place to make this happen.
- Behind-the-scenes videos showing how your team operates, how your products are made, or even how your materials are sourced
- Live, on-location broadcasts of charitable events or initiatives your team takes part in
- Promoting other brands’ cause-related content and initiatives in your Stories and on your feed
You can (and should) also give your customers ample opportunity to join in the fun, as well. By leveraging your social media presence, you can enable your customers to give back to their community in a meaningful and memorable way.
This, in turn, will lead to increased loyalty and engagement from your audience moving forward.
A Continued Shift Toward True Omnichannel
Adopting an omnichannel approach to marketing is becoming ever more crucial to success for today’s brands.
- Brands using three or more channels see a 287% higher purchase rate than single-channel brands
- Consumers that shop on multiple channels have a 30% higher lifetime value
- Companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement see a 91% higher year-over-year increase in customer retention
There are two overarching things to discuss here.
First, it’s all but essential for brands to be present and active on more than just one or two social media channels. For one thing, more channels means more opportunities to engage with your customers. What’s more, a lack of presence on certain channels can potentially diminish the perceived value of your brand in your audience’s eyes.
That said, you don’t necessarily need to be active on every social media channel available.
Rather, you should focus on the platforms that your audience uses — and that they expect brands like yours to use, as well. Moreover, look to the social channels that provide the best opportunity to engage with and deliver value to your audience.
That being said, it’s also important to remain open to the possibility of migrating to new channels as they emerge and evolve. It wasn’t long ago that platforms like TikTok and Snapchat weren’t being taken seriously as viable marketing channels, after all.
Still, your main goal should be to optimize your brand’s presence on your most-effective channels before you start experimenting elsewhere.
The second thing to discuss here is the importance of delivering a true omnichannel experience to your social media audience.
- Delivering consistent messaging to your audience on each channel you operate on
- Allowing customers to pick up where they left off with your brand on any channel
- Providing customer support seamlessly with individual customers across channels
As Gartner explains, there’s a 50/50 split between brands that will and will not have integrated customer channels by 2022. This means that those who can provide a true omnichannel experience to their customers will be leagues ahead of at least half of their competition.
The first step to delivering a true omnichannel experience to your customers is to integrate your social media channels on the backend.Which is exactly what eclincher’s social media management tool allow you to do. Check out our full list of features, then sign up for your free trial to get started today!