Social Media

Social Media In 2022 – What To Expect & How Brands Can Take Advantage

The last two years have seen an undeniable shift in the way social media is used, both for individuals using it personally, and for brands keeping up with the changing audiences and shift in social media behaviour. The pandemic has had a lasting effect on how social media is used even now, as the world became increasingly reliant on it for communication with loved ones, shopping habits changed, and remote working is here to stay for many. Digital marketing changes quickly, and social media in 2022 will be no exception.

For digital marketers and brands alike, it is important to remain up to date on the latest social media trends and audience behaviours. Whilst it isn’t always easy to predict what social platforms will do next, we can take an educated guess based on activity from the past year, and the shift in consumer behaviour. With more time being spent at home, digital connections growing, and the rise in e-commerce, social media networks will have to adapt accordingly. 

Brands therefore will have to do the same, as the knock on effect will influence how and where they market themselves. So what are we likely to see from social media in 2022, and how will it affect brand social media efforts? Here’s Wriggle’s take on the year ahead.

Shoppable Social

With everyone staying at home for so long over the last couple of years, online shopping exploded along with it. Shoppable social isn’t far behind, and by this we mean a full customer journey, from product discovery to purchase all within the app. What was once a feature that only a few brands were taking advantage of, is now something that is gaining traction and fast. 

Because shoppers could only browse online during the pandemic, social media became a huge source of inspiration - more so than it ever had been. Pinterest saw growth of over 100 million active users in 2020 alone (Hootsuite), as people took to the channel to inspire their purchases. Social media networks have picked up on this, and Facebook/Instagram shops have been pushed hard. 

In 2022 this will only increase further, with in platform purchases, in stream purchasing and buyable feeds seeming likely. Instagram are predicted to develop even more shopping tools, linked to other aspects of the platform like reels, live videos and creators, but they are also working on an object identification tool, whereby even products that aren’t tagged can be recognised and discovered to shop.

Pinterest and Twitter aren’t far behind either, with buyable pins and in-stream shopping options also on the cards. The key for all these social networks is to keep the customer in the app, so by providing shopping options that range from identification, to discovery and ultimately purchase, they’re ticking that box. 

Brands can take full advantage of this by maximising their use of these additional tools as they roll out. For any brand that sells products online, they can already upload an inventory, set up a Facebook or instagram shop, try out product pins, and prepare all imagery and product descriptions ready to go. Starting these basics as early as possible will stand any brand in good stead as changes develop.

It could be easy to try and approach this simply by just uploading everything you have to your social media shop, like you would for your website. The main difference for social tools is the same as all best practice social content - have a strategy, consider the platform and adapt the delivery for each one and it’s audience. Not everything works everywhere, so be patient and have a testing plan.

Short Video Content

Reels, Tik Toks, video pins, stories...short form video content is proving beneficial across most algorithms and social networks. For brands and creators, it’s easier to film shorter clips that require much less bandwidth, editing and costs, whilst still retaining the higher engagement benefits that come with video content. 

Over 31% of global marketers currently invest in short video content (Hubspot) and the figure is set to rise significantly in 2022. There are a number of reasons why video content is so successful, aside from the algorithms favouring it, and those include users' preference to short snappy content they can consume as they scroll. There is also a lot less emphasis on needing video to be of the highest quality.

Of course the higher the quality the better the content looks, but the expectation is certainly lower for stories and quick clips. Viewers are also much more likely to trust and convert from video content, as they can visualise what they’re paying for.

For 2022, brands should ensure they’re making the best use of all video tools on each platform, but remember despite the increase in video, many people use social media without sound on. Make sure your videos are captioned, subtitled, or have visual text.

Creator & Influencer Collaborations Will Become Commonplace

The beauty of social media is that anyone at all can use it to share their passions, creativity, business ventures and turn hobbies into money makers. Influencer and creator marketing is booming, as increasingly brands recognise the value of engaged social media audiences. Huge follower numbers are no longer required, with micro influencers also doing great things and delivering niche results.

Despite the impression that the space is saturated, this is actually not the case, with social media providing a space for everyone. The pandemic saw more people turn to self employment, trying out new things and looking for ways to make money than ever before. Along with this shift came their social media activity. It’s not something that global marketers are ignoring, as demonstrated in the results from a recent Hubspot survey:

  • 46% of global marketers plan to increase investment in influencer/creator marketing in 2022
  • 11% say influencer marketing is the top ROI generating trend they’ve tested
  • Over 56% of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with micro influencers
  • Businesses are set to spend £15billion on influencer marketing by 2022

With this in mind, social networks are enabling influencer and creator collaborations with brands even further, with the development of more in platform tools that allow for monetization of content. 

We already have Instagram’s Creator profiles, branded content ads and new post features such as shared posting between two profiles. Facebook has their Brand Collabs manager, Youtube has Brand Connect and Twitter are developing their Super Follows offering. Tik Tok realised that they needed to be in on the action and created Tik Tok Creator Marketplace.

These tools allow creators to get paid for the work they do, and allow brands to continue marketing through this channel and with real value. Best practice for brands would be to use all tools available to them when working with creators, and to be prepared to pay fairly for the activity. Pretty soon influencer marketing won’t be viewed as a novelty at all, it will be seen as the viable marketing tactic that it is, and needs to be done properly.

Live events

Similar to video, live events across LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram are seeing a strong response for brands currently utilising them. Although there has been a significant shift in digital connections, users and customers do still require that direct connection which is why live events perform so well. By giving followers and customers/potential customers the opportunity to communicate directly with you, they can gather the exact information they’re looking for in an authentic way. 

For brands, it also shows you exactly what customers are looking for. The key to success for live events for brands will be to mix it up - try Q&A’s, how to’s, offer expert opinions, and get creative in delivery.

Customer Service

With so much more activity occurring on social media, the need for dedicated customer service teams will only increase. This is an area that is already well established, as more people refuse to sit on hold or wait days for an email reply, when instead they can tweet, post, review, comment or DM via social media.

The expected response time on social media is a lot shorter, giving a better customer experience and this isn't something brands can overlook, especially if shopping is to be done directly on social media going forwards.

Ensuring you have the capacity to manage the volume of customer service queries will be essential to success for brands, as by nature social media is so public. Brands will need to be clear on customer service availability, be consistent in their approach to queries, and be able to deal with issues immediately, rather than channel hopping away from where the customer has contacted. Keep user experience in mind at all times.

Are You Interested In Social Media Marketing Services?

With the social media landscape changing as rapidly as it always has, the experienced social media team at Wriggle can help you navigate it in the best way possible for your brand. Our social media packages include a full audit of your current social media channels and activity, social media strategy creation, and support across all areas. Contact us today to discuss how Wriggle can help you with your social media marketing in 2022.