Social Media Marketing Trends to Look Out for This Year

If last year proved anything, it is that a lot can happen in 12 months, including the end of some and the beginning of other trends. That extends to the world of digital advertising and especially social media marketing.

In the months and years following the pandemic, we have seen a shift in the way brands and businesses promote their products and services on social media. When physical stores and offices closed down, the world saw Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and the likes as the primary way of communicating with customers. Social media was no longer a supportive tool in their marketing strategy; it became the top performer. That led many to speculate about the future of social media.

And while many believed this spike in social media popularity to be a temporary occurrence, it looks like those 3.7 billion social media users are not going anywhere. Going into the new year, businesses have a difficult decision to make — how to engage their increased online audience and effectively convert leads into customers.

The main question marketers and businesses need to answer is what social media marketing trends would dominate this year and how to leverage them in their marketing strategy.

The Biggest Social Media Marketing Trends This Year

1. Reaching New Audiences

The number one social media goal for businesses will be to expand their social media strategy and reach new audiences. According to a 2021 research by HubSpot, the three primary goals of most marketers in their social media strategies were:

  • Advertising products/services (35%)
  • Increasing revenue/sales (34%)
  • Increasing brand awareness/reaching new audiences (34%)

However, 76% of these marketers said their goals would change in 2022.

This year, most marketers will shift their focus to:

  • Increasing brand awareness and reaching new audiences (39%)
  • Increasing brand loyalty by fostering relationships with customers (33%)
  • Improving customer service and retention (32%)

To achieve these goals, you need to expand your social media presence. You can do that by setting up a social media calendar where you schedule posts that are consistent and engaging. You can also leverage buzzy content, trends, and invest in quality creative assets.

To foster lasting and meaningful relationships with your existing audience, you will need to engage with your followers in more interactive ways, e.g., Q&As, polls, and live videos.

2. You Might Want to Give TikTok a Chance

It may sound like an outrageous concept for a small business with a tight marketing budget, but there is actually a lot you can do with no money at all. If there is one social media channel that literally exploded during the pandemic, it was TikTok. The interactive platform allowed people to stay connected in a fun and engaging way that helped them cope with the challenges of the pandemic and staying home.

In terms of numbers, TikTok’s popularity saw a jaw-dropping 61% increase in mentions during the beginning of 2021. The platform also reached 3 million global downloads that year, and it became the first non-Facebook app to reach that number. TikTok was also the most downloaded app in the world in 2020! The best part? There is room for everyone on TikTok, including small businesses.

According to a HubSpot Blog poll of 1,000+ global marketers, more than 61% of them said that they plan to increase their investment in TikTok marketing in 2022.

Marketers naturally assumed that this rapid growth would quickly sizzle and wither, but it seems like TikTok continues to thrive. What is more, it is now helping not only big corporations and influencers expand their reach, but it also lets small businesses connect with their prospective customers and procure more business.

It is TikTok’s unique way of engaging users that enables all kinds of businesses to attract a following. No matter if you are a plumber, remodeler, boat rental company, or a local caterer, you can let everyone see your everyday job, struggles, and wins. Doing that will form an emotional bond between you and your followers, and that can result in long-term, loyal customers.

This year, we will continue to see TikTok as a dominating social platform as more and more brands and businesses turn to it to expand brand awareness and reach new audiences. It is safe to say that the sooner you adopt this social media marketing trend, the better.

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3. Companies Will Need a Dedicated Social Media Expert on Their Team

The concept of making a dedicated hire can seem unrealistic to smaller businesses. When resources are tight, your staff naturally needs to be able to multitask and do whatever is necessary to keep things running. You have probably had your movers double up as your social media customer service or responding to emails and doing other tasks.

That is okay for a small business. But the world is changing. Having a dedicated social media expert will help keep everyone else focused on their job, and it will help bring more customers your way.

The numbers definitely support that statement.

About 79% of people say that user-generated content they have seen on social media has significantly impacted their purchasing decisions. What is more, more than 54% of social browsers use social media to research products. Possibly as a result, close to 73% of marketers believe that their social media marketing efforts have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business.

According to experts, one of the major upcoming social media trends will be for companies to make a dedicated hire and no longer manage their social media presence by asking another department to do it. The problem with this practice is that when you do not prioritize your social media strategy, you are missing out on the opportunity to leverage popular platforms and grow your revenue in a focused and cost-effective way.

By getting a dedicated social media expert on your team, you will have someone to:

  • Develop a social media strategy for your business
  • Keep tabs on social analytics and performance
  • Create a posting schedule for all your social media accounts
  • Stay ahead of any social media trends and incorporate them into your marketing strategy
  • Boost brand awareness and help you get more leads in the long run

4. Your Ads Will Have to Adapt to the Changing Digital Landscape

If you have been running ads on Facebook and are wondering if you have to change something in your social advertising strategy because of the end of third-party cookies, the answer is yes. And no.

While this certainly changes things, there are still many effective advertising options that do not require the use of third-party cookies. These include email marketing, targeted and personalized ads on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, user-generated content, and search engine retargeting campaigns.

You can develop a data-driven strategy for your ads that relies on metrics of how people interact with your brand and ads. Keep in mind that people are wising up to ads on social media. Doing what everyone else is doing or refusing to do something more creative or bold can cost you. People expect more from the brands and businesses they give their money to, which is why creating a quality online experience for your audience will be key.

5. Digital Communities Are on the Rise

When the world shut down after Covid, everything and everyone that could go online – did. The need for finding a community also shifted online. As a result, digital communities became increasingly more, both in numbers and in importance.

That is why one of the latest social media trends is to find ways to build a community around your business, brand, product, or service. This would foster long-term relationships with clients and turn them into repeat customers. Much like SEO in 2022, this is a long-term process that will not offer immediate results, but it is very important to focus your efforts on it.

A joint report by NYU’s Governance Lab and Facebook showed that around 77% of people consider the most important group they are a part of to be online. And, unsurprisingly, the best place to create and care for such communities is social media. Of course, giants like Nike and Lego have had years to build a loyal customer base and a community around it, but that does not mean you cannot do the same, albeit at a smaller scale.

Instead of trying to build a community around your business, you can try and find one that your business can fit into. This is especially recommended for smaller businesses with smaller budgets. For example, you can look into your own community and what events are bringing people together. Community outreach is still a crucial part of promoting a business and a seamless way to get more people to talk about your company, especially if you are volunteering or donating to noble causes.

6. Social Moves From the Sidelines to the Center

Whether you have realized it or not, we have entered the era of social commerce. Competitive small businesses are looking to find a balance between bricks and mortar and social storefronts, while larger companies are testing how far they can take online shopping.

Amid that change is you. Even if you specialize in offering services that cannot be provided online, you can still use social media as a way to get more bookings. With a consistent strategy, you can grow a following that regularly checks for news, promotions, and daily shares from you.

As social media is quickly becoming the first (and sometimes only) point of contact between customers and businesses, focusing on being as helpful and authentic on your channels will be one of the most important social media marketing trends in 2022 and beyond.

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7. Consumers Expect Customer Service Through Social Media

They say that the customer is always right, and if that customer wants to receive immediate customer service online, then so it shall be.

Nowadays, not only do people expect that their needs will be met on social media, but they also want to get an instant response from brands and businesses they engage online. Instead of waiting on an email, consumers go straight to social media to connect with companies.

Although it may not seem like a new trend, it is especially important in a post-pandemic marketplace. What is more, a study by Gartner found that about 60% of all customer service requests will actually be handled through digital channels by 2023. This is where having a dedicated social media hire can really help you get on top of this trend.

8. Live Content Is Increasing in Importance

In the same HubSpot poll we mentioned earlier, marketers revealed that almost 60% will focus on offering live video content as a focal point in their social media marketing strategy in 2022. Many businesses report that live video is one of the social media formats that drive the largest ROI.

That is probably the case because through video companies and brands can connect with their audience instantly, “face-to-face.” It is also a great opportunity for you to take your followers and show them your everyday work. It could be a landscaping project you are working on, a complex (or even mundane) plumbing repair, a house you are remodeling, or anything else related to your line of work.

The goal is to show the face of your company — your team, your job, your company culture, and your values. This is what essentially turns one-time or potential customers into loyal, repetitive clients.

9. One-Person Social Teams Won’t Be Enough Anymore

Since your social media goals will have to go beyond engaging people just so they like and comment on your posts, it is natural that one-person social teams will not be enough to handle everything. Bigger companies can easily afford that change, but smaller businesses will have to be flexible.

If you already have a marketing expert or department on your team, you can add extra talent specifically experienced in social media. You can look into part-time hires if you are on a tight budget or turn to an advertising agency and outsource that service.

You can also check if someone from your team already has that expertise or is willing to switch to a career in social media marketing. After all, when budgets are tight, you have to get creative.

Which Social Media Trends Are Losing MomentumThis Year?

Now that we know which social media trends will steal the spotlight this year, here are some that marketers should no longer follow as they have gradually lost steam.

1. Publishing the Same Content on All Platforms

During the last few years, it became a typical social media approach for businesses to share the same content across their social media profiles. That has gradually become an outdated practice because audiences have become increasingly more segmented. What this means is that you need to build a strategy where you optimize your posts for each platform.

While Facebook and LinkedIn do share similarities, Instagram and Pinterest require a different approach. Keep that in mind, check your analytics often, keep track of your competitors and what is working for them, and adapt the data into your own strategy.

2. Interviews and Discussions With Experts

While interviews, expert discussions, and even podcasts are a great way to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness, doing them is a time-consuming process that can easily ‘swallow’ your resources. Research by Hubspot has found that a surprising 48% of B2B and 56% of B2C marketers plan to stop incorporating these formats into their strategy. That could be due to the cost of production being too high and not worth it for some businesses, so if you are looking to experiment with these formats, make sure to do your research beforehand.

3. Ephemeral Content

When the concept of ephemeral content was first introduced by platforms like Snapchat, the world went wild. Content that came with an expiration date seemed exciting and all the more engaging. While Instagram and Facebook Stories continue to generate great interest, it seems like marketers and businesses do not plan on using it in their strategies going forward. In fact, about 67% of B2B and B2C marketers will drop ephemeral content and will focus elsewhere (perhaps on the more current trends we already covered above).

The Recap

As we are moving forward in 2022, social media is becoming an increasingly important conversation starter for businesses. People turn to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and other social media platforms to find and interact with brands and companies. If you want to get a piece of the pie, you need to offer a unique and engaging experience across all channels. Live video, polls, and Q&As are just some of the formats to consider.

Your social media team will have to carry the weight of leveraging your social media as a lead-generation tool. Your social ads have to stand out by including your unique value proposition, and your team has to be ready to offer quick and friendly customer service through social media.

Formats like ephemeral content and interviews with experts will be pushed aside in 2022, and it is time for you to do the same. As long as you stay true to your brand and values and let customers see them on social media, you will have no problem keeping up with the social media trends of today and tomorrow.

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