Social media provides a way for brands to interact with consumers directly, in real-time, making it a powerful marketing channel to gain exposure and develop relationships with followers and non-followers alike. It's also at the forefront of digital innovation - where brands can explore the latest trending methods and tactics to bring new products to market, develop brand personas, and engage with consumers.
Like anything digital, it's always evolving at a rapid pace, and keeping up with all the latest trends can be exhausting. So, here’s a list of our top 12 trends this year to hopefully make things a little easier and help inform any upcoming social strategies
1. Social media usage isn't slowing down
The number of global social media users grew from 4.2 billion in January 2021, to 4.62 billion in January 2022, 10.1% growth YoY.
With the combination of a general increase in online activity, and the age gap of users widening, social media remains the go-to channel for internet usage. Whether it's to interact with friends & family, play games, shop for new products, learn new skills, or watch videos, social media has become a hub for just about any sort of activity.
2. People spend more time on social media than anywhere else
The average daily time spent on the Internet in the United States is 7 hours 51 minutes, with 2 hours 27 minutes spent on social media.
TikTok and YouTube are leading the way in average time spent per day, at just over 45 minutes.
3. Facebook reigns supreme, and still growing among younger global users
With 263 million active members, Facebook is the most popular social network in the U.S. and Canada.
Despite reports of losing favor among younger members, Facebook's user base remains relatively young. Its members are actually led by the 25 - 34 age group (25.4% of all users). The 18 - 24 age group is the third highest demographic, making up 17.4% of all Facebook users.
Although platforms like Instagram and TikTok are the go-to apps for Gen Z, Facebook continues to find ways of staying relevant - whether its by acquiring new platforms, new tech or by rebranding to Meta. As newer and more trendy platforms gain market share, it will be interesting to see how Facebook continues to improve its apps to remain at the forefront of social media.
4. Video dominates social media
Video ads are the #1 way for consumers to find out about a new brand or product before purchasing.
Video is the easiest way to consume information. With social networks' scrolling feed format, it's crucial for brands to stand out with catchy and engaging content that quickly conveys what the post is about. For videos geared towards younger users, vertical and short-form videos will work best. HubSpot found that 64% of marketers are planning to leverage more short-form videos in 2022.
5. Social media usage most active during mid week mornings
According to research for each social network individually, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 9 and 10 a.m. were consistently observed as the highest times of social media engagement.
6. User-generated content paying off dividends for brands
60% of marketers agree that authenticity and quality are equally important elements of successful content.
The popularity of user-generated material stems from the fact that it provides suitable social proof. Seeing information from actual consumers strengthens your brand's trust and puts your promises into context. People trust suggestions from their peers, which they perceive to be more impartial than brand-generated material, which is why it is employed on various social media platforms.
7. Shopping activity increasingly intertwined with social media
Social commerce in the U.S. is expected to grow to 80 billion by 2025.
On TikTok, the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit generated 8.4 billion views as of January 2022.
On Instagram, the newly implemented Shopping tab appearing on the main navigation menu has made it even easier for users to make purchases. Nearly half of surveyed Instagram users say that they shop on Instagram weekly.
Not all social networks are great for shopping for new products – but most of them are. Traditionally not thought of as a direct response channel, the gradual emergence of social commerce means that marketers have had to rethink how they're reaching users through paid social within the larger context of the customer journey.
8. Social customer service
62% of those surveyed on Facebook say that messaging on social is the easiest, most convenient way to get in contact with a business.
61% say they have messaged a business at least once in the last three months.
Social messaging has become the easiest, most convenient way to contact a business. When customers have problems with products or any sort of issue with deliveries, returns, or misplaced items , the first place they’ll look to voice these concerns is on social. Brands that actively monitor and respond to inquiries will be noticed - it's a great way of letting the world know that you're listening to consumers, attentive to their needs, and are resourceful in finding solutions to their problems.
9. Social listening
Everyone wants to know what's being said about them, right? That's even more true for businesses. Social listening technology has come a long way in the past few years, allowing marketers to uncover deep insights into customer experiences and brand reputation, revealing what's working and what they need to improve upon. It can also shed some light on potential audience demographics that were never considered in marketing campaigns but actually reveal to be great matches for your brand.
Many social listening and analytic software providers use keyword detection and web crawlers to power their platforms. Other software like ListenFirst uses a first-party API integration to analyze conversations and comments through keywords, emojis, and tone of voice.
10. TikTok's surge in popularity is breaking records
With 689 million active users as of Jan 2021, a 142% increase YoY, TikTok is now the 5th most used platform.
It's no surprise that TikTok's surge in popularity coincided with the global pandemic.
With folks spending more time at home, TikTok was the perfect medium for users to express themselves creatively, while engaging with others and staying connected with friends and family. In Q1 of 2020 it set a quarterly record for social app downloads with 315 million installs.
11. Virtual and augmented reality to penetrate further into social activity
The global augmented reality market is expected to grow to 97.7 billion by 2028.
The technology is making the most impact in the gaming and media/entertainment industries. And social media provides the perfect medium for brands to employ AR technology where they can showcase products, host virtual tours, conduct interactive demos, etc. The opportunity it presents for marketers to test their creative limits is certainly something to look forward to!
12. Authentic messaging
With all the weariness of “fake news” on social, brands need to go an extra step to display authentic messaging. Be real, and be human. Use actual people in your videos and livestreams. Leverage influencers, customers, and even your own employees to show how authentic you are.
Back up claims of your products with verified data, actual customer testimonials and certifications. Look to authoritative sources in your industry that can help verify key differentiator claims about your business.