So what can we expect in 2022?
1. Social and brand accountability
More consumers are concerned with how the companies they buy from do business. Social causes and charitable donations of a percentage of profit can be a big motivator. Generations like Millenials or Gen Z are concerned about the environment and a number of other causes. Businesses that give back will have a better connection with their buyers and ethical practices are a big consideration among potential customers.
2. Video will be King
We have already mentioned TikTok and reels, and the popularity of social video has risen exponentially in the past few years. Social media users are changing the way that information is communicated and consumed. With video pushing ahead to be the clear winner. Youtube is one of the biggest websites in the world, and social media has quickly integrated and adopted the medium into its own channels. Reels, live video, stories, all use video to help account owners to communicate with their audience.
3. User-generated content
Companies that encourage their customers to post, like, tag, follow on social media know that it is a powerful advertising medium. People will likely trust a recommendation from another user more than a post or an ad, and smart companies are capitalizing on the trend. User-generated content will likely be leveraged even more in 2022 to promote and connect businesses with potential customers, and there may even be rewards or kickbacks for posting content in the future as brands try to encourage higher instances of this type of engagement.
4. Employee bios and behind the scenes content
In the last couple of years, businesses have realized that featuring their own employees on their social channels drives a deeper connection with customers. Sharing employees successes or promotions on social channels provided a human aspect to the business. Real people, real-life situations and challenges can all be shared to engage followers on a meaningful level, creating a connection with individuals that work for the business. Customers love to know that they will be speaking to ‘Tom’ in customer service rather than a nameless, faceless entity, so sharing posts about employees can promote a real interest in the business.
5. Smaller ad networks
Facebook and Google ads have long reigned supreme in the work of business promotion and marketing. However, many businesses, especially small to medium enterprises are getting real value from moving their advertising efforts to smaller platforms. With advertising outlets like Pinterest, Linkedin, and Quora, companies are able to better target their buyers in a less saturated market. Pinterest claims it can return twice the return on ad spend than other platforms and messaging apps like Snapchat are seeing an increase in advertising as marketers try alternate methods to reach their intended audience.
6. Social commerce growth
Instagram and Facebook have both added a shop feature to their platforms which gives users the capability of adding and tagging products in their social media feed. Where social media accounts were readily used to advertise products, now purchases can be made directly without leaving the channel to go to a website. In some ways social media platforms are evolving to become retail platforms, for those who want it. With a social commerce value predicted to reach $80 million by 2025, social marketers will continue to demand tools and features for their shopfronts and retail marketing efforts.
7. Social audio will continue to develop
The clubhouse audio platform launched with a bang and platforms like Facebook and Twitter quickly followed suit with its own social audio features. Having the ability to communicate with real time speech and create a community around different subject and topics was quickly adopted by users. While it hasn’t had the dramatic impact that video content has, audio content has caught the attention of many businesses. Statistics show that over 74% of businesses are consider adding audio-only content to their marketing strategy in 2023 and beyond. For now, audio-content advertising may be the bastion of larger businesses. Possibly due to the complexity of creating quality audio content smaller businesses have been much slower to adopt audio as a marketing medium.
8. AI, AR, and machine learning
As technology continues to adapt and evolve it will make even further strides into the worlds of augmented reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning. Photo filters that add elements like sunglasses or lovehearts are a basic version of AR, but the technology will be seen more frequently in areas like social retail or commerce. Ai and machine learning tools will learn and adapt to behaviors and some industries are already making gains by using AI tools. Recruiting, for example, has seen promising adoption numbers for companies that wish to better source candidates and predict their suitability for a role. AI, AR, and machine learning will reveal many possibilities for brands that wish to streamline and better target their advertising efforts.
9. Influencer marketing
By now, everyone has heard of an Influencer and many businesses use the power of individual accounts to widen their reach and advertise to new markets. However, influencer marketing has not yet peaked with the majority of influencers holding accounts on Instagram. Through 2022 and in the years following it may be possible to see the advertising phenomena expand to other platforms, as a result, it may not be uncommon to see Twitter or Linkedin influencers in higher numbers. This makes sense as different social platforms have attributes and features that appeal to different audiences.