Social Media Marketing: 2022 Trends and Predictions

Abstract
The prolonged pandemic caused a greater upheaval in the social media marketing trends as people spent more time on social channels, and marketers continuously experimented with new models and innovations in their social media marketing strategies. This has paved the way for the emergence of new megatrends in the world of social media marketing. Social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., have embedded more options to shop within their platforms--giving a tremendous boost to social commerce. Brands have started incorporating virtual elements and online games into their social media marketing campaigns. NFTs are being bought and sold through platforms integrated with social media. Metaverse is likely to play a bigger role on social media platforms. Consumer-facing brands are adopting a more human and empathetic tone in their interactions with social media users. 

With the latest trends and technological boosts, social media marketing provides unparalleled avenues for sales stimulation, brand image enhancement, traffic generation, and expanding the brand’s trajectory. The majority of business organizations desire to enhance their marketing efforts by utilizing the data and information from social media platforms. With over 4.62 billion active social media users, businesses are picking up their speed to tap the untapped potential. What trends they can expect in social media with the change in digital technologies.

This research report by GoodFirms titled "Social Media Marketing: 2022 Trends and Predictions" aims to identify the latest social media marketing trends around the world. In addition, this research also attempts to predict the future trends in social media marketing for business growth. 

Introduction

Consumers have vaulted forward years in digital adoption amidst the pandemic, and social media provides marketers with all dimensions required for hyperlocal, personalized, cost-effective, and target-oriented marketing to reach such customers. From purpose-led campaigns to online social gaming, marketers are reinventing ROIs with effective social media marketing. With integrated artificial intelligence-based algorithms, social media marketing is reaching new heights along with precise targeting and improving business sales. 

With the rise of social commerce, social media platforms are becoming the new-age malls and are revolutionizing how companies sell their products. Social media offers unparalleled opportunities for brand building, lead generation, retention, segment analysis, and customer communication and collaboration. With the advent of the Metaverse, social media may take center stage in immersive shopping experiences amidst the convergence of the physical and virtual world. 

This research titled: 'Social Media Marketing: 2022 Trends and Predictions' by GoodFirms identifies and analyzes the major social media marketing trends for the year 2022. This research study also attempts to discover the future social media marketing trends that will allow businesses of all sizes and types to leverage the power of social media.

Social interaction on social media

Trend #1: Automation - Scheduling, ChatBots, etc.

Waves of social media automation are disrupting all industries throughout the globe. 

Automation is a leading trend of the present time in social media marketing. Social media automation refers to optimizing social interactions by using automation tools. The automation tools greatly benefit the marketing experts in automating several repetitive tasks such as scheduling the posts, insights management, deploying chatbots, etc. 

Social media marketers can easily automate the posts on social media platforms daily through automation tools. This is done by scheduling the posts in advance. In addition, marketers can also deploy chatbots on their social media profiles using automation that answers the general questions of the online audiences.(1) Moreover, they can also acquire insights about the ads, posts, reach, etc., at a single place with automation instead of manually checking them separately. Platforms such as Hootsuite, Facebook business suite, etc. are leading in social media automation.

Trend #2: Short Videos - Reels, Tiktoks, etc.

The rise of the short-form video led by TikTok

Another significant trend hugely influencing the social media marketing industry is short videos. With the launch of TikTok in 2016, social media marketing saw a revolutionary change. TikTok introduced short videos in which social media users can use videos and images, and music to engage with other users.(2)

Accounts reached via social media

After the massive success of Tiktok, several other existing social media platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., started their own short videos sections. Businesses started capturing and developing videos of their offerings and business functions for engaging with potential customers. Today, businesses use trending songs and hashtags along with videos to amplify their digital reach. In addition, more and more people are tuning in to videos that drive colossal engagement and online reach. Short videos such as reels can easily make content go viral to reach a massive number of social media users, even when a business has only a small number of followers and likes. Platforms such as TikTok, Instagram Reels, Youtube Shorts, etc. are leading in short videos.

Trend #3: Rise of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing creates a new frontier for social media marketers.

Influencer marketing onboard celebrities to influence the consumers and their behavior. At present, Influencer marketing is one of the dominant social media marketing strategies to promote a business. 

The rapid growth of online influencer marketing redefines how businesses are conceiving and practicing their social media marketing. Influencer marketing means a company is crowdsourcing influencers' resources to ensure effectiveness in marketing communication and campaigns. These influencers' resources include their followers, communication content, personal positioning, etc., to attract more audience towards the brand.(3)

With the growth in social media, influencer marketing will grow too. The thick line between social media and e-commerce is gradually narrowing down. This allows businesses to connect with their customers and see immediate results by leveraging influencer marketing. Influencer marketing not only provides better results but also ensures minimum risks. Brands that are not leveraging influencer marketing are missing out on the opportunities to expand and grow their business.

Trend #4: Driving Lead Conversion From User Interactions and Insights

Capturing real-time insights for better conversions and campaigns’ effectiveness.

Social media users need to just tap on their screens for following a brand, opening their website, registering on any platform, etc. Sometimes, during this user interaction process, they leave valuable insights. Businesses can utilize these insights to prepare their marketing strategies, improve the customer experience, reduce the touchpoints, etc., for ensuring user satisfaction. As stricter authentications for user accounts eliminates anonymity, brands have to spend less time verifying genuine customer queries.

Posts related interactions and insights such as likes, comments, shares, etc., help determine the effectiveness of social media campaigns.(4) Social media marketers and businesses need to implement effective measures for capturing the insights on a real-time and manual basis to use them during any policy development.

social media reporting

Trend #5: Live Streaming 

Live Streaming is replacing traditional engagement platforms.

The live streaming industry is overgrowing and replacing traditional engagement platforms. It is expected to grow upto USD 223.98 billion by the year 2028.(5) Increasing use of Live streaming media is also one of the significant trends in the present. Due to the use of the latest technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, etc., live streaming is improving the growth and engagement of businesses on social media platforms.

Influencers and regular social media users are now using live streaming through social media platforms to engage and influence other users regarding their products and services. On-demand video and high-speed connectivity are the major factors behind the immense popularity of live streaming among businesses. Platforms such as YouTube Live, Facebook Live, LinkedIn Live, etc. are leading in live streaming.

Trend #6: Social Advertising

Social media advertising is unlocking brand awareness with relevant social ads. 

Social advertising is an advertising strategy by businesses in which they serve the social causes of their audience through social media. It has been extended in demand due to the recent developments in digital technologies and social media platforms. In addition, several products categories such as food, clothing, cars, etc., are most used and effective in social advertising. Businesses should understand the heterogenous effects of social advertising on their products to develop an effective social advertising strategy.(6)

The marketing department of any business uses social advertising through social media to fulfill its non-commercial objectives as social media have access to valuable and specific information of users. Through this valuable information of users, organizations can easily maintain effective social relationships with their targeted customers to enhance public awareness. 

Trend #7: Social Commerce

Increasing social media usage propels social commerce.

Social commerce is also one of the rising trends in selling products through social media. It proves to help check out directly from the social media platform instead of redirecting to other web locations. This direct check-out makes the whole shopping process more accessible and streamlined with fewer clicks and reduces the customer's overall journey while shopping.(7) In the present time, popular social commerce platforms include social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.

top social media platform in 2022

Social commerce blurs the lines between social media and e-commerce by combining these two into a single marketing strategy. In addition, some of the existing online selling platforms are now implementing new elements in their marketing, such as live streaming, social feed, chat functions, etc. This implementation ensures that the brand is consistently engaging with the community.

Trend #8: Snackable Content

Snackable content is dominating marketing campaigns. 

Snackable content is an emerging trend in social media marketing. In this, original content is shortened for understanding and entertainment purposes. This short content usually focuses on a single motive or theme so that people can quickly grasp it and its information. However, the content creators and business brands need to ensure that they are using content as per the interest and identity of the target audience to ensure better results.(8)

Video content is one of the most commonly used forms of snackable content. The message and information provided through the snackable content, i.e., short videos, tend to be very effective in engaging the audience, briefing the audience, and developing content that can be easily shared across social platforms. In addition, brands can leverage snackable content for creating memes, quoting thoughts, news stories, etc., to attract more people toward their brand.

Employee Advocacy

As the name suggests, Employee Advocacy is the technique of promoting a brand through employees. In the past, employers used employee advocacy by forcing the employees to share the marketing content on their social media platforms. However, with the change in time and technology, this thing is changing. Now employers are keen to empower their employees by taking a social stand to earn their trust. 

Employee advocacy is becoming a beacon of trust among consumers as employees use social media to boost the company's goodwill and bold sentiments. If appropriately implemented at the workplace, social advocacy can lead to enhanced employee retention and progressive benefits to organizations. Employee advocacy through social media can improve brand recognition, recruit skilled employees, and humanize the brand. However, to ensure the success of employee advocacy, both marketing and HR departments need to work together. Employees can be made brand ambassadors by employee advocacy which also helps in creating a social media culture promoting growth. Brands like EA, Dell, Genesys, etc. are crushing the employee advocacy trend of social media marketing.

Content/Caption Generation Through AI and ML

Artificial Intelligence is transforming how businesses develop, implement, and sell their products and services. With artificial intelligence, digital marketers effectively execute their work and social media marketing campaigns. At present, artificial intelligence is carrying out a wide range of social media marketing activities such as scheduling content, deploying chatbots, managing insights, etc. Also, content creation activities are tested through artificial intelligence to determine content accuracy and relevancy. 

The content creation process is expected to see significant improvements in the upcoming time. AI will change the landscape of content creation, dissemination, and interaction for engaging with the users.(9) From storytelling to captions, AI is expected to bring considerable changes to the social media marketing landscape. The AI-powered content creation will open up new gateways in e-commerce, advertising, productivity, online education, etc. 

Expansion of Social Commerce

Social commerce is one of the recent social media marketing trends for enhancing the sales and productivity of businesses. However, it will dominate in the upcoming years due to customers' preferences in terms of enhanced experience when spending time on social networks. Companies can expect more testing and integrations for adding shoppable functionality on social platforms. Firms can see the growth in computer vision applications, AR, VR, snackable content, etc. for a better user experience and shopping. 

Elements of social commerce include Business, Technology, People, and Information. These elements are interconnected with each other having their own strategy and infrastructure. Businesses need to work on these factors together to assure success in social commerce.

Elements of social media

Source

Nicole Hampton, Senior Vice President of MikeWorldWide (MWW), says," We will see more brands testing shoppable functionality on all platforms. From shop buttons to livestreams to ads to influencers, the social sale will be at the forefront of smart social strategies."(10)

The Metaverse Shift

Augmented and Virtual reality has been rising since the start of this decade. Marketers can use these augmented and virtual realities to create social media campaigns. Through increased virtual reality, businesses can allow their consumers to know what the product will look like physically. In addition, they can also boost their consumer engagement and experience by leveraging both augmented and virtual reality. 

Metaverse is one of the most trending topics in augmented and virtual reality after Facebook announced renaming its parent company to Meta.(11) Metaverse is a new 3d way through which social media users, particularly Facebook, can easily socialize, collaborate, learn and play together beyond imagination. It is seen as the next hugely disruptive interaction in social media marketing and the internet. In upcoming years, Metaverse will expand to virtual events, workplaces, etc., from gaming and reflect the vision of several key players of the IT industry.(12) Technologies like Virtual reality, Augmented reality, mixed reality (MR), extended reality (ER), Smart glasses, etc., will help people connect and explore the Metaverse in the upcoming time. Tools such as Horizon workrooms, Beat Saber, In-depth VR, etc., are some of the ways the concept of Metaverse is being implemented in the present time. 

Currently, social media users hesitate to use augmented and virtual reality during their shopping experience. The hesitancy of users in utilizing augmented and virtual reality may change with the rapid competition in Metaverse. Trends like NFTs, cryptocurrencies, etc., will lead the metaverse trends.

Businesses and marketers can enhance their customer experience by experimenting with augmented and virtual reality. Snapchat is one of the recent examples which opened virtual pop-up stores for Coke and Walmart.(13)

Video Marketing to Increase Further

Video marketing is not a tiny marketing strategy. Rather it is one of the fastest result-driven strategies. A profile picture on social media profiles gets few likes, whereas when the same picture is used as a video, its reach increases quite a lot. Video has become one of the most used marketing mediums to attract more people and consumers towards the brand. Both short and long-form videos can be used for marketing purposes as per the requirements of platforms. Some of the reasons why video marketing will increase are as follows:

  • Blogs and articles with videos have higher chances to rank on the first page of SERP.
  • The majority of consumers expect to see video content from their favorite brands.
  • Video as a marketing tool enhances your digital reach and audience.
  • The majority of people spend around 40 minutes watching videos.

In a recent study by Cisco, around 80% of content on social media will be video content by the end of 2022. Approximately 70% of people will purchase the products and services after watching product-related videos on social media platforms.(14) These statistics show that brands are expected to reinvent their online shopping strategies by developing snackable content videos for the mobile first.

Better Platforms may Pop up

The problems of people are a significant reason behind innovations and inventions. When people encountered issues on Facebook, they got Instagram. When people discovered issues on Instagram, they got Tiktok and so on. New social media platforms keep popping up out of nowhere when people get bored of previous ones. Platforms like Instagram reels, Twitter spaces, Clubhouse, etc., are changing how people interact and engage with each other on social media. In addition, platforms like Twitch, Discord, etc. are opening new opportunities for businesses to create their chat servers, Livestream their gaming and other activities, etc.(16) More new platforms will rise with the technological upgrades in social media, Metaverse, AI and ML, ETC. to assist the businesses and people in engaging with each other efficiently in various ways.

Digital Engagement Explosion Will Happen

Brands are slowly learning the capabilities of social media in terms of business growth, customer engagement, customer satisfaction, etc. Digital engagement gradually increases between brands and consumers and will see a massive change in ensuring the business's success.(17) Brand identity, brand personality, and brand effect will be the leading factors behind this digital engagement explosion that will happen in the upcoming time. 

The digital engagement explosion is beneficial for both businesses and their consumers. Both the company and consumers get to know each other before engaging directly. In addition, the rise of new social media platforms, significant technologies, etc., will also lead to this digital engagement explosion. 

NFT Influence

NFT refers to the Non-Fungible Token concept originated from the token standard of Ethereum. It will be one of the most significant assets for social media marketing. At present, NFT trade happens through several platforms such as Opensea, Magic Eden, Wazirx NFT, Solea, and several others. Business organizations can sell through NFTs. They can generate a big audience through their unique arts that can be purchased on social media platforms instead of specific platforms. 

Some businesses have already started working on NFTs to dive into the trend. Almost all companies can leverage the NFT technology by creating unique arts that can be sold to other people. NFT is hugely stimulating the growth of the decentralized application market.(18) In addition, NFTs can boost the gaming industry, flourish virtual events, protect digital collectibles or art, inspire the Metaverse,(19), etc., if the businesses correctly understand the concept. NFTs can assist any brand in developing a unique art concept that can be sold to users in return for money, appreciation, etc. 

Catchy Content Aligning with SEO Will Still Rule

SEO i.e. Search engine optimization is the process of organically ranking websites and webpages. SEO is an integral part of marketing since the rise of the internet and it will continue to be one in 2022 also. Attractive and creative content aligned with the SEO and Google algorithms will continue to rule social media marketing. 

Content is referred to as a King in Marketing and brands will keep ruling the hearts of social media users through catchy and unique content that consumers can relate to.(20) In addition, social media also hugely influences the SEO results by extensively distributing content, enhancing web traffic, brand recognition, etc. which helps in business growth. 

Greenwashing

Greenwashing is a technique that is used by businesses and brands to market themselves as environment-friendly without worrying much about minimizing their business impact on the environment. Consumers of the present time are environmentally conscious and their purchasing decisions are impacted by the way a brand is impacting the environment. Due to this, brands are showcasing their offerings as well as business processes as environment-friendly on social media platforms. 

Greenwashing is used by business organizations for several decades and it will keep on increasing in 2022 also. The desire to build a clean image and trust among the audience is one of the core driving forces behind this increased usage. However, this marketing tactic may fail if consumers perceive that brands are over-marketing themselves.(21) Due to this, businesses should not only promote themselves as eco-friendly rather they should take steps to become eco-friendly. The reason is clear that consumers feel satisfied with the products and services of a brand if it is environment-friendly. Brands know that and they will keep using this greenwashing for attracting new customers as well as to build a good reputation.

Sustainability

Sustainability is the key factor that brands focuses on while executing their marketing and advertising campaigns. They tend to achieve sustainability in the market by uniquely representing their brand on social media and among the general audience. This sustainability can be easily accomplished through the use of social media. Social media platforms are beneficial in attracting new customers, engaging with existing customers, etc. due to which brands can easily attain sustainability in the market within a short span of time if they properly choose their social media marketing strategies and platforms. 

Businesses like Starbucks, IHOP, Wix, Airbnb, etc. have acquired huge growth through social media marketing within a short span of time. People such as founders, CEOs, digital marketers, etc. are aware of the change social media can bring for a business due to which it will be a preferred choice for organizations in attaining sustainable growth.

Key Findings

  • Automation is one of the leading trends in automating the repetitive tasks of social media marketing.
  • TikTok and Instagram are the two most popular social media networks for short video marketing.
  • Influencer marketing is also rising in the present time due to its enormous reach and engagement.
  • The businesses at present are also driving leads from the insights left by users through user touchpoints.
  • Digital live streaming is replacing the traditional engagement platforms due to development in Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, etc.
  • Social advertising is raising social awareness among audiences and promoting their brand.
  • Social commerce is blurring the lines between social media and e-commerce due to the ease and convenience of users.
  • Snackable content is beneficial for businesses in boosting the reach and effectiveness of social media marketing campaigns.
  • Employees will represent the brand, and employee advocacy will play a vital role in the brand promotion on social platforms.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning will assist marketers in automating their storytelling and content creation.
  • Metaverse will revolutionize the social media marketing industry in upcoming years.
  • Paid marketing, mainly with video ads, will keep growing with time in future years.
  • The rise of new platforms, NFT evolution, digital engagement explosion, etc., are among the future social media predictions.

Conclusion

Social media marketing is boosting sales and the growth of businesses in a significant manner. Social media marketers are staying aware of current trends in social media marketing such as task automation, leveraging the power of reels/short videos, influencer marketing, etc. By staying updated with these trends, they can effectively promote their brand and its offerings among potential customers. In addition, Businesses can also know the latest technologies that they can implement in their social media marketing processes for acquiring better results. 

Looking to outsource your marketing campaigns to social media marketing companies

Business organizations need to also determine and read about the future trends that can enhance the business outputs. Social media marketers need to stay updated with the recent innovations in technologies to understand how their business can benefit from them. The developments and upgrades in Artificial intelligence, Machine learning, Blockchain, etc., will result in newer trends and social media marketing techniques.

References

  1. https://sproutsocial.com/glossary/social-media-automation/
  2. https://www.forrester.com/blogs/weekly-usage-of-tiktok-surpasses-instagram-among-us-gen-z-youth/
  3. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11747-021-00829-4
  4. https://www.mdpi.com/0718-1876/16/4/44/pdf
  5. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-video-streaming-market
  6. https://ide.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/mksc.2020.1240.pdf
  7. https://learn.meltwater.com/rs/486-VOS-157/images/2020-Comprehensive-Guide-to-Social-Commerce.pdf
  8. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3397481.3450690?casa_token=iuRNve54a40AAAAA:7emMFG2x1JW2XYa3ON1gGuO_1XUYIM_EG73_JY9GHlOkcV965AEWEZ5WiUbAYGy0cEdFFvoHgRqW
  9. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3366423.3382669
  10. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2022/01/25/social-media-trends-taking-off-in--2022-and-how-to-leverage-them/?sh=6f889db26f5d
  11. https://about.facebook.com/meta/
  12. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/OXAN-DB267012/full/html 
  13. .https://www.marketingdive.com/news/coca-cola-walmart-open-ar-holiday-stores-in-snapchat/610531/
  14. https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/m/en_us/solutions/service-provider/vni-forecast-highlights/pdf/Global_2021_Forecast_Highlights.pdf
  15. https://emtemp.gcom.cloud/ngw/globalassets/en/marketing/documents/intelligence-report-shifts-in-ad-impressions-2021-exerpt.pdf
  16. https://offers.hubspot.com/social-media-trends-report-2022
  17. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15332861.2021.1905474
  18. https://arxiv.org/pdf/2105.07447.pdf
  19. https://www.goodfirms.co/resources/nft-races-supreme-will-markets-evolve
  20. https://www.semrush.com/blog/social-media-seo/#:~:text=Social%20media%20does%20not%20directly,Longer%20lifespan%20of%20your%20posts
  21. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263755365_Tweetjacked_The_Impact_of_Social_Media_on_Corporate_Greenwash
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