Social media is evolving frequently with new capabilities, new platforms, new tools and of course new strategies. It’s important to keep up with these frequent updates to help make the most of your content and overall digital strategy.
Trends We Have Seen Already in 2022
QR codes made a miraculous comeback in 2020 due to the need for contactless options as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and QR codes continue to thrive in 2022. For example, twenty million people scanned the QR code featured in Coinbase’s Super Bowl commercial within minutes of the ad airing.
Pros: It’s an opportunity to connect with a younger demographic. It projects information in a contact-free format in a world still dealing with a pandemic.
Cons: In general, we’ve been told to be wary of clicking random links as it can be spam or a means for others to get your personal information. Since users can’t see what the website URL is associated with a QR code, some think it can be dangerous.
While TikTok isn’t a new trend for 2022, it’s certainly a continuing trend. In case you haven’t yet heard the news: TikTok is huge. It was the number 1 most downloaded app in 2021 and has more Gen-Z users than Instagram. In September 2021, TikTok surpassed 1 billion monthly active users and shows no signs of slowing down. TikTok isn’t for every brand, but you’ll still want to keep an eye on it – it’s great for keeping up with influencers in your industry.
Pros: It’s a popular, growing platform that is very diverse. Spend any time on TikTok and you’ll see cleaning hacks, cooking tips, funny skits and cute pups. It has something for just about everyone.
Cons: Diverse as it may be, it might not be appropriate for your brand. According to Hootsuite, the majority of people on TikTok want entertaining and funny content. If doing funny and entertaining content doesn’t fit your brand, maybe consider aligning with a TikTok influencer to get your message out instead of creating your own TikTok account.
Short Form Video
The success of TikTok proves the popularity of short-form videos. Whether it’s short attention spans or lack of time, viewers respond well to shorter videos. Instagram getting rid of the IGTV tab and focusing more on Reels was an indicator that short videos are in the current trend.
It is worth noting that Twitter Fleets and LinkedIn Stories, however, were two short-form formats that came and went very quickly. So, while short-form video content is popular, it’s not necessarily fitting for every platform.
Pros: The benefit of short videos for brands is that they are easy to create, especially with Instagram and TikTok where you can create videos directly in the platform. The ease of creation of short form content also allows for more diverse user generated content; fans can be encouraged to submit their short-form videos in addition to photos which allows for a greater pool of content to choose from — helping diversify your content calendar.
Cons: Creating Instagram Reels and TikTok videos can be fun – they both have a huge music library to choose from, tons of gifs and lots of filters. But as a brand, you need to make sure the content created aligns with your brand standards. Music in particular can be controversial; what may sound like a great classic tune to you might have different connotations to your fans. Additionally, you could be spending more time than you’d like vetting the editing properties within the platforms, and Instagram Reels and TikTok videos are not always shareable to other platforms due to music licensing limitations. Another downside is you can’t put advertising dollars towards boosting visibility of Instagram reels.
Trends to Keep an Eye Out For in 2022
$10 billion – that’s how much Facebook (or rather, Facebook’s parent company Meta) could lose this year due to the new privacy options for iPhone users. Combine that with the fact that Gen-Z prefers TikTok and the FTC filed an anti-trust lawsuit, and we’re all on Facebook watch (no pun intended). Once the social media leader, in Q4 of 2021 Facebook had their first drop in daily average users since 2012.
Pros: Facebook is probably not going away any time soon. According to Hootsuite, 69% of Americans over the age of 18 use Facebook.
Cons: Facebook recently removed thousands of ad targeting categories (such as those relating to sensitive topics) which not only affects who will be served those ads but also ad pricing, thus making advertising on Facebook less appealing. It would be wise not to put all your social eggs in Facebook’s basket. Diversify your brand by engaging on multiple social media platforms so you’re not reliant on Facebook’s, or the FTC’s, next move.
After a successful launch in 2020, Clubhouse lost its mojo in 2021, but that didn’t stop Facebook and Twitter from starting their own audio features. Facebook created Rooms allowing for podcasts to be integrated into the platform and also introduced Soundbites. Twitter rolled out its audio platform called Twitter Spaces. Podcasts continue to be extremely popular, dismissing any notion that people strictly want video content. It will be interesting to see how brands use audio features in 2022.
Pros: Audio is another way to diversify the type of content your brand is putting out.
Cons: Your brand might not have content that is suitable for an audio format.
Subscription services are also worth mentioning as brands start to shape their strategy without depending on Facebook, or other social platforms. Owning one’s content and creating a hub for it is something brands should think about. For example, Oprah is giving it a try with Oprah Insider, a members-only community associated with her website OprahDaily.com. Patreon, an online service for companies to host subscription content, is another option for ways brands can get their message out. Patreon is doubling in size this year, according to TechCrunch.com.
Pros: Hosting a subscription service on your own website means you are not bound by the algorithm of the social media platforms. You’re also not tied to platforms should they change or no longer exist (RIP Vine). Using Patreon and Substack is an easy way to have a subscription model without having to deal with the logistics of sign-ups such as processing payments.
Cons: It can be time consuming and costly to try and host a subscription service on your own website. It could also be hard to convert people to start paying for content. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are more familiar to people so they may be unwilling or afraid to try new avenues. People might frown upon having to sign up for yet another site.
Like any industry, trends come and go, and that remains true in the social media and digital marketing world. While not every trend will be appropriate for every brand, it’s advantageous for a brand to stay on top of the latest trends so they don’t miss potential opportunities and stay ahead of the competition. For now, the social media legacy brands (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube) are still good investments of your time while you integrate additional platforms and trends into the marketing mix.