(This article was originally published on Later.com)
Social media has evolved. We’ve said goodbye to simple status updates (we miss you!) and hello to selling products and growing digital communities. And while new social media features and trends can feel never-ending, they also give you the opportunity to experiment and connect with your audience in a different way.
So, what’s on the horizon for 2022? From the staying power of short-form video to an emphasis on mental health, Later, a social media marketing platform, recently shared the top social media trends to pay attention to this year.
10 social media trends to watch in 2022
The ‘Creator Economy’ will boom
The creator economy is now worth more than $100 billion, and we predict it’s just getting started. Many platforms have started to heavily invest in creator marketplaces and creator tools–like TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest and even LinkedIn.
These tools help make it easier for creators to connect with their audience and collaborate with brands.
As social media platforms move more into the e-commerce space, it makes sense to invest in creators who are driving engagement, growing engaged communities and promoting products. And if you thought the creator community was oversaturated, think again.
There are thousands of creators who’ve seen huge growth within the span of a year or two–they’ve simply found their niche and stuck to it.
More streamlined social commerce
Social commerce is a subset of e-commerce where everything happens on social media–product discovery, click-to-purchase and post-purchase support (see more on this in FCNews’ Surfaces 2022 edition – Jan. 24/31). And it’s revolutionizing the way we shop:
- 60% of gen zers in the U.S. use Instagram to discover new brands and products
- Social commerce in the U.S. is predicted to grow nearly $80 billion by 2025
- 71% of small businesses are looking to sell on social media
Social media has become a virtual mall of sorts, right in the palm of our hands. We can browse products, find inspiration and purchase within a few clicks.
As a result, platforms have begun to introduce new social commerce tools:
- Instagram Shops make it easier for businesses to build online stores
- Instagram Checkout rolled out to U.S.-based brands, allowing users to make direct purchases
- Pinterest introduced a Shop tab, where users could browse and shop via product Pins
- TikTok is testing TikTok Shopping, right on the heels of their expanded partnership with Shopify
- Chatbots and automated direct messages are on the rise, as an additional customer care tool to interact with customers and answer FAQs
In 2022, we predict a doubling-down on social commerce, as each platform vies to make their shopping features the best-in-class for both consumers and brands alike.
Short-form vertical video is here to stay
Short-form vertical video has boomed thanks to the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels. Not only is video content an engaging form of storytelling and a way to drive sales, it’s also a major growth hack:
- Videos on Instagram get more engagement than other formats
- Tweets with videos generate 10x more engagement than those without
- Pinterest reported a 240% increase YoY organic video pins from 2020 to 2021
In the past year alone, we’ve seen brands and creators use video to connect with their audience on a deeper level, spotlight products and raise awareness about causes they care about.
In 2022, we think we’ll see a lot of new trends and creative content pop up–whether it’s fun editing transitions or in-depth tutorials.
TIP: Over 430 million people in the world are deaf or hard of hearing and 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound. So, we suggest using subtitles (or captions) on your videos to make them more accessible.
An emphasis on mental health & burnout prevention
According to a recent report by Vibely, 90% of creators have experienced burnout and 71% have considered quitting social media altogether. Between ongoing lockdowns, more time spent online and the pressure to consistently churn out content, the digital burnout is real.
In 2021, we noticed an uptick in creators and brands talking about self care, setting digital boundaries and taking breaks. And in 2022, there’ll be more conversations surrounding our relationship with social media and how it affects us.
Even Instagram’s joined the fray, with its new “Take a Break” feature, which is being tested in the U.S., UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand:
The feature allows users to “receive break reminders in-app” after a duration of their choosing.
Instagram says they’ll also provide expert-backed tips on what you can do during your break like listening to your favorite song or taking a few deep breaths. While it’s a step in the right direction, we’re curious to see how other platforms respond and how the conversation grows (and shifts) in 2022.
A renewed focus on accountability & diversity
In 2020, we saw many brands speak out against racism, with promises to listen, learn, and do better. Now, two years later, the question remains: what’s next?
Judging from a recent report, which found that the pay gap between white influencers and BIPOC influencers is 29%, brands still have a ways to go. While diversity and inclusion should never be a “social media trend” per se, we predict there will be an ongoing conversation about holding brands accountable to the promises they made to their followers.
From influencer partnerships to event speaker lineups, we hope it becomes more of a standard moving forward. In other words, no longer something to simply check off your list.
Memes, memes, memes
Everyone loves a good meme, right? In 2022, we predict memes (both static and video) are going to have an even bigger moment. We’ve seen thousands of niche meme accounts pop up on the scene for everything from astrology to social media manager woes:
Memes are a great way for brands and creators to connect with their audience and join trending conversations. In short? Memes are here to stay, and the more creative or nimble you are – the better.
Social media posts as a form of currency
Pay for a product with a social media post? Yep, it’s real and this social media trend is just getting started. We first spotted it with MilkUP’s pop-up in Ontario where customers received free limited-edition items from local businesses just by posting on social media:
The result? Long lines and consistently sold out products. As the world opens up again and brands begin planning in-person events, these types of campaigns could take off. Watch this space.
Rise of the LinkedInfluencer
LinkedIn and influencer: two words you likely never thought would work together. But in 2022, think again. “LinkedIn is an underrated platform,” said marketing strategist and LinkedIn creator, Sara Lattanzio. “They’ve started to invest more in creators. From the Creator Mode rollout to global creator programs, they’re making it easier to share content and grow an audience. It’s just the beginning.”
But why LinkedIn’s sudden popularity? “The shift to work-from-home culture made many people realize the importance of creating a memorable personal brand outside of the one you have with your company,” said marketer and creator, Danica S. Nelson. “LinkedIn is a great way to create visibility and showcase thought leadership within your broader network.”
Not to mention, the engagement potential is bananas. Check out this post that has over 20K reactions:
So what will we see in 2022? We predict more creators using the platform, professionals growing their personal brands and CEOs positioning themselves as experts in their field. “What I hope we don’t see more of is the recycling of polls that ask whether internships should be paid or unpaid,” Danica added. “Enough please.”
The “No Filter” feed takes over
Creators and brands alike are shifting away from the perfectly curated feed aesthetic and choosing to share less filtered and more in-the-moment content.
Take @scienceoffoods whose simplistic posts look like they have no filters at all:
This trend goes hand-in-hand with the rise of authenticity over recent years, which has seen a shift in the type of content posted on social media.
In 2022, we predict brands and creators will spend less time creating a picture-perfect perception, and more time fostering deeper relationships with their followers.
Brands let loose on TikTok
TikTok was the cool kid on the block in 2021, and that won’t change in 2022.
With over 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok is a space for anyone and everyone–with a less filtered and curated vibe than Instagram. And with 60% of TikTok users being gen zers (the ultimate trendsetters), we predict more brands letting loose and trying to tap into that market.
With TikTok, brands can be more casual and experimental. We’re looking forward to seeing how this trend evolves throughout the year. Like we said, social media is the wild west–it’s constantly evolving. And while it can be overwhelming when a new feature drops or a trend emerges, it allows you to experiment and see what works best for your specific audience and goals.
So, whether it’s posting more meme content or leveraging in-app shopping features, we’re tapping these 10 social media trends as ones to watch.