2021 saw monumental changes to the social media landscape; new technologies, increased customer demand, an influx of users, and a global pandemic we are still feeling the impact of.

This pushed digital marketers to adapt their social marketing strategies to match the needs of users in this new digital reality.

So, as a marketer, how can you use social media to your advantage in 2022?

Below are the 5 key social media marketing trends we think you should pay close attention to in 2022, and how you can incorporate these into future campaigns.

Trend #1: TikTok’s World Domination

For the past few years, Instagram has remained the #1 social platform for digital marketers. It had the highest ROI, it was growing at the fastest rate, and was arguably the most fun to work on... but another platform has in many ways taken its place, TikTok.

In September last year, TikTok reached 1 billion users, making it the 7th most popular global social network, which rises to 4th place if you exclude messaging networks like WhatsApp.

This may not seem that impressive at first, but when you consider the fact that TikTok increased its user base by 45% in less than a year, you can see why TikTok has got marketing tongues wagging.

From 2018-2020, the global user base for this platform increased by 1,157%. If you compare that to Instagram’s monthly active user growth rate of 6% in 2020, TikTok’s growth spurt is astonishing.

TikTok is also dominating search engine demand for short-form video content, according to Hootsuite’s Social Media Trends 2022 report. In 2021, search demand for TikTok increased by 173%, whereas the search demand for Instagram reels only increased by “just” 22%.

With stats like these, you can see why TikTok has become such a valuable platform for marketers, but many businesses are approaching this network with trepidation, and withholding investment.

How can you prepare for 2022?

TikTok has already added several helpful business tools in 2020 and 2021, including business profiles, ads, stories ads, and a creator marketplace.

So, it’s worth getting to grips and experimenting with these now before more brands pick up on TikTok’s marketing potential.

But don’t rush. Take the time to explore the platform, what will work for your brand, and experiment with different forms of content before you create your official handle.

Trend #2: Video Will Reign Supreme

Video content will be at the forefront of many social marketing campaigns in 2022.

With the big social media players Facebook and Instagram announcing they are prioritising video over images in their algorithms, it’s more than likely other social media networks will follow suit. If they haven’t already.

This means you need to start adapting your marketing content if you want it to perform well on these social platforms. Now is the time to invest in video.

And it's not just the content of the video you need to consider. The length of your video is what really matters. According to Vidyard, 60% of all videos published on the internet in 2020 were under 2 minutes long, which seems like no time at all.

How can you prepare for 2022?

To start, figure out what you’re hoping to achieve with your video content. For example, if you’re focusing on retaining your followers on Instagram then consider using Instagram Reels.

If you want to attract new followers to your brand, then think about creating videos on TikTok.

Because these videos are short by design, you need to ensure your content is engaging, informative and showcases your brand in the best possible light.

If you have success with short-form videos on one platform, try it on others. You might achieve even better results.

Trend #3: Social Commerce is Trending

Prior to Covid-19, social commerce had the potential, but not the business backing it enjoys today.

However, the rise of social media consumption in the face of worldwide national lockdowns became the catalyst of the social shopping explosion.

And it shows no signs of stopping. By 2025, social commerce will be worth $80 billion in the US alone.

It’s easy to see why social shopping has become so popular - in general, it simplifies the purchase process.

Before social shopping emerged, customers would find a product they liked on Instagram, and then they would have to navigate to a different website to complete the purchase.

This extra step could cause the buyer to lose interest. This loss of interest becomes even greater on mobile, as cart rate abandonments are already high.

How can you prepare for 2022?

Facebook Shop and Instagram Shop are great places to start selling online. And focus on selling a few key items that you think your social media followers will most likely buy.

Make sure the customer journey is as seamless as possible, slow loading time or lengthy purchases can turn people off.

Finally, consider using ads or shoppable posts, as these allow users to purchase from you quickly and efficiently.

Trend #4: Paid Ads Are a Necessity

Social Media Today recorded a 92.3% year-over-year spike in social media ad spending. And this spending has increased due to the decline of organic reach.

The decline of organic reach has been well-documented for years, especially on Facebook and Instagram. This is proving to be a significant problem for SMBs as these companies generally don’t have the extra budget to pay for other forms of advertising.

Today, the average organic reach for a Facebook post is just 5.2%. So, companies need to start boosting their posts, but this comes at a price.

Even if your budget starts small, your team will need to learn how to boost your content and understand the basics of audience targeting, sooner rather than later.

How can you prepare for 2022?

Don’t stop using organic social media. Regular posts still allow you to build your brand awareness and engage with your followers. However, try promoting your top-performing posts to attract new followers.

When you decide to venture into the world of paid social ads, invest in a program that allows you to track the performance of your ads across social media platforms. Data is everything.

Trend #5: Social Media Customer Service On-Demand

The pandemic has accelerated the evolution of social shopping, which in turn has accelerated the demand for quicker customer support through social media channels.

64% of people who took part in a Nielsen survey said they would prefer to contact a company via message. And by 2023, 60% of all customer service requests will be managed via digital channels according to Gartner.

Though the demand for social customer care is growing, many businesses haven’t thought of ways they can improve their customer service care on social media... and this could be detrimental to your brand reputation.

How can you prepare for 2022?

Start by creating response templates for common queries, and then train your social marketing team with best practices for customer support.

If you have the budget, invest in a chatbot as this will help streamline your customer service channels.

Final Thoughts

Social Media will continue to be a lucrative platform for marketers if you know how to use it.

Social media trends evolve at lightning speed, so now is the time to get ahead of the game before you and your brand go out of style.