Five key social media trends businesses need to be ready for in 2022

Through Sarah Dawley, Content Manager, Hootsuite

As 2022 looms on the horizon, companies will look to engage in attracting customers, generating revenue, and delivering innovative new ideas.

In an increasingly digitally driven world, social media and digital marketing will inevitably play a role in almost any business strategy, as companies turn to future-proof operations and connect with today’s tech-savvy customers.

Drawing on global data and expert insight, Hootsuite’s Social Trends 2022 report maps out a roadmap for businesses to help them exceed expectations and outperform the competition.

Here are the biggest social trends identified in our report that businesses should take note of for 2022:

The trend of social advertising

Consumers set higher standards for creativity in social advertising on brands. They challenge marketers to be more creative and enrich the user experience, especially on booming channels like TikTok, which just hit one billion users in record time. When it comes to brand marketing, even TikTok itself advises, “Don’t advertise. Make TikToks ”, and Pinterest asks advertisers to“ Stop interrupting, start inspiring ”.

From a consumers’ perspective, research shows they can actually respond better to non-traditional advertising on channels like TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest, with research from Kantar and TikTok finding that consumers ranked the ads TikTok as more inspiring and enjoyable than advertisements. on other platforms.

Neither social networks nor their users want the social media experience to be marred by irrelevant or boring ads. Understanding the mindset of the audience is the key to successful advertising on these networks.

In 2022, companies will also spend more money and effort on social advertising, despite historically low budgets due to the pandemic. Although Gartner’s Annual Marketing CCO Spend Survey found that marketing budgets are the lowest on record, Hootsuite’s Social Trends report found that 51.4% of marketers plan to increase their paid social spending in 2022. They plan to invest this money in proven channels like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, but also on the challenger platforms TikTok, Pinterest and Snapchat.

As consumer expectations change, marketers are shifting their resources to areas where they can have the most impact, meaning that by 2022, companies are expected to experiment with new channels and look to hire people. which include social media analytics and video content. It’s also important to seek out strategic opportunities in new channels, without abandoning old loyalists like Facebook, as customers will always expect to see a presence there.

The trend of social commerce

Following the lockdown, 84% of consumers have turned to online shopping, and in the first 90 days of the pandemic, e-commerce has grown for 10 years. Almost two years later, this first boom in online shopping will only continue to grow. Much of this push is social commerce.

Once a potential avenue for innovative retailers, the social commerce industry is now worth more than half a trillion US dollars, with TikTok becoming the latest social media platform to support social shopping. Social commerce has become the backbone of modern retail, and the younger generations, in particular, are turning to social media more than search engines to find and evaluate brands. In fact, Hootsuite found that 53.2% of internet users aged 16-24 worldwide use social media as their primary source of information when searching for brands.

Social commerce presents a huge opportunity for small businesses and big brands to re-imagine how consumers perceive their brand. Social media is now the voice of the brand and a central platform on which retailers can interact, sell and serve customers. And while the brick-and-mortar store isn’t dead, it’s critical that businesses reinvent the way consumers interact with their brands, creating bolder, social-focused customer experiences that drive sales and test the limits of the world. online shopping experience.

The customer service trend

Like many other business operations, during the pandemic customer service has become increasingly digital. Amid staff shortages, bottlenecks and increasing customer inquiries across industries, customer service has had to innovate and quickly.

While many organizations have used social media channels like Twitter for years to connect with their customers, social customer service has become a go-to channel, not only to help combat the effects of the pandemic, but also to respond. to customer expectations. Customers, especially young digital natives, now expect to be able to reach out to their favorite brands on social media. A Nielsen and Facebook survey, for example, found that 64% of people said they now prefer to send a message rather than call a company, and according to Gartner, 60% of all customer service requests will be handled through digital channels by 2023.

Businesses are realizing that social media is going to play a crucial role in customer service in the future, with Hootsuite finding that 59% of those polled in its Social Trends survey agree that social customer service has increased in value for their organization. He also found that the more confident organizations are in their use of social media to achieve other business goals, the more likely they are to see the value of social customer service.

Optimization of the ‘social ROI’ trend

Before the pandemic, linking the impact of social media to business results was a headache for marketers and business leaders. But after a huge increase in social addiction over the past two years, things seem to be falling into place. Now, as businesses rely more on social channels to stay connected with customers, from managing service requests to making sales, there is much more confidence and understanding as to how impact social media can be measured. According to Hootsuite’s Social Trends report, 83% of marketers, especially in large companies, are more confident than ever in quantifying the ROI of their social media practices.

To maximize this social ROI, companies can do three things: encourage employee advocacy, deepen customer insight, and integrate paid and organic social strategies.

Employee social advocacy – where employees are allowed to share a company’s posts on their own social networks – helps employees feel more connected both to the company and to each other. Customers will also feel this collaboration, gaining confidence in a brand whose own employees support it. This strategy also provides a significant amount of data.

Indeed, Hootsuite found that brands that were confident they could measure their social ROI were also more likely to use social media to gather information about their customers. In this way, companies that invest in tools like social listening technology will be able to track, analyze and learn more about their customers, from their customers – and will thus be able to develop more precise strategies.

Finally, by combining paid and organic social efforts, businesses can reap the benefits of both and create a more holistic and effective social strategy. For example, paid ads can attract new customers while organic channels are essential for building online communities.

The brand community trend

Digital communities – like Twitch for gamers and Peloton for cycling enthusiasts – have exploded during the pandemic, helping consumers stay in touch with like-minded people across the world. These communities have become central to consumers’ online experiences, with a report from Facebook and NYU’s Governance Lab revealing that 77% of people said the largest group they were a part of was based online.

At the same time, these online communities benefit businesses in a variety of ways, highlighting customer trends and perspectives, building customer loyalty, and helping to attract new businesses.

Nowhere is the popularity of digital communities more apparent than on social media. Over a billion users regularly interact with groups on Facebook, TikTok has a group for each interest, and Twitter has started testing a dedicated feature where users can connect and share called threads. Communities.

While large global brands have the resources to build and grow their digital communities, such as existing brand supports and dedicated digital teams, SMEs don’t necessarily have that luxury. This is where social media presents a huge opportunity for brands and businesses at all levels to cultivate an online community, without having to start from scratch – and digital creators are the key to success here.

Indeed, companies that partner with specialized digital creators can connect with new audiences and gain their trust. Over 50 million people around the world now consider themselves creators, and the designer industry is already estimated at over $ 100 billion.

So, rather than trying to build a community from scratch, the smartest branding strategy for businesses in 2022 will be to tap into existing creator communities to learn more about their customers, simplify content creation. and strengthen brand awareness.

The age of social media

Social media has never played a more central role for businesses. In 2022, the companies that can put social front and center and leverage it for everything from their branding to customer service will be the ones that reap the benefits of a stronger brand reputation and interaction, d ” increased trust and loyalty with customers – now and in the future

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