If you work in the marketing department, you are probably in a planning phase, analyzing the performance of last year’s initiatives, while analyzing the new trends in which you will invest in 2022.
Social networks are a particularly active area in terms of news and trends, so keeping abreast of the latest changes in user behavior is key to developing a successful marketing strategy.
However, before embarking on your social media strategy by 2022, you must know the trends to make sure you are using your time and effort correctly.
1) The interactions will be more important than the content
If we analyze a social network like Facebook over the past 5 -10 years, we see an essential evolution. In 2014, Facebook was an open platform that was primarily nourished by external content. Companies shared links to their pages and their products and achieved high visibility and traffic. Happy days!
However, there came a time when the user experience began to be impaired, so Facebook started to limit the visibility of such publications. The platform began to close a bit about the traffic it sent to other websites.
New features like Facebook Video or Facebook Articles began to emerge that encouraged content creators to post natively on Facebook instead of sharing external links. This trend has been increasing over the years to become a requirement for businesses with a presence in the social network. External links ceased to have visibility and content created directly on Facebook became the key to obtaining the profile.
However, recently, we see a new evolution. The content has stopped being the most important and Facebook is promoting social interaction above anything else.
“I am changing the goal of helping users find relevant content to help them have more meaningful social interactions.”
Mark Zuckerberg (January 2018).
Facebook Live, Stories, Facebook groups and many other features that Facebook has recently prioritized follow this line. It is no longer enough to publish content natively: to be successful on Facebook, and you need to create connections and interactions with users.
Although the above refers to Facebook, this is a trend that extends in many other social networks, and that will mark the future line. Therefore, as a brand, the first thing you should ask yourself when planning your social media strategy is what you can do to connect with your users on a more personal level. Prioritize those publications that encourage reactions and comments, over passive visualization.
2) There will be a transition to increasingly private experiences
Following the previous trend but also motivated mainly by concerns about issues such as data privacy and fake news virtualization, a key trend for social networks in 2022 will be the transition to private social platforms.
In the future, we can expect more intelligent consumption by users. This will make companies have to balance a fine line between data privacy and personalization, both in social networks and in other channels.
But this is not only about user behavior, but the social networks themselves are also encouraging more private use, partly bound by new laws and regulations. Features such as Facebook groups or direct Instagram messages are receiving an increasingly central role over more open options. At the same time, private messaging platforms such as Messenger or Whatsapp are growing their number of active users.
“Social networks are returning to their roots, away from a mass marketing vehicle, and returning to a personal approach based on communication. 2022 will be the year where we will see consumers start using LESS public social networks, regardless of whether the use of social networks continues to increase.”
Another growing concern on the part of users that is reflected in social networks is social welfare. In our guide on social media trends in 2022, Talkwalker, the social monitoring platform, identifies a significant growth in the number of conversations on topics such as social welfare or social detoxification.
People are increasingly aware of how social networks can affect their mental health and are taking individual steps to decrease their hours online. It is not a crisis. It is instead a social movement driven by consumers. Popular hashtags like #DigitalDetox are an excellent proof of that.
Once again, social networks themselves have been quick to recognize this trend and have taken measures such as the elimination of “likes” or banal metrics that generated obsession for many users.
From the point of view of companies, this is an excellent opportunity to align with these movements and create content that shows the values of your brand. Avoid toxicity and get the attention of your users with content that promotes a healthy lifestyle.
This trend can also be the perfect opportunity to integrate the online world and the offline world, and thus promote social detoxification through integrated campaigns.
4) The micro-influencers will succeed
Influencer marketing is a trend that has been triumphing for several years in social networks. However, many companies still have difficulties in establishing a clear attribution of the results of the actions carried out by influencers. In this context, justifying large investments in macro-influencers is proving increasingly difficult.
This challenge, together with the growing distrust motivated by false followers and other manipulative tactics (according to Talkwalker, mentions of false influencers generated more than 9,000 interactions in the first half of 2019) is motivating the evolution towards micro-influencers.
Micro and nano influencers are enthusiastic people who gather between 500 and 10,000 followers with high levels of interaction. Usually, these types of influencers specialize in a specific topic (fashion, sport, video games …) so they are perfect for a micro-segmented campaign.
Also, their main advantage is that they help mitigate potential risks for collaborating companies (the budget that they previously invested in 1 macro influencer can now spend in 50 micro-influencers). Not only do they help brands avoid false influencers, but they often drive a more authentic commitment.
For all these reasons, micro-influencers will continue to be an upward trend in 2022 and will favor the use of platforms where they can more easily prosper as Instagram or TikTok.
5) User-generated content will be valued
Speaking of TikTok, one of the significant trends of 2019 in the world of social networks, its success is mostly understood by micro-influencers and user-generated content.
User-generated content generates 6.9 times more engagement than content created by brands, so many companies are increasingly relying on their followers for content generation.
In this case, we do not talk about influencers but about any user who is a fan of a brand and shares content related to it on social networks (their opinion, their purchase, their experience with the brand, their creation …).
The key, as a brand, is to enable and guide these creations so that they favour the social media strategy set by the marketing department.
The companies that manage to build a community of active followers committed to their brand and can take advantage of the content generated by users strategically will be the big winners in 2022.
Social platforms have been incorporating features designed to retain users for as long as possible for years, without having to leave the social network to perform actions such as watching videos, reading articles, finding businesses, etc.
Ecommerce is one of the latest additions to this trend and proof of this are the many novelties that Instagram has launched in recent years to favor electronic commerce within the platform itself as Product Tagging or Instagram Checkout.
In 2022 we will see Instagram and other social networks launching new ecommerce functions with the objective that companies and entrepreneurs can sell their products directly on social networks. Early adopters will benefit before this space becomes saturated.