Social media continues to thrive, with TikTok becoming the favourite online destination – yes, even ahead of Google – at the end of 2021. Time on social media continues to increase each year, and brands are taking a more considered approach to getting the most out of their target audiences.
Looking ahead through 2022, expect to see more brands tapping into niche trends and zeitgeist moments to enhance their relevancy.
Are you planning your strategy for the year ahead? Here are some key social trends you should be implementing:
Video is a key focus for 2022
Social platforms are putting a strong focus on video for the future. Users believe that video content helps build a sense of intimacy and trust with a brand, especially when well executed.
Short-form content is still preferred by most users - despite longer video lengths being introduced to both Instagram and TikTok last year. Once a connection has been built with your audience, longer-form videos may be beneficial - but ultimately it’s creativity and relevance that’s needed to drive engagement.
While video is typically a bigger investment, whether in time or spend, it doesn’t always need to be a large scale production - consider how you can repurpose your usual content into motion. These could be in animated shorts, engaging slideshows or face to camera pieces recorded on a phone. While businesses and teams are still working from home and spending more time on social media professionally, that real-person creative could be exactly what’s needed to set your brand aside from competitors.
As a specific format, live streaming soared through the pandemic. This is expected to carry on through 2022. From a brand perspective, aim for the highest quality possible. That means a stable internet connection, good lighting and clear audio to tick off the essentials. Make sure you’re engaging your audience; ask questions, respond to live comments and if you can, offer exclusives within the lives to encourage audiences to return in the future. We would always recommend testing your set-up before go-live to iron out any issues.
Consumers are craving intimacy from brands, particularly while working from home, and feeling isolated from normal life. In-person video is a great way to continue building that relationship with your audience - offering a new format of value to support your objectives.
On YouTube, the data shows that users prefer the typical video content to live streams, however, live content still receives six times higher interactions and users are more likely to watch longer-form content in this format.
Instagram continues to shift focus
No longer a simple square photo app, Instagram continues to develop its offering with a renewed focus on video, community and shopping.
The launch of Reels was a great success for Instagram, and with a move to showcase all video content in an isolated profile tab, the video focus is just as present here as any other social platform.
When it comes to Instagram content, the more creative the better. Competition is only going to get stronger, so showcasing content innovation is the way forward.
Remember that innovation is relative to your industry. If your brand is one of only a few that has a presence on Instagram in your industry, the steps to innovation are likely a lot smaller than a heavily saturated sector.
Continuing the theme of building more intimacy with audiences, direct messaging and live video chats are clever ways to connect with your user base. This separates your brand from a repeated copy & paste response or no replies at all. Addressing people directly makes them feel more valued and will make it easier to resolve any issues.
Instagram introduced several new features through 2021 and getting to grips with them early will always benefit your brand’s social presence. In 2022, expect to see a stronger presence from Instagram Shopping. More than one in four young adults are expected to shop directly through social this year, so ecommerce brands will benefit from familiarizing themselves with the opportunities Instagram Shopping presents.
Facebook gets intimate
The organic Facebook experience has been slowing in pace for most pages for quite some time now. Organic visibility continues to dwindle and in line with the previously mentioned need for intimacy, users are interacting with brands in different ways.
Features such as Live Groups and communities built via Facebook Groups have become increasingly popular as users look for niche content specific to them. This is another opportunity for personalisation, providing an organic community for your audience to connect with like-minded people.
From a brand perspective, tapping into relevant groups and existing communities can reap long term benefits as it builds trust and brand authenticity. Entering these niche communities requires a high level of authenticity and a personable approach to truly engage with audiences. Solely pushing products and your brand messages is not a winning approach within these communities.
Influencer culture leads the way for TikTok
While some brands are still familiarizing themselves with TikTok, others are capturing viral moments in their prime for brand benefit. Recent examples include the viral trainspotter, Francis Bourgeois, partnering with Gucci for their North Face collaboration.
And the TikTok brand account sweetheart, Emily Zugay, has multiple global brands tripping over themselves to get a feature on her spoof redesigns which she’s now monetized.
TikTok breeds micro-moments and tapping into them as a brand could be hugely beneficial if you can reach your target audience through the platform. This again is an option to show some personability and humour, which is a winning combination not only on TikTok but across social media.
Video, intimacy and personability should be key focuses for any brand on social through 2022 and beyond. Utilising social not only for additional positioning for brand messaging, but more so to build direct brand trust, brand awareness and brand affinity with your audience.
If these or any other points of your social strategy for 2022 feel beyond your knowledge, get in touch to help us define your social approach for the year ahead.
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