Are you quick to embrace new social media trends?
No? Well, even if you don’t care much about them in your personal online life, as a marketer, you should always be on top of the wave.
For better or worse, over the past decade, social media platforms have become an integral part of our lives. We spend hours scrolling through our feeds, socializing with friends, researching brands, and, well, just hanging out.
Furthermore, living in a pandemic transformed era, social media has gone from a habit into a necessity. As a result, today, more than half the world’s population is on social media!
This means that, whether you are taking advantage of social platforms or not, your audience is already there and having the time of their lives (or, at least making it seem so).
Brands that pioneer and adopt the current social media trends are able to leverage them in their digital strategies to create awareness, gain popularity, build a connection with their customers, and even have fun while doing it.
Social networks were once a place to keep in touch with your friends and meet new people. But now they are so much more! They have become search engines, shopping platforms, advertising spaces, and, generally, places for brands to shine and show off their charming and awesome brand identities.
Let’s look at what’s trending in 2022, and how your company can join in on the fun. Read on to find out more!
1. Quick and Easy Transactions with Social Commerce
Social commerce was one of the hottest trends of 2021 and seems to only be gaining more popularity this year with more platforms enabling it and more brands leveraging it in their social media strategies.
In a nutshell, social commerce enables in-app shopping and checkouts. This means that customers can discover a product, and complete a transaction entirely within the social network app or browser version, without having to visit an eCommerce store.
This not only is convenient for the user, but it’s lucrative for the brand. The quicker, easier, and more frictionless the purchase is, the fewer chances the customer has to reconsider. This allows businesses to increase the engagement of their followers and harness the power of impulse buying.
Furthermore, combined with a great product and a pleasant post-purchase experience, social commerce can quickly boost not only sales but brand advocacy. Customers who shop on social media are more likely to use the platform to share positive word-of-mouth and create user-generated content.
The most prominent platforms to test social commerce for your brand are Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. However, make sure to follow how Twitter’s plans are developing as they are back in the game and want to give the trend another shot.
2nd, we’re focused on website clicks, which sends people to an advertiser’s website so that they can learn about their product or service, or buy or download whatever that product or service might be. $TWTR
— Twitter Investor Relations (@TwitterIR) March 3, 2021
2. Hassle-Free Livestream Shopping
While livestream shopping is not confined to social media platforms, it sure thrives there. As with many other social trends, this one has also originated in China and is taking the rest of the world by storm.
Brands organize livestream shopping events to showcase their products, test them in front of their audience, answer questions, and, well, make a show of them. The format resembles teleshopping, but takes it to the next level because the audience can not only communicate with the presenter, but amongst themselves as well.
The host of the event is usually a celebrity, expert in the field, influencer, or even the business owner. Their goal is to simulate a real-life shopping experience where the customer interacts with the seller and can see the product in action. This way, they can better understand how the product looks and feels and make an informed decision.
However, the livestream shopping experience can do much more than that – it can boost the brand experience, help build a connection to the customer, and create a loyal community.
All in all, what makes the trend so popular is that it is exciting and allows people to share a real-life, real-time emotion with other people. And that’s something that everyone around the world needs right now.
3. Bonding with Customers through User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most valuable forms of online marketing you can wish for. It’s, basically, customers indirectly recommending you to other customers by showing how happy they are with your brand and its products. This makes social media platforms one of the top word-of-mouth digital channels.
While UGC is not a new trend, it’s one that will, no doubt, stick around in the years to come. Brands that find ways to develop and utilize its full potential will always be one step ahead of competitors creating brand ambassadors, creating brand ambassadors, awareness, credibility, and trustworthiness among their followers and loyal customers.
As the video format is as popular as ever on these platforms, you can consider various ways it can benefit your social media branding. Encourage your customers to shoot short unboxing videos, show how they use your products, share testimonials, or think of creative ways to feature the product(s).
Furthermore, regularly invite them to tag your brand, mention you, and use your dedicated hashtags when posting relevant content.
To make sure that you don’t miss out on any interesting conversations about yourself, consider using social listening tools. This way you will not only stay in the loop and can join in on conversations about your brand, but it will also increase the visibility of your customer’s UGC and ensure that it has a larger impact.
4. Ready or Not, Here Comes TikTok
Although the majority of mature brands fail to take TikTok seriously, the fact is that the social media platform is the place to be right now, especially if you are targeting millennials and Gen Zs. And if you are not – remember these generations are a consumer force to be reckoned with and you should consider adding them to your audience.
The short portrait-mode videos emblematic for TikTok, have become such a hit that other platforms are integrating them so as to not miss out. Think of Facebook Stories and Instagram Reels. They are taking off, but TikTok remains the place where these videos feel the most native.
The reason why younger generations love the TikTok experience is that it not only gives them a stage to show off their skills and passions, but to peek into the worlds of other people. It doesn’t have the (kind of false) personal space pretenses of Facebook, it’s stripped of Instagram’s fake glossiness, and it’s not as contemplative as Twitter – it’s just fun.
For businesses, this provides a precious opportunity to let their brand personality shine, and bond with their customers on a deeper level. You can be creative, casual, genuine, and caught up in a moment. This allows people to relate to your brand and feel engaged.
Furthermore, TikTok is not a stranger to social commerce, which makes it even better, because it’s not only your connection to the audience that can benefit, but it’s your direct bottom line!
If you are not convinced yet, just keep in mind that there are currently over 1 billion active users on TikTok, and the numbers are rapidly growing.
5. Exploring the Metaverse
The social metaverse provides a fresh playground for brands to spread their influence and connect to their customers.
Although this type of artificial reality is not that commonly used yet, Meta Platforms (previously known as Facebook) is eager to tap into its potential and promises, well, a whole new world of new opportunities.
If the Metaverse lives up to its promises, brands will be able to virtually meet their customers face to face and create a full-bodied real-life experience. This means new ways to engage the customer, advertise and present your products, and even, possibly, create entirely new products.
However, as the Metaverse is not, technically speaking, a single unified virtual space (yet), but a bunch of stand-alone artificial realities by different companies, brands will need to choose which one to join. Furthermore, if they have the resources, they may consider creating their own metaspaces dedicated entirely to their audiences.
The opportunities are limitless, and as with any new technology, pioneers and early adopters have the most at risk, but, if done right, they will also be the ones whose names may become famous and, maybe even, generic trademarks.
6. Pushing on Augmented Reality
Similar to artificial reality, augmented reality is big on social networks. And why wouldn’t it be? The lives people showcase on social media platforms are, more often than not, nothing more than augmented reality themselves. When platforms provide the tools to help with this, people are quick to sign in.
Instagram has been the leader in this trend with its myriad of filters that allow people to change their looks beyond recognition, or simply add a touch here and there.
However, other platforms are not far behind.
Pinterest has recently added an augmented reality function that allows users to virtually place pieces of furniture in their homes to see whether or not they fit the rest of the interior. The tool seems great, and, if it catches on, people will probably use it for more than just furniture.
Brands can leverage the technology to virtually enter the lives and living rooms of their customers. Whether it will be by adding your products to the augmented reality list, or creating personalized camera filters relevant to your business, this trend is worth the try.
And although it’s been around for a while, it still feels like a novelty, and this makes it exciting. As a result, you can use it to create a buzz around your brand and products, and encourage highly shareable content.
7. The Rise of Branded Communities
Social media communities are a great way for companies to unite their followers and enrich the brand experience. These online societies allow people to exchange information, discuss products and how to use them, and share ideas.
At the same time, brands can streamline their marketing message, consolidate their brand identity, and have quality communication with their customers.
Communities allow leads that are at the consideration stage of their journey to have a taste of what it’s like to be part of the inner circle. At the same time, they enable brands to provide a top-quality post-purchase experience to their existing customers and offer them exclusive information such as tutorials, how-to videos and posts, limited offers, and so on.
Furthermore, brands can gain insight into how people interact with their products, how they use them, what issues they encounter, and what they like and dislike. They can also post polls and surveys and collect invaluable feedback from their customers.
Analyzing this data and other aspects of customer behavior allows them to improve both their products and their marketing messages, find new selling points, adjust their value proposition canvases, and pinpoint the best product-market fit.
8. Casual Customer Service Communication
Over the years, instant messaging apps have become the digital community’s most beloved method of communication. They are quicker, less personal and engaging than a phone call, less formal than an email, and provide a casual way to stay in touch with your friends and family.
This convenience, combined with the growing presence and activity of brands on social media platforms, made instant messaging the preferred method of customers when contacting businesses.
Brands that take their messaging seriously and aren’t quick to transfer the client to a different channel, can not only connect with their clients on a more personal level, but provide hassle-free customer service as well.
Younger generations are anxious about most forms of communication, but, with instant messages, they are in their element. These platforms allow brands to provide quick Q&A, resolve issues, and cut the distance between themselves and the audience.
If you can’t afford to assign a dedicated person to be in charge of IM customer service, and your social media manager feels out of their depth at it, you can consider implementing a chatbot to take care of the less complex communication, and engage your associates only when further actions are required.
9. The Social “Currency” Becomes a Thing
This brewing trend is a fresh one, and our personal favorite, because it shows ingenuity and a creative approach initiated by the brands and not the social media platforms.
Social media posts are now… wait for it… a currency! Brands give out their products free to people who will then, hopefully, write a positive review or post about the product and tag the brand. And we are not talking about influencers with thousands of followers here – it’s just regular people like you and me.
The goal is, of course, obvious. The business provides a sample of the product and the customer spreads the word about how great it is. The fact that they get it for free contributes to the positive attitude and inspires the person to go out of their way to say something nice. This creates awareness and positive word-of-mouth, and, if managed properly by the brand, can also result in valuable UGC in the form of videos, photos, and hashtag love.
It’s great and we love it!
Unfortunately, this approach is not suitable for all products, because nobody is going to give away cars and TVs, for example. However, you can still adapt the trend to your business needs, and organize test drives in exchange for posts, or allow a limited audience of customers to test your new latest QLED TV set for a week and share their experiences.
Just be creative!
What we love the most about new social media trends is that they never fail to surprise us. It may seem that nothing is changing and everyone is still just scrolling through their feeds, but, behind the scenes, new ideas are always brewing.
Social media platforms allow both customers and brands to be creative about their approaches, try out new ideas, and communicate with the world. With new technologies enhancing their experiences and Gen Zs, as the digital natives, all grown up and entering the business world, we can expect the unexpected, and look forward to new and exciting ways that social media will benefit businesses and consumers alike.