Predictions about 2022 during a year of many changes may seem about as reliable as the wind. This may be especially true of the social media space. However, experts and “in-the-trenches” marketers who’ve kept a close eye on social media patterns have made predictions about 2022 social media trends. We explore those predictions and what they might mean for your brands’ Influencer Marketing strategy so that you can prepare for 2022.

number blocks with "2022" on them plus the title "Trend Watch: 2022 Social Media Trends and What They Mean for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy"

1. Continued Rise of Ecommerce

While people enjoyed shopping online before the pandemic, it became all the rage during the time we spent at home. Tell me I’m not the only one who bought one too many tops for all those Zoom meetings? While ecommerce isn’t new, what’s trending now is shopping within social media platforms. Statista reports that in 2022 the number of social buyers in the U.S. will grow by almost 37%. This is up from 2020’s 79 million social buyers. What that means is that by 2025, 108 million Americans will make purchases through social networks, primarily Facebook and Instagram.

As social media platforms seek to take advantage of that rise and expand their revenues, they’ve strengthened their ecommerce capabilities. How? By making purchasing products shown in stories and streams easier.

Check out what that means within not only Facebook and Instagram, but also Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter.

What the Rise in In-Platform Ecommerce Means for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

As to how in-platform social media ecommerce impacts Influencer Marketing? Suffice it to say that it will bring both benefits and challenges for brands. Until now, Influencer Marketing’s value and appeal has come from influencers sharing brands’ products and services with their followers in real-life settings.

With the latest ecommerce trend of social media shopping, these same followers can purchase a brand’s products and services in a platform, instead of clicking to a different website. This means two things for brands, according to HubSpot:

  1. For users, this will mean a shorter, easier buying journey. For influencers and brands, this means an opportunity to provide a more seamless journey, and the possibility for easier ROI tracking.
  2. This will increase the necessity for brands to align with the right influencers. HubSpot says: “This…push marks a big opportunity for brands to align their products and services with relevant influencers to meet new audiences in a place where they are already spending most of their day.”

2. Augmented Reality (AR) Will Elevate Users’ Experience

Not to be confused with artificial intelligence (AI), which can mean things like adaptive homepages and interactive real-time chats, augmented reality (AR) represents a whole other level of social media immersion for users. Up until now, this has meant simple things like cute filters or fun games like Pokemon Go. However, technological advances have fueled huge “metaverse” dreams for Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, where users can meld their real-world and in-app experiences.

In short, says Enterprisers Project:

Augmented reality refers to any technology that ‘augments’ the user’s visual (and in some cases auditory) perception of their environment. Typically, digital information is superimposed over a natural existing environment. Information is tailored to the user’s physical position as well as the context of the task, thereby helping the user to solve the problem and complete the task.

Get the skinny on all things metaverse, as well as other augmented reality trends.

image of a hand holding a phone up in front of them while they're in a clothing store, and the phone is showing them different augmented reality options, something brands should keep in mind for their influencer marketing strategy
Source: Istock

What Augmented Reality Means for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

If users devote more of their time to social media spaces because of AR, more influencers will take advantage of it to connect with their audiences. Relying on influencers—gaming and otherwise—to understand the ins and outs of AR could become absolutely essential. This understanding will become even more important as influencers determine what content their audiences want. I’m talking about things like non-fungible tokens (essentially, virtual collectibles) and cryptocurrency payments. In other words, less legwork for you and a realization that Influencer Marketing has really come into its own.


Also, it may pay to take a cue from the gaming industry. In Roblox, for instance, brands gained more campaign traction when they partnered with Roblox developer community members in creating in-game items and experiences. “Think of this as influencer campaigns,” says InfluencerMarketingHub.com. “User-generated content is important, and so community members become integral parts of the execution of your campaigns.” Could you connect your product developers with influencers to tell more stories, augmented by unique, immersive virtual tours?

3. Increase in Short-Form Video Content

It’s no secret that video is king. But, the shorter the better is the name of the game as the TikTok below shows. According to Wallaroo Media, in Q1 of 2020, TikTok was downloaded 315 million times, which was the best quarter for downloads of any app ever. Since then, it has reported explosive growth.

While still not as big as Facebook or Instagram, its upward trajectory has been undeniably sustained. That other platforms have adopted features to compete with the bite-size content TikTok influencers offer also speaks to the longevity of short-form video content. Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Snapchat Spotlights all launched in the wake of TikTok’s popularity, says Stackla.

Check out my exploration of what this trend will look like in 2022.

@pooky_face

#sponsored GIVEAWAY: Comment below with your favorite flavor and why you love it for a chance to win “Gum for a Year!” ad #jellybellygum #jellybelly

♬ original sound – Pooky

What Short-Form Video Content Means for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Influencer Marketing experts agree on the power of video. The thing to keep top of mind in 2022 is the current trend of short-form video. Note how it differs from video trends of years past and how it varies from platform to platform.

For example, TikTok is still relatively new in social media years. Before diving in and investing in this platform, get the TikTok basics to maximize your dollars and meet your objectives.

Additionally, remember that TikTok is not the only show in town. Cast more than a glancing eye at short-form video possibilities in other, more veteran platforms—YouTube, Instagram, and even Facebook.

4. Rise in Live Streaming

Speaking of video, some industry professionals also speak of a rise in live streaming. Tarek Amin, Director of the North Africa and Middle East markets for YouTube says: 

Video has become a common language to many of us, helping to meet our evolving need for connection, which is stronger than ever before. This is why we’re seeing more people turn to live-streamed, immersive and relatable content on YouTube to find that sense of togetherness. There is an opportunity for brands and creatives to connect more deeply with their audiences by tapping into the relatable and participatory creativity by YouTube’s diverse community of content creators.

Indeed, live streaming definitely increased over 2020 and 2021, and continues to be “a popular way for consumers to engage with influencers, attend virtual events, watch video game content [not just on Twitch], and more recently, discover products through live shopping,” says Emarketer writer Blake Droesch. It’s a format that lends itself particularly well to Influencer Marketing. Why? Because it helps influencers’ audiences feel more included in the “it crowd” events the influencer attends or hosts.

Here’s the low-down on which platforms you should have your influencers live-stream on, what gets the most engagement for what types of campaigns.

What Live Streaming Means for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

While some brands have been hesitant to work live streaming into their marketing strategies, they would do well to consider doing so now. Besides its rampant success in China, all signs indicate that it will continue to grow in the U.S. Sprout Social predicts, in fact, that the live-streaming market will surpass $25 billion by 2023.

As most of our video influencers will tell you, brands should be selective about which platform their influencers stream on, depending upon the platform’s live-streaming capabilities and where and how the influencers get the most engagement with their live streams. Add that to your list of criteria (which we explore in this ebook) when you’re vetting influencers. If you can, have a discussion through us with them about their live-streaming best practices.

5. Omniplatform Integration

Multi-platform or multi-channel social media strategy in its simplest form is not new in that brands and influencers have been posting the same content across multiple platforms for a while now. Omniplatform marketing, however, is different. It means taking into account all the different touchpoints a potential customer could have that would move them along the buyers’ journey: directly, via your brand’s social media channels or web chat, emails, through influencers’ channels, on users’ phones, tablets, or desktops, etc.

Ideally, omnichannel marketing also means strategic integration of communications across those channels so that the left hand—your social media team, say— knows what the right hand—your email marketing team, maybe—is doing. Best practices suggest guiding potential customers seamlessly through the awareness, consideration, and decision stages with progressively more targeted content. But, as HubSpot points out, this has implications not only for Influencer Marketing, but for all of your marketing efforts.

Get all those implications and the tips, tricks, and stats you need to immerse yourself in omniplatform knowledge.

several dice showing the various social media channel icons, representing brands' needs to include omnichannel integration in their marketing strategy
Source: Istock

What Omniplatform Integration Means for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Omnichannel integration could potentially be the hardest trend to integrate into your Influencer Marketing strategy in 2022, as it entails adding yet another item to the long list of things you have to do to coordinate a seamless consumer journey. Simplify the process by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do you have editorial calendars shared among teams so that they’re not posting duplicate or disjointed content across your brand’s social media channels? 
  • Are you connecting your blog team with your email team so that your email team can promote or disseminate that blog content in the best, most relevant way possible? 
  • Are you taking advantage of the opportunity to listen, across all of your brand’s and influencers’ channels, to what consumers are saying about your brand? 

If you answered “no” to the above questions, omniplatform or omniplatform integration could be for you.

Nick Martin, Social Engagement Specialist at Hootsuite, says:

In 2022, social listening, and subsequently social intelligence, will be a key trend. Brands aren’t seeing the full picture of their industry and audience if they’re not performing social listening, gathering insights, and making strategic decisions based on those learnings. 

Most importantly, it means adding another layer of both planning and tracking as you work out messaging for your influencers that fits in with the rest of your content strategy. All of that sharing, connecting, and listening might seem overwhelming when you break them down into step-by-steps. However, they truly do represent unprecedented opportunities to impress consumers.

Wrapping It All Up

The long and short of it is that the trends for 2022—in-platform ecommerce, augmented reality, short-form video, live streaming, and omniplatform integration—are not brand-new. Rather, they are expansions of what’s been seen in 2020 and 2021 plus budget-backed hopes for certain technological advances. Knowing this as you set those ambitious 2022 S.M.A.R.T. goals and action steps, you won’t be surprised by what’s coming. You can, with confidence, get ahead of the game by integrating these trends into your Influencer Marketing strategy.

Sources

Trend Watch: In-Platform Social Media Ecommerce Trends for 2022
5 Thanksgiving Influencer Marketing Campaign Ideas

Leave a Comment