Social media trends for 2022

Update your social media strategy with the most talked-about trends for 2022.

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2022 social media trends

It’s that time of the year again, when everyone is talking about trends to watch out for in 2022. To guide you through all the noise, we read dozens of articles, scanned key newsletters, and sat through a couple of webinars, to pull out the most talked-about and interesting social media trends for 2022.

Take a look at these 8 forecasted trends to inspire your brand’s social media strategy for the upcoming year. Pick the ones that will work best for your goals. Stay clear of those that don’t make sense for your audience. And don’t be afraid to test and try new ideas!

Want even more tips and ideas to prepare for the coming year? Take a look at our roundup of social media tips and trends for April 2022, March 2022, and other monthly roundups.

Trend 1. Social commerce

Social commerce is all about buying and selling products or services within a social media platform. It allows users to complete their entire purchase on social media, without having to leave the platform.

Phone screenshots showing social commerce features on Instagram
Shops on Instagram. Source: Instagram

During the pandemic, the use of social media increased. And so has social commerce. A 2021 report from eMarketer states that there was a 25.2% increase in social commerce buyers in the U.S. in 2020. And the report predicts an additional growth of 12.9% by the end of 2021, and 6.3% in 2022.

Based on this data and more, many publications (Hootsuite, FinancesOnline, Talkwalker, HubSpot, and more) list social commerce as a social media trend for 2022. Though some also note that it will not yet replace e-commerce.

Tip to tap into this 2022 trend: Start investing in your first social commerce campaign now, to have a competitive edge in the near future. Especially if your organization’s portfolio of products includes apparel and accessories, which eMarketer notes is the largest category for social commerce.

Trend 2. Short-form social media videos

Online video platforms are already dominating the social media landscape. Back in 2020, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts were introduced to compete with TikTok. And just a few months ago, the Head of Instagram openly stated that Instagram will no longer be a photo-sharing app, but will focus instead on videos:

It comes as no surprise then that Forbes, Browser Media, Unbox Social, Cyberclick, Puzzle Media, and more forecast short-form videos as a growing social media trend in 2022. As it’s a great way for brands to deliver their message, while keeping their audience engaged.

And it seems marketers agree. Already 30% of social media marketers plan to invest more in short-form videos over any other social marketing strategy in 2022.

Tips for this social media trend: Start thinking video-first, in place of defaulting to photo or image promotions on social media. Be sure to stay relevant to your audience, stay authentic, and don’t be afraid to start a new trend!

Stuck on what kind of videos to create? Get inspiration from this list of short-form video 2022 trends identified by HubSpot:

  1. Brand challenges
  2. Influencer ads
  3. Product teasers
  4. User-generated content
  5. Behind-the-brand videos
  6. Educational videos

Trend 3. Augmented reality (AR)

Companies all over the world look ready to dive further into augmented reality (AR) technologies next year. Social Media Today, What’s Trending, Exploding Topics and HubSpot suggest that we will see a development in and focus on AR in 2022.

Campaigns like Snapchat collaborating with Gucci shoes and Starbucks cup magic for Valentine’s Day are a few examples of how brands have used AR to increase audience engagement and interactions.

According to a report from eMarketer, the number of people using AR at least once a month will rise up to 93.3 million by the end of 2021, and 110.1 million by the end of 2023. In addition, Statista predicts that the number of users using AR at least once a month on social networks will sum up to around 48.3 million by 2022.

Graph of AR and VR usage in the US predicting 101.6 million AR users in 2022
2021 AR/VR users report. Source: eMarketer

Tips to jump on this 2022 trend: Want ideas on how you can make AR work for your brand? Check out tom’s guide for examples of how companies are using AR for gaming, social media and practical uses.

Trend 4. User-generated content (UGC)

User-generated content (UGC) is content that is created by a user or customer of a brand — and not by the brand itself.

Exploding Topics, Adlibweb, ZAG, Blue Frog, and more predict an increase in user-generated content in 2022. These articles conclude that user-generated content builds better trust with a brand’s audience and is cheaper compared to brand-generated content.

This is not surprising, when 90% of consumers say that authenticity is a major factor influencing their choice of brand, and that user-generated content is 2.4x more authentic compared to brand-generated content.

Tips to jump on this 2022 trend: You can’t of course create UGC content yourself. But you can put in place initiatives to encourage your audience to share their own content about your brand. For example, ask your audience to share content (with a specific hashtag) to be entered into a competition, to earn a discount, or to be featured on your social media page.

Trend 5. Changes in social advertising

Google has introduced FLoC technology, a new way to show ads to users which they think they are interested in. This will replace third-party cookies. Therefore, brands that are delivering personalized ads to users by tracking their activity through third-party cookies won’t be able to do this anymore.

According to Talkwalker, HubSpot and more, this will mean that changes to social advertising will be a trend for 2022. It will provide a good opportunity for brands to develop new social advertising strategies, using measures to better understand their customer preferences.

In fact, Forbes mentions that brands have been misled by ad-tech companies into believing that hypertargeting through third-party cookies reaps better results. However, those ads often end up in front of bots. And targeting a more genuine audience instead might actually reduce costs and increase results.

Tips to navigate this 2022 trend: Talkwalker advises brands to focus on user-generated content as part of their social media strategy. In addition, they suggest creating a complete analysis of your customer insights, and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Examples of branded social media templates and graphics created using our Content Stadium tools.
Discover our content creation tools for branded social media posts.

Trend 6. Decentralization of social media

Talkwalker states that communities are no longer only limited to mainstream social media platforms. And that a trend to watch out for in 2022 is the decentralization of social media.

Brands will start to more and more include social elements directly in the user experience of their apps, platforms and channels. Especially in the travel and payment sector. The reason behind it is that user retention and engagement increase when consumers have the ability to interact with their social group within a product or platform.

Tip to get started with this trend: Talkwalker recommends that you analyze your audience in terms of the type of social element(s) they are expecting from your brand. And then build the social component accordingly.

Trend 7. Omnichannel marketing

Omnichannel marketing is the integration of various channels that an organization uses to communicate with its consumers. This helps to create a better, more unified customer experience. In fact, omnichannel marketing automation leads to 250% higher purchase frequency and 90% higher customer retention rates.

According to SwiftERM and Puzzle Media, it is essential for brands to shift to omnichannel marketing, and adopting this strategy will be a trend in 2022.

Their tip for omnichannel marketing when it comes to social media: As a starting point, brands should try to be present on more than one social media channel. Because more channels means more opportunities to interact with more customers. At the same time, it’s not necessary to be active on all social media channels, but definitely on the ones that your audience uses the most.

Trend 8. Micro-influencers

HubSpot, B2C, Browser Media and Talkwalker agree that influencer marketing is not a new trend, but will continue to be a marketing trend for brands in 2022. However, the changing trend is that brands will be increasing their focus on working with micro-influencers in the upcoming year.

According to PR Newswire, only 4% of consumers trust celebrity endorsements to buy products. So joining forces with celebrities for endorsing your product or service is not enough.

Meanwhile, a report from Later and Fohr shows that influencers who have less than 25k followers have the highest engagement rates on Instagram. So, it’s likely that working with micro-influencers will boost your customer engagement.

Graph of Instagram engagement rates based on number of followers, showing that micro-influencers deliver the highest engagement
Instagram engagement rates. Source: Later and Fohr

Tips for this 2022 social media trend: Talkwalker recommends to consider and collaborate with influencers of all sizes (that make sense to your brand), as this can help you reach your different goals. HubSpot also suggests that using influencers can be very beneficial on platforms like TikTok, where brands have had a harder time establishing themselves.