From Bernie’s mittens to a billion users on TikTok, social media had quite the year in 2021—and it’s about to get bigger and better in 2022. Stacked with emerging industry behaviours, breakthrough platforms, and new normals — Hootsuite’s sixth annual Social Trends Report reveals the five major forces set to shape social as we know it in 2022. Every marketer (and every business, to be honest) will need them to chart the way into a bright new year.
The survey of 18,000-plus marketers — backed by global data and insights from industry experts, customers, and partners — has identified that:
• Smart brands are finally getting community right by partnering with creators to connect with new audiences, earn their trust, and gain cultural capital
• Consumers are holding brands to a higher standard when it comes to creativity in social advertising — but rewarding those that get it right
• Having seen the value of social in marketing, business leaders are finding innovative ways to extend its impact elsewhere in their organisations
• Social commerce is becoming a mainstream retail channel, with brands of all sizes opening social storefronts and pushing the limits of the online shopping experience
• As demand for customer service over social surges, social organisations are outshining their competitors with better social customer care
“As the impact of social media continues to grow and evolve around the globe, the market will continue to drop clues about what it collectively wants,” said Maggie Lower, CMO, Hootsuite. “Today, we’re all listening and adapting at lightning speed as digital communities become more central to consumers’ lives and brands are being held to higher standards. We’re seeing social make its break out of the marketing department as social commerce enters full swing, and opportunities arise for customer care on our favourite platforms.”
With more than 4.5 billion people now using social media—and with our physical and digital lives becoming increasingly intertwined—navigating the social media landscape has become an even more complex task for brands and organisations. Though keeping up can seem daunting, Hootsuite encourages readers to dive deep into online communities to find their authentic purpose, think strategically, and take risks to defy expectations and outperform competitors in 2022.
“After turbulent times, when organisations have been forced to operate tactically, it’s now time for marketers to think strategically again,” said Tom Keiser, CEO, Hootsuite. “Let’s consider how to create connected online communities. Let’s champion the infinite potential of social commerce and customer care. Let’s make bold choices informed by data, vision, and purpose—and make them wonder how we did it.”
Through key findings, expert analysis, and industry examples—the report tells us how:
• Brands finally get community right (with the help of creators): Digital communities are only becoming more central to consumers’ lives and identities—and creators are the key to unlocking them.
“Communities are at the heart of a successful social strategy, and content creators have built networks where their visibility and sway are truly powerful.” Amanda Wood, Head of Social Media Marketing, Hootsuite
• Marketers get creative as consumers wise up to social ads: Consumers are holding brands to higher standards when it comes to creativity in social advertising (and rewarding those that get it right).
“No one wants their time online interrupted by brands that haven’t put much effort into their ads. Consumers are far more receptive to the brands on social that have this figured out.” Sarah Dawley, Head of Content, Hootsuite
• Social quietly matures out of the marketing department: Business leaders are buffing up employee advocacy programmes, mastering social listening to gather consumer insights, and looking to deliver the kind of impact they’ve seen social have on their marketing—organisation-wide.
“Social is no longer a siloed subsection of the marketing department, thanks to ROI-proving tools that have become universally accessible.” Melissa Murray Bailey, CRO, Hootsuite
• Social becomes the heart of the shopping experience: The era of social commerce is in full swing, and the opportunity is only getting bigger. Competitive small businesses are finding a balance between social storefronts and bricks and mortar, while large brands test the outer limits of the online shopping experience.
“Social is the new interface of commerce and the backbone of the new customer experience for 2022 and far beyond.” Étienne Mérineau, Founder, Heyday by Hootsuite
• Social marketers rescue their brands from the customer service apocalypse: Demand for customer service over social has been surging and social media managers now find themselves in an ideal position to play the hero and steer their organisations through the upheaval.
“Delivering great social customer care is going to be the best marketing your brand will ever get.” Christoph Neut, Vice President of Sales, Sparkcentral by Hootsuite
Get the complete analysis, brand examples, and strategies for 2022 in the full report https://www.hootsuite.com/research/social-trends