Thinking about your social media strategy for next year? For this blog we have looked at some of the trends that have emerged in 2021 and highlighted ‘6 of the best’ that we expect to see more of in 2022.
1. Video is King
A combination of readily available equipment (a smartphone in our pocket and cameras in our laptops) great free and low cost software solutions, and a newfound comfort in front of the camera has led to an explosion of video content. Whether it is simply comments to camera or creative user generated content, video has become incredibly popular amongst influencers and consumers, and brands will certainly look to exploit this trend.
Gordon Glenister, Global Head of Influencer Marketing, at the Branded Content Marketing Association agrees that video will dominate social media engagement. He says, “We’ve seen the growth in TikTok and YouTube and now Instagram Reels. We’ve been exposed to creative, entertaining and thought provoking video content and we want more of it.”
2. The 4 Cs of Covid
We hope the Covid pandemic will finally be behind us, but there is a chance further waves and variants will emerge over the winter. References to it in social marketing are likely to continue for some time yet and brands are likely to incorporate the 4 C’s, Cleanliness, Contactless, Community and Compassion in their messaging.
Janet Machuka, Founder of the ATC Digital Academy says, “KFC temporarily dropped its iconic “Finger Lickin’ Good” slogan during the pandemic and released a tongue-in-cheek campaign to go with it. As the 4Cs of COVID-19 continue to be the new normal in marketing, it’s bound to change how messages are relayed.”
At Focus7 we have seen clearly how purpose has come to the fore during the pandemic. Businesses have certainly connected more in their local communities and more compassionate and emotion-based campaigns have definitely registered greater traction with consumers.
3. Nostalgia Marketing
Remember how it was always sunny in the summer holidays when you were a kid? Or how service was better, everything was cleaner and prices were reasonable? Remember the good old days of 2019 before Covid? Nostalgia has an amazing ability to allow us to look back fondly and remember things through a rose-tinted filter!
Back in the 1920’s when the world was recovering from the Great War and the Spanish Flu pandemic, nostalgia marketing was all the rage, and there is every chance that it will be again. Connecting with positive memories from the past helps people disconnect from their current struggles. Connect that positive memory to your brand and that sense of positivity will build an emotional relationship with your consumer. Make customers feel good and they associate those feelings with your brand.
Eleonora Rocca, Co-Founder of Growence says, “Nostalgia campaigns work especially well with Millennials as they mainly focus on purpose. Reliving positive memories and beloved icons from the past can feel good. We are all so busy with hectic schedules every day that fond memories that make us smile leave us open to brand messaging.”
Marketing has long been a battleground for attention and engagement in which brands have gone up against their competitors in a fight for supremacy. The events of 2020 and 2021 seem to have softened the approach as the world has rediscovered community. Brands, often completely unaligned, have joined to create campaigns to mutual advantage. Weetabix ran a Twitter campaign for Beans on Weetabix and were quickly joined by Heinz and many more household names, keen to join in the fun… and the incredible exposure. The result was a shift in consumer perception of the brands, with their sense of fun and willingness to collaborate being seen as highly positive traits.
Ellie Hernaman, CEO at Truffle Social agrees. “I expect collaboration to become much more prominent, not just among influencers as we know them, but also brands, agencies, business leaders and independent talent alike.”
As it has been harder for businesses to get in front of their teams and customers, and for industries to collaborate or share thoughts and ideas at events, podcasts have emerged as a popular social medium.
Providing relevant information quickly has become a high priority. High value video production looks great, but takes time and can be challenging in a working from home environment. Podcasts can be created much more easily and build connections quickly. With around half of the population now listening to podcast content, we believe that the habit will continue as the new normal emerges.
6. Conscious Consumerism
The number one trend identified in the Talkwalker and HubSpot survey into social media trends is the rise in conscious consumerism. They say companies will have to engage more with topics like mental health, inclusivity and social justice, or face becoming irrelevant and potentially obsolete.
Politics, equality, education, mental health, finance and changing food trends are the most frequent conversations on social media amongst Gen Z and the Alpha generation. These topics are critical to these generations, and social media is their way to bring them to attention.
50% of Gen Z have either lost a job, or had someone in their household lose a job because of COVID. In the coming years, they will have more to fight for, and will potentially become more vocal and engaged with those concerned about the issues that matter more to them.
Of course, social channels are ultimately a place for you to communicate with your audience. Communication should be a two way street, and it’s vital that you not only engage, but also listen to hear what else is being said that will be important in how you take your brand to market.
If you would like help in creating or implementing a social media strategy or producing content to achieve your goals, please get in touch with us and we would be happy to discuss your needs.
This blog includes references to the research used by Talkwalker and HubSpot for their report into Social Media Trends, updated in August 2021.
David Langdown is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Focus7, a purpose-driven, brand-led growth agency. David has been a Fellow of the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing since 2003. He has an Advanced Professional Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and is a practising counsellor.