The Hottest Current Trends in Social Media

It’s been a quarter-century since the first true (albeit rudimentary, especially by today’s standards) social media platforms made their internet debut. And in the time since, the once-unique phenomenon of websites and applications that enable users to actively share content and engage with others’ online posts has become commonplace — and has spread like wildfire, with nearly 60% of the global population using some form of social media today.

Of course, as social media’s astounding growth continues, social media trends are constantly evolving. And for businesses looking to reach new social-savvy consumers and stay top of mind with their current customers, it’s imperative to stay on top of the trends. To help your brand accomplish just that, consider these five social media updates and trends that are shaping the social landscape in 2022 — and that your brand can leverage to boost its business:

1. TikTok’s growth is still surging

In September 2021, TikTok — the fast-growing social platform focused on the sharing of short-form videos — hit 1 billion active monthly users. That represented a nearly 50% jump in the platform’s user numbers since the start of 2021, and it follows a nearly 1,200% increase in global users between 2018 and 2020. And while the platform is especially effective for reaching younger users (nearly 70% of American teens use the platform at least once a month), it’s also becoming more popular across a broad swath of age groups and other demographics. For all of these reasons, brands and businesses looking to leverage the latest social trends would be well advised to get to know TikTok and start using it to achieve their marketing objectives.

2. … and short-form video is gaining ground elsewhere, too

TikTok isn’t the only place where short-form video is clearly having a moment. The craze seems to be spreading everywhere, and all of the top social platforms are now finding ways to incorporate short-form videos into their users’ feeds — with examples including Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, YouTube Shorts, Facebook Stories and more. In an age when consumers’ attention spans seem to be declining, short-form video offers a great opportunity for brands to grab attention, get their messaging across quickly and share the clips they create across an array of platforms.

3. Direct sales on social keep rising

E-commerce brands have traditionally used social platforms to raise consumer awareness, grab potential buyers’ attention and lure these prospects to their websites, where they’ll hopefully move along the path to purchase and eventually convert. But more and more, social platforms are offering ways for brands to house the shopping and buying experiences directly on their platforms, with no need for consumers to ever leave their social feeds to make their purchases. That cuts out an extra step on the path to purchase and thereby sealing a potential leak in the conversion funnel.

According to estimates from industry experts, nearly half of American adults bought something directly via social media in 2021. And social media commerce is predicted to reach $1.2 trillion by 2025 — a figure that’s more than double the amount spent in 2021 and represents three times the growth rate of traditional e-commerce. This presents a great opportunity for brands to grow their sales by leveraging social-commerce avenues such as Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shops to reach and convert new, tech-savvy audiences of consumers — both today and into the future.

4. Microinfluencers gain added importance for smaller brands

Sure, the big brands can pay top dollar to get the biggest-name social influencers to tout their products and services on social media. But the ultra-high prices these social sensations demand to share a brand’s messaging with their millions of followers can present too high a financial hurdle for smaller brands to clear.

Enter the microinfluencer, who can also reach real customers with real money to spend — only on a significantly smaller scale and with a much lower price tag. Often, these less-widely-known influencers tend to be well-known to niche audiences, which can present significant (and affordable) opportunities for brands whose own target consumers align with these influencers’ audiences. Further, because their audiences are much smaller, microinfluencers tend to get higher engagement rates with their followers. And as a result, when a brand works with a microinfluencer (or multiple microinfluencers) to reach its relevant market segments, it can see a higher ROI than brands working with macroinfluencers tend to achieve.

5. Multichannel marketing delivers stronger results

Among the easiest of advertising trends for any brand to leverage, multichannel marketing sees businesses strategically employ their various marketing channels so that they work together more effectively. And because most modern consumers also employ a range of the most popular communications channels themselves, the strategy is becoming more and more powerful.

For example, by aligning the messaging in your brand’s social media campaigns (typically used to generate brand awareness and boost consumer interest) with the messaging in its email campaigns (often used to push interested prospects farther along the path to purchase, as well as for building repeat business among existing customers), you can more effectively accomplish more complete brand immersion. One simple strategy that illustrates the power of the social media-email pairing: Launch a contest or giveaway on social media that provides additional entries to consumers who sign up for your brand’s email newsletter. This can effectively bridge the gap between the two channels, while simultaneously helping your brand grow its email list and collect more data on interested prospects with a high potential for conversion.

We understand that not everyone has the time, knowhow or even budget to take on every channel and stay up to date (or even hour) with the trends. If you can make the commitment to do just one thing to keep up or improve your social presence, our recommendation would be to stay focused on where your target audience is — even if it might not be on the “hottest” trending social platform at the moment. Focus your content to answer your customers questions and address challenges they might not even be aware they have. If you have a little bit to invest,  influencers are the wave to latch on to.

If you’re a local brand, there’s even a smaller subset of the microinfluencer (a la the Nano-influencer) that might be willing to work with you if you pay them in product. Nano-influencers are local to your community, with a following less than 10,000, are potentially the administrator of online groups or communities and know what creates the buzz locally to you.

Looking to level up your brand’s social media efforts by harnessing the latest social media trends? Interested in adding influencers to your marketing plan but don’t know where to start? Brandon’s team of social-savvy marketing experts stays up on all the latest developments in social media as well as influencer management… and has the experience needed to harness them effectively — and boost your business. To learn how you can put our team of social media professionals to work for your brand, contact us today.

Kristi Raines

Kristi Raines

Marketing and PR Director

Kristi is our Marketing and PR Director, working out of any of our offices she can make her way to, from her Florence, SC home. Her experience spans categories including, but not limited to, B2B, manufacturing, packaging, e-commerce, veterinary care, finance, recruitment marketing, employer branding, and several others. A former collegiate athlete, she enjoys staying active by running, weightlifting and avoiding being tackled by and wrestling with her 8-year-old son. She has also been married for 14 years and has a rescue dog named Comet (aka, a reindeer).

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