Where Is Social Media Going in 2022?

Tweets and posts have become as common as business cards when it comes to marketing your business. Maybe that’s because digital consumers spend nearly 2.5 hours a day on social networks. If you want to be seen by potential customers, it’s the place to be. 

The share of U.S. adults using social media has remained relatively stable over the past five years, with about seven-in-ten Americans indicating they use social media to keep connected, engage with others and  as a form of entertainment, according to the Pew Research Center. These numbers  reminds us that social media is not only a significant part of our lives, but how important it is to stay on top of what’s new. Take a look at some developing trends in social media so you can make the most of your promotional efforts.

Trend 1: Social media growth is more targeted.

The two social media platforms that experienced the most growth statistically since 2019 are YouTube and Reddit, according to Pew Research. However, YouTube and Facebook remained the most popular platforms among U.S. adults, at 81 percent and 69 percent, respectively. A consistent pattern over the years, age continued to factor into the platforms.

A majority of users between 18 to 29 years old preferred Instagram or Snapchat, with about half saying they use TikTok. Those who used TikTok tended to be in the younger side of the age group - 18-to-24-year-olds, reporting that they used Instragram, Snapchat or TikTok at 76 percent, 75 percent and 55 percent, respectively. These numbers contrasted with older age groups. Just 2 percent of those ages 65 and older reported they used Snapchat compared to 65 percent of adults between 18 and 29  who said they used the platform.

Pew also reports that many demographic patterns remain the same. Pinterest is used more often by women, LinkedIn attracts more college educated and high-income users, WhatsApp is popular among Hispanics, and Snapchat attracts younger users. Facebook is widely used by all ages but enjoys a larger share of older audiences. Adults in urban and suburban areas, at 17 percent and 14 percent, respectively, are more likely to report using the Nextdoor platform compared to only 2 percent in rural communities.

Takeaway: It’s important to periodically confirm the social platforms you use are still reaching your target market.

Trend 2: Social media as a place to shop.

The pandemic has caused an uptick in online and virtual shopping, with more social media platforms offering themselves as an additional outlet for consumers. Social commerce buyers in the U.S. grew by 25.2 percent to 80 million and is forecasted to surpass more than 100 million by 2023. Instagram and Facebook are popular choices  among buyers for social commerce, who tend to belong in the younger age groups. An emerging trend, nonetheless, other platforms such as TikTok are expected to enter the social commerce field. 

Takeaway: Research the platforms that offer social commerce and consider selling your products through these outlets. As this market expands, these platforms are adding new features to make it easier to shop.

Trend 3: Social media is about authentic engagement.

Social media platforms are stepping up detection of fake likes and followers because they dilute the perceived popularity of posts. Instead, the platforms are focusing on more qualitative factors like number of comments, replies, or live features to assess the quality of the interaction. The idea is to ensure that the engagement is authentically coming from an actual person.

Fake likes and content also create the potential for regulatory action against social platforms. As a result, you may see rules which add new restrictions to safeguard privacy and control the use of data available to marketers.

Takeaway: Evaluate which metrics best track actual engagement by users.  Create content that gets followers to directly interact with it. For example, pose a question in your post to get followers to comment on the content you post. 

Trend 4: Social media is becoming more local.

More businesses are using location-based targeting to reach potential customers in their own backyard. You can already position your Google ad to be seen by people in your area. Now, social media platforms are doing the same. 

Instagram offers the ability to tag your location by adding a button providing directions to your store. Facebook allows you to target a location if you choose their “boost” option. When people search on these or other social platforms, the location tags help them find nearby businesses, like yours.

Takeaway: Consider geo-tagging social posts or tweets to help you get the attention of locals.

Social media is likely to play a strong role in 2022 and beyond. But social winds can change direction and so will the ways we us it. Tracking trends like these can help you react so you can get the most from your social platforms.

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