The Future of Social Media: 5 Predictions for 2022
The only thing certain about the future of social media is that changes are coming. The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced many unexpected social media trends over the last two years, positive and negative alike. As we approach the start of the new year, the post-pandemic era of social media is beginning, more informed and purposeful than ever. It is absolutely necessary for brands to stay updated on the latest trends in order to utilize social media’s full potential. Here are Brandware’s top five social media predictions for 2022.
TikTok will crack the top 5 in most used social media sites globally
If you haven’t already heard of or used TikTok, you likely will soon. Building off the relative success of apps like Vine, TikTok is a video-focused social media platform. Users share short-form videos like skits, pranks, informational content, and practically everything else imaginable. 2021 was TikTok’s biggest year yet, reaching the impressive mark of one billion active users. Only six other platforms had previously achieved this feat. They also reached one billion users faster than Facebook, and with no signs of slowing down, it’s only a matter of time until they’re in the top five.
TikTok is also presenting new opportunities for marketers looking to reach the younger generations that are destined to impact the future of social media. In a recent survey by Hootsuite, participants found that the perceived effectiveness of marketing on TikTok was drastically higher than last year, jumping from 3% in 2020 to 24% in 2021. In short, TikTok is the must-watch platform for marketers in 2022.
Platforms will double down on fact-checking and removing misinformation
More people than ever receive their news and information from social media. Between a global pandemic, civil unrest, and a polarizing election cycle over the last two years, rampant misinformation on social media has affected the lives of many. Especially in the case of COVID-19, spreading misinformation can even be fatal.
Facebook announced in March of 2020 that it would partner with third-party fact-checkers to reduce the spread of misinformation. Other platforms like Twitter and Instagram adopted similar programs throughout the year. While these platforms have begun taking steps to address the issue, there remains much grey area as to how much false information can be shared before it is removed or flagged. Expect to see the major social media platforms continue to refine their fact-checking programs in 2022.
Platforms will take measures to encourage healthier online habits
There’s no denying that the last two years have been tough on the mental health of the collective population. Being stuck inside, doom scrolling through the latest COVID news can be downright depressing, and even unhealthy if social media habits are left unchecked. Even though the average time spent on social media per day has gone down slightly by three minutes from 2020 to 2021, the average internet user still spends 142 minutes per day on social media, over an hour more than in 2012, according to Statista. The rate of depression among young people has been on the rise since 2012 and studies show a link between social media use and negative mental health impacts in this demographic. Some are even calling for society to treat social media use like a public health crisis, similar to how we treat cigarettes and alcohol.
So, what can we do to encourage healthier online habits among young people while still enjoying the positive benefits of social media? Tik Tok set the example for other platforms in 2020, adding screen time management videos that appear in-feed to remind users to take a break and engage in other activities such as going outside with friends, reading a book, or playing with pets. To keep their users happy and healthy, look to the other social media giants to add similar screen time management features and sponsored content promoting healthy habits in 2022.
Cross-cultural content will become more prevalent
Among one of the more positive benefits of social media over the last two years was its ability to bring people together around the globe during times of struggle. Many internet users discovered that no matter where you’re located, we’re more alike than we are different. There is no better example of this sentiment than the resounding success of Netflix’s hit show, ‘Squid Game’. The Korean tv series was Netflix’s highest streamed show of all time globally, and the show inspired countless memes and discourse across different countries and cultures. But the real reason why ‘Squid Game’ resonated with so many people was that it emphasized the common struggles that so many people worldwide share, regardless of language, age, race or location.
Content creators and marketers should take this as a sign to expand out of their cultural bubbles and look for more common ground on human experiences that people anywhere can relate to. With the ease of internet use today, the possibilities of whom you can make a genuine connection with are limitless.
Companies will shift their customer service resources towards social media
The pandemic has forced virtually every business to adapt. This has included responding to an uptick in inbound customer service traffic. As many businesses cut costs and downsize, social media managers are beginning to see their job responsibilities expand to include community management duties. This is in part because consumers’ customer service preferences are changing as well. According to a survey commissioned by Avochato, 63% of customers would rather message a business online than call them on the phone.
Not only does a properly executed community management plan streamline customer service processes, but it also builds rapport and customer loyalty with your brand’s online communities. Read more about crafting a holistic community management process at our Community Management 101 blog.
Social media evolves faster than brands can keep up, but with these trends in mind, you’re well on your way to bringing your brand into the post-pandemic era of social media. As you prepare your social media strategy for 2022, contact Brandware to learn how you can utilize these trends and more to unlock your brand’s full social media potential.