2022 is here and so are questions surrounding the status of social media marketing.
There’s no denying the impact social media has had on today’s society, especially as it relates to brand marketing. Social media gives users the opportunity to immediately connect with others, no matter the day or time, making it an optimal channel for brands interested in remaining relevant in the lives of customers.
It’s safe to say that many brands have taken advantage of social media, creating campaigns that increase brand awareness, drive revenue and promote customer loyalty. With all of these perks, it’s no wonder brands want to know what 2022 holds for social networks.
We spoke with Kyle Dulay, co-founder of Collabstr, a platform designed to help brands connect with influencers through a chatting pool, to discuss the future of social media.
These are his predictions:
Influencer marketing isn’t slowing down soon
Influencer marketing has been quite the craze on social media. Need proof? According to Influencer Marketing Hub, “influencer marketing” has experienced a 465% increase in Google searches since 2016. Between 2016 and 2019 there was a 1500% increase in Google searches (talk about urgency, right?).
If the sudden rise in brand and influencer sponsorships wasn’t evidence that this newest marketing tool is all the rage, its potential impact on content strategy certainly is. Dulay says influencer marketing will be shifting towards authentic content that isn’t driven by profit.
“Influencer marketing is going to be more about organic content, and less about spammy sales content. More brands will be spending on TikTok, which is right behind Instagram when it comes to influencer marketing spend. A lot of brands will also depend on influencers for user-generated content,” he said. “This could be things like testimonials, product videos, product unboxings, etc. that can be posted to the brand's social channels or website. I'm a strong believer that in the next decade, brands will be 70%-80% reliant on creator-generated content for their content strategy.”
Why is this important? Influencer marketing can help humanize your brand. Humans are social creatures — we bond over similar experiences, we express emotions — all of which are particularly useful in building brand awareness once you understand that customers are more likely to resonate with another human who is discussing your brand than they are to relate to an ad or logo.
“Trust between brands and their consumers is essential to success in this era of business. The new age of consumers, especially Gen Z, do not trust branded content. They listen to people more than they listen to brands, and as a brand you should understand this and represent yourself on social media accordingly,” said Dulay. He also mentioned that this can be done through influencer marketing or other forms of digital content.
“Be human, show faces and talk like you're talking to a friend. Corporate culture has no place on social media, and people will see it coming from a mile away,” said Dulay. “Focus on building a community, post memes, tell jokes, livestream and interact with your audience. At the end of the day, they are your potential customers, so why not take the chance to get close to them?”
In most cases, when people talk about influencers they’re referring to mega or macro influencers, otherwise known as people with thousands to millions of followers on social media. While these types of influencers have certainly changed the marketing landscape, it’s smaller influencers who are growing in popularity.
“I think micro-influencers have more power than ever before. Influencer marketing is becoming less about your engagement or following size and more about your skills as a content creator. If you're a micro-influencer with talent when it comes to creating content, brands will hire you left and right,” said Dulay. “Your following size does not matter when it comes to the brand wanting good content for their website, or their own social media channels. These days, you can promote influencer content with ad spend, so if I really liked your content and you only had 1,000 followers, I could just put $500 of ad spend behind your post and show it to my targeted audience.”
Video marketing will continue to grow
If you’ve been thinking about adding more video content to your marketing strategy, you’re in luck — there’ll be even more opportunities to create video marketing campaigns in 2022.
“Video has risen in popularity due to short video platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube shorts. You'll even notice a majority of paid advertisements using video now. From a consumer standpoint, videos can provide a quick hit of dopamine and value, much faster than that of a static photo overlaid with text,” said Dulay. “Think about a TikTok video, and how it can tap into multiple senses that can hook the viewer into watching the full video. Not only can we hook people with visually appealing content, but we can also leverage audio (music, unique sounds, etc.) to hook viewers as well. Video is more immersive, and in this day and age where attention spans are shrinking, videos allow us to fight for attention.”
While short videos are the way of the future, they’re also a stepping stone for certain brands. Some experts have noticed that Instagram reels and TikTok videos are getting longer, a quite noticeable difference when they’re known for being shorter style videos. Moore says this is happening to make way for brand dominance.
“Instagram and TikTok are doing this in an attempt to steal market share from YouTube. Instagram originally planned to do this with IGTV but that didn't work out well. TikTok came along and cracked the code with short videos, [and] now that they have the users, they can offer long-form content on their platform. I really do think that TikTok has a good shot at being a YouTube competitor, so brands should think about how they can integrate long-form content on their page as well.”
If you’re looking for advice around creating this content, Dulay has some: Focus on value.
This means providing your audience with content that will resonate with them. Humans have short attention spans, and if you want your customers to watch something, you have to make it worth watching.
“Brands need to go into 2022 with a mindset of providing value and documenting, rather than selling. TikTok has taken the world by storm,” said Dulay. “Every brand should be producing short-video content where they are providing value and building a community. There is no room for spammy sales content on new platforms like TikTok. It's not something that works.”
Here’s something Dulay says does work: live-streaming. You’ve seen live-streaming take place on various platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Other platforms are also working to incorporate live content into their networks. What does this mean for brands? You’ll be able to sell your products by leveraging even more live-streaming features.
Social media platforms have taken the world by storm, and by the looks of it they’re here to stay. Changes in social media marketing are worth keeping in mind as you navigate the new year and we’ll be here to help you make the most of your digital content as you do.