Social media marketing opportunities are expanding rapidly, and companies are moving into ecommerce faster than they planned due to the global business environment. New digital worlds are opening up with well-known brands moving into virtual real estate. Social media platforms offer the opportunity to connect with customers where they spend time, which leads to more brand awareness and more significant sales.

But, the more we connect and socialize digitally, the more consumers seem to want a human experience: good customer service, giving back, and accountability.

Brands and marketers must be aware of what is happening on social media platforms, and the usual social media strategies require innovation. But most importantly, brands need to know what their customers are thinking. So here are some of the biggest social media trends in 2022 you can use to boost your business.

Social Ecommerce

Social media will continue to be a purchasing platform for goods and services in 2022 with the growth of social commerce. Social commerce is the convergence of ecommerce and social media where user-generated content, influencers, and consumer calls added to posts urge consumers to purchase.

Brands should use the shoppable functionality on all their social media platforms. For example, Instagram has link stickers that take consumers directly to purchasing sites and shopping stickers that provide product information such as price.

TikTok is relatively new to social ecommerce compared to Facebook and Instagram. But, with LIVE shopping, they let users buy what they discover while watching a brand’s stream.

Social Customer Service

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the professional services consulting firm, published a report on the future of customer experience. Their research shows a need for the human element to be embedded within automation, artificial intelligence, and other technologies that include social media platforms. The statistics highlight the following:

73% of people feel customer service is a significant factor in their purchasing decisions
42% of respondents will pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience
65% find a positive experience with a brand more influential than great advertising
Companies need to get back to the basics by using social media to build relationships and provide good customer service to their audience. Social media platforms are the digital version of traditional word-of-mouth marketing—and news about good or bad social customer service spreads fast.

New Digital Entities in the Metaverse

Social media marketing might in the future not only direct an audience to websites for purchases but also the metaverse. The metaverse is becoming more than a platform for digital games; it is also a sales platform. Walmart is venturing into metaverse technology, with things like trademark applications for cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), amongst many others.

Gucci bought virtual land in The Sandbox, an Ethereum-based NFT gaming metaverse, and will begin building a world on this metaverse platform. It follows the luxury brand’s Gucci Vault project, a mixed reality (MR) space that houses NFT collections and vintage items for purchase. Adidas already has Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs wearing a virtual collection of items similarly available in the physical world.

AR and VR Social Media Campaigns

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will become more visible in social media marketing. For example, research shows that in the year 2020 there were 2.69 billion video game players worldwide, with revenues of $159 USD billion generated in that year: that figure will rise to $3.07 billion by 2023. With these kinds of numbers, players will start expecting an equally immersive experience on their chosen social media platforms.

Currently, short-form content is used to sell products and services on social media platforms. AR and VR social media campaigns should consider more long-form content such as interactive tours, self-guided assessments, and instant product demonstrations to sell socially.

Emphasizing Giving Back

Giving back is an innate human need. Today, people are more informed on social issues, whether local, national, or global. As a result, giving back will become an even more significant trend on social media. But, it has to be done in an authentic, transparent, and accountable manner.

Consumers are looking at more than just the goods and services they get from a brand. They want to know what the brand stands for, and this must include giving back to communities in some way. Whether your brand highlights a community charity or encourages donations to a cause, consumers want to know that businesses are authentic in their support. Giving back should not be an add-on but a lived value.

Being an Accountable Brand

Consumers are holding brands accountable for commitments made. No longer can companies say something but not follow through. Social media platform Pinterest last year launched a feature called Merchant Details. It allows brands to highlight their values such as ‘inclusive’ and ‘responsibly sourced’ on their profiles.

Businesses must know what their customers are saying about their brand. If you state that your company, product, or service offers something specific, consumers expect precisely that. Or they will talk about it on social media, and the social media management of these discussions will require an authentic and honest response plan.