Social media is an ever-evolving marketing medium. And if you want to keep up, it helps to be aware of the trends that are likely to be shaping the months to come.

Most brands — well, 91.9% of them — use social media for marketing their business. If you’re one of them, you know just how difficult it can be to stay on top of new platforms, features, and metrics — especially during the previous couple of years. The good news is that 2022 is expected to have a bit more predictability as the industry continues to adapt to the disruptions of 2020 and 2021. There are also some exciting things on the horizon to be prepared for. 

Ready to move full speed ahead? The new year is here, and with it, a number of big changes in the ways that brands can communicate effectively with their audience online. Here are four social media for trends for 2022 that you should consider as you work on upcoming changes to your strategy and your social media calendar.

1. The Rise of Social Commerce

We already know that consumers overwhelmingly want to make their purchases online, but more and more, they specifically want to make those purchases through social channels. It’s estimated that social media eCommerce — a.k.a. social commerce — will jump 22% from 2021 to 2022, with a total spending expectation of $45.74 billion, or 5.2% of all U.S. online retail sales. By 2025, that number should almost double to $79.64 billion.

You’re probably already using social media to promote your products and services and drive prospects to your website to make a purchase. Going forward, the goal should be to skip that middle step entirely, allowing prospects to shop without clicking over to your site.

To get started, set up shop with social commerce via platforms like Instagram Shop, Facebook Shop, and Pinterest Product Pins. Focus first on getting your top sellers up, then expand your inventory as it makes sense to do so.

2. Making an Impact with Micro-Targeting

Targeting is already a cornerstone of productive social media engagement for brands, but it’s about to get a whole lot more specific.

Micro-targeting takes all of the data you’ve been gathering for years and combines it with AI-driven predictive analytics to help you get the right content in front of the right people. We’re starting to see it at play in all sorts of marketing endeavors, including email marketing and paid ads. And unsurprisingly, it’s expected to make a splash with social media, too.

Brands are still limited to the targeting parameters set out by individual platforms. Where micro-targeting can be of use is helping spread out your social presence among a wider range of platforms, keeping brand identity constant while also modifying your message for a more limited audience. Influencers will be instrumental in helping you do this, particularly when it comes to targeting smaller audiences within each channel.

3. Goodbye Instagram, Hello TikTok?

Instagram is poised to lose its top spot as the number one platform for brands. Taking its place: TikTok, a video-sharing platform that, despite common misconceptions, isn’t just for teens.

TikTok took on its billionth subscriber in 2021, boasting a global user base that has increased more than 1,000% in the past couple of years. Compare that to Instagram’s annual growth rate, which in 2021 was estimated at just 3.7%, and it’s easy to see how TikTok is fast on its way to taking the crown.

The secret here is in TikTok’s rapid-speed algorithm for brands to target the right audience. There’s also a ton of opportunity for virality through both branded and non-branded content. In 2020, Ocean Spray experienced a massive spike to the tune of 15 billion media impressions in one month, all because a video in which someone was drinking an Ocean Spray drink went viral.

4. Using Social Listening to Pay Attention

Psst… hear that? It’s a slew of companies working to improve their social listening skills and ensure they’re never the last to chime in on important conversations.

Social listening isn’t new, but it is becoming increasingly important. Keeping your ear to the ground will be integral in 2022, both for getting ahead of potential PR issues and for creating content that’s optimized for your audiences’ interests — and optimized to perform against your competitors.

Use a social media automation tool to streamline social listening, and pay attention not just to your brand name but to relevant hashtags, impressions, and mentions related to your industry and other brands you are in direct competition with.

Ready to Take Action?

You’ve got the info; now get to work. Start incorporating 2022’s social media trends into your strategy as soon as you can, focusing on the actions that make the most sense for your brand and your goals. Who knows, this may just be the year your social efforts pay off in big ways you never imagined.