If you’re a regular social media user, then you’ll know how quickly things change on major platforms like Facebook and Twitter. 2021 has seen features like live streams become more common, while Augmented Reality (AR) has started to appear in certain filters – including McDonald’s spice zapper that allows users to virtually shoot lasers from their eyes. With the online world constantly evolving, which trends can we look out for in 2022? Here are six of the best.
You’ve heard of influencers, those guys with huge platforms that post content to millions of people every day. But what are micro-influencers? Well, these are social media users that have a significant following, maybe a few thousand people, and focus on a particular niche. This could be beauty, fitness or any of the 1001 other things people love.
Companies like to work with quality micro-influencers because they offer a marketing outlet for their products, and are an easy way to connect with their customer base. They might send them free products to advertise and often pay a good wage.
Micro-influencers are becoming more common on socials and offer an insight into new products, often before they go on the market.
More shopping options
Online shopping has stepped up a few gears in recent years. Whereas in the past we would visit different sites to purchase clothes, buy lottery tickets or whatever other retail task you had in mind; now social media brings it all together into one hub.
The major platforms are constantly upgrading their features to accommodate this big demand for shopping. We know all about the Facebook business shops, but Instagram now also allows businesses to use product tags that offer a safe and easy checkout within the platform.
The stats back up the shift towards social media shopping: over half of users now research products via these platforms, rather than standard internet shopping on a browser, which suggests that it might soon become the chief source of online retail.
More short-video content
The explosion in Tik-Tok content over the last few years has inspired millions of people to become stars of their own video creations. The pandemic has added to this, with users having more free time to get creative and upload their latest offering.
The thing is, with so much content to look at and so little time, short-video content is winning out. Brief, snappy videos that sum up what the creator wants to say in a few seconds are more likely to go viral than those that last several minutes. Social media cuts our attention span, unfortunately. Not convinced? Instagram recently announced that over 500 million users utilise stories every day – with most of the content only a few seconds long.
Facebook is still number 1
It’s had to deal with hundreds of questions about its security, privacy, and general ethical behavior over the years, but Facebook is still the number 1 social media platform around. 2022 is likely to see it keep its place at the top of the tree: it’s not just the sheer number of users that put it there – almost 3 billion, according to a recent count – it’s the amount of time people spend there. One report put it as an average of 58 minutes per session. That’s a lot of time to click on the sponsored content and business accounts that provide the huge levels of income that keep FB as the top social media network around. YouTube is hot on its heels, however, so we might see a shift in power over the next couple of years.
More Augmented Reality (AR)
We’ve mentioned McDonald’s customers shooting lasers from their eyes thanks to AR, but the tech is much broader than that. The driving force behind this is its ease of use. Users can run the features on their smart device, without any need for additional hardware.
Examples include Starbucks using YouTube to broadcast their special Valentine’s Day cups that turn into magical love messages, and Snapchat collaborating with Gucci to create a virtual try-on of clothes.
The beauty of these features is that they are so interactive, and boosts user engagement. With billions of dollars to throw at them, expect to see companies use many more next year.
Reddit spawns several offshoot businesses
Ever heard of Discord? If not, then you probably will soon. Known as the ‘Slack for gaming’, it’s a hugely popular platform for gamers that evolved out of a Reddit sub-forum.
It’s a prime example of how the wealth of content on Reddit is about to ‘unravel’ into different apps, similar to how Craigslist inspired the likes of Airbnb and Indeed several years ago. Keep an eye out for new Reddit-inspired startups this year as users figure out a way to convert those subreddits into big business using the latest technology.