Social media has evolved.
We’ve said goodbye to simple status updates (we miss you!) and hello to social selling and growing digital communities.
And while new social media features and trends can feel never-ending, they also give you the opportunity to experiment and connect with your audience in a different way.
So, what's on the horizon for 2022? From the staying power of short-form video to an emphasis on mental health, we’re sharing the top social media trends to pay attention to this year.
10 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2022
Here are the top 10 social media trends we expect to see making waves in 2022:
The Creator Economy Will Boom
More Streamlined Social Commerce
Short-form Vertical Video Is Here to Stay
An Emphasis on Mental Health & Burnout Prevention
A Renewed Focus on Accountability & Diversity
Memes, Memes, Memes
Social Media Posts as a Form of Currency
Rise of the LinkedInfluencer
The “No Filter” Feed Takes Over
Brands Let Loose on TikTok
1. The Creator Economy Will Boom
The creator economy is now worth over $100 billion, and we predict it’s just getting started.
These tools help make it easier for creators to connect with their audience and collaborate with brands:
As social media platforms move more into the e-commerce space, it makes sense to invest in creators who are driving engagement, growing engaged communities, and promoting products.
And if you thought the creator community was oversaturated, think again.
There are thousands of creators who’ve seen huge growth within the span of a year or two – they've simply found their niche and stuck to it.
Take @coffeebae97 who started her TikTok account in April 2020 and now has over 1.2M combined followers on TikTok and Instagram:
Or Kat Norton who started her Instagram account in September 2020 and now has over 500K followers:
In other words, creators are here to stay.
For even more influencer and creator predictions, read this blog: 8 Influencer Marketing Trends to Watch in 2022
2. More Streamlined Social Commerce
Social commerce is a subset of e-commerce where everything happens on social media – product discovery, click-to-purchase, and post-purchase support.
And it’s revolutionizing the way we shop:
60% of Gen Zers in the US use Instagram to discover new brands and products
Social commerce in the US is predicted grow to nearly $80 billion by 2025
71% of small businesses are looking to sell on social media
Social media has become a virtual mall of sorts, right in the palm of our hands. We can browse products, find inspiration, and purchase within a few clicks.
As a result, platforms have begun to introduce new social commerce tools:
Instagram Shops make it easier for businesses to build online stores
Instagram Checkout rolled out to US-based brands, allowing users to make direct purchases
Pinterest introduced a Shop tab, where users could browse and shop via product Pins
TikTok is testing TikTok Shopping, right on the heels of their expanded partnership with Shopify
In 2022, we predict a doubling-down on the social commerce trend, as each platform vies to make their shopping features the best-in-class for both consumers and brands alike.
Speaking of shopping on social media, with Later’s Linkin.bio tool, you can seamlessly drive clicks to your website or individual product pages. Learn more here:
3. Short-form Vertical Video is Here to Stay
Not only is video content an engaging form of storytelling and a way to drive sales, it’s also a major growth hack:
Videos on Instagram get more engagement than other formats
Tweets with videos generate 10x more engagement than those without
Pinterest reported a 240% increase YoY of organic video pins from 2020 to 2021
In the past year alone, we’ve seen brands and creators use video to connect with their audience on a deeper level, spotlight products, and raise awareness about causes they care about.
In 2022, we think we'll see a lot of new vertical video trends and creative content pop up – whether it's fun editing transitions or in-depth tutorials.
TIP: Over 430M people in the world are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, and 85% of video on Facebook is watched without sound. So, we suggest using subtitles (or captions) on your videos to make them more accessible.
Schedule your posts and videos with Later – in just a few clicks! Get started today.
4. An Emphasis on Mental Health & Burnout Prevention
According to a recent report by Vibely, 90% of creators have experienced burnout and 71% have considered quitting social media altogether.
Between ongoing lockdowns, more time spent online, and the pressure to consistently churn out content, the digital burnout is real.
In 2021, we noticed an uptick in creators and brands talking about self-care, setting digital boundaries, and taking breaks:
And in 2022, there’ll be more conversations surrounding our relationship with social media and how it affects us.
Even Instagram’s joined the fray, with their new “Take a Break” feature, which is being tested in the US, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand:
The feature allows users to “receive break reminders in-app” after a duration of their choosing.
Instagram says they’ll also provide expert-backed tips on what you can do during your break like listening to your favorite song or taking a few deep breaths.
While it’s a step in the right direction, we’re curious to see how other platforms respond and how the conversation grows (and shifts) in 2022.
For tips on how to combat burnout, bookmark this: How to Identify Burnout When You Work in Social Media.
5. A Renewed Focus on Accountability & Diversity on Social Media
In 2020, we saw many brands speak out against racism, with promises to listen, learn, and do better.
Now two years later, the question remains: what’s next?
Judging from a recent report, which found that the pay gap between white influencers and BIPOC influencers is 29%, brands still have a ways to go.
While diversity and inclusion should never be a "social media trend" per se, we predict there will be an ongoing conversation about holding brands accountable to the promises they made to their followers.
From influencer partnerships to event speaker lineups, we hope it becomes more of a standard moving forward.
In other words, no longer something to simply check off your list.
To learn how to create a more inclusive marketing strategy, watch our workshop with strategist Sonia Thompson:
6. Memes, Memes, Memes
Everyone loves a good meme, right? In 2022, we predict memes (both static and video) are going to have an even bigger moment.
And popular meme account Saint Hoax even partnered with the Met Gala in 2021 as a “meme correspondent” to cover its biggest moments:
Memes are a great way for brands and creators to connect with their audience and join trending conversations.
And the best part? They don’t need to be fancy. Check out Later’s simple video meme that generated hundreds of comments:
In short? Memes are here to stay, and the more creative or nimble you are – the better.
7. Social Media Posts as a Form of Currency
Pay for a product with a social media post? Yep, it’s real and this social media trend is just getting started.
We first spotted it with MilkUP’s pop-up in Ontario where customers received free limited edition items from local businesses just by posting on social media:
The result? Long lines and consistently sold out products.
Similarly, Bun Burgers let customers to pay for their food with "TikTok currency" for the month of November. This video alone got over 6M views:
While TikTokers got free burgers, Bun Burgers gained brand awareness and free user-generated content.
As the world opens up again and brands begin planning in-person events, these types of campaigns could take off. Watch this space.
8. Rise of the LinkedInfluencer
LinkedIn and influencer: two words you likely never thought would work together.
But in 2022, think again.
“LinkedIn is an underrated platform,” says marketing strategist and LinkedIn creator Sara Lattanzio.
“They’ve started to invest more in creators. From the Creator Mode rollout to global creator programs, they’re making it easier to share content and grow an audience. It’s just the beginning.”
LinkedIn even launched its first Creator Accelerator last year, with creator Jon Youshaei encouraging others not to sleep on the platform:
But why LinkedIn’s sudden popularity?
“The shift to work from home culture made many people realize the importance of creating a memorable personal brand outside of the one you have with your company,” shares Marketer and Creator, Danica S. Nelson.
“LinkedIn is a great way to create visibility and showcase thought leadership within your broader network.”
Not to mention, the engagement potential is bananas. Check out this post that has over 20K reactions:
So what will we see in 2022? We predict more creators using the platform, professionals growing their personal brands, and CEOs positioning themselves as experts in their field.
“What I hope we don’t see more of is the recycling of polls that ask whether internships should be paid or unpaid. Enough please,” adds Danica.
Did you know: With Later’s LinkedIn Scheduling tool, you can plan and post your content in advance! Sign up now:
9. The “No Filter” Feed Takes Over
Creators and brands alike are shifting away from the perfectly curated feed aesthetic, and choosing to share less filtered and more in-the-moment content.
Take @scienceoffoods whose simplistic posts look like they have no filters at all:
Or fashion brand HARA, who often shares minimally edited content:
This trend goes hand-in-hand with the rise of authenticity over recent years, which has seen a shift in the type of content posted on social media.
In 2022, we predict brands and creators will spend less time creating a picture-perfect perception, and more time fostering deeper relationships with their followers.
For the biggest photo editing trends, check out this post: The Biggest Photo Editing Trends on Instagram Right Now.
10. Brands Let Loose on TikTok
TikTok was the cool kid on the block in 2021, and that won’t change in 2022.
With over 1B monthly active users, TikTok is a space for anyone and everyone – with a less filtered and curated vibe than Instagram.
And with 60% of TikTok users being Gen Zers (the ultimate trendsetters), we predict more brands letting loose and trying to tap into that market.
Take Duolingo, whose TikTok content is so different from what it posts on other platforms:
They’ve nailed their TikTok strategy by incorporating trending sounds with their oversized bird mascot – it's chaotic (in a good way).
The result? Millions of views and thousands of comments, on the regular.
With TikTok, brands can be more casual and experimental. We’re looking forward to seeing how this trend evolves throughout the year.
Like we said, social media is the wild west – it's constantly evolving.
And while it can be overwhelming when a new feature drops or a trend emerges, it allows you to experiment and see what works best for your specific audience and goals.
So whether it’s posting more meme content or leveraging in-app shopping features, we’re tapping these 10 social media trends as ones to watch.
Plan and schedule all of your social media content in advance with Later – for free! Sign up today and start posting.