2022 Social Media Trends
The Shift From Aesthetics To Authenticity
Trends come and go, but engagement is forever, right? Not exactly. As those of us who work in social media know, engagement is a key performance indicator (KPI) that can increase brand trust and bring your content to the forefront of the feed. But engagement is never something we take for granted. As platforms and audiences evolve, so should our engagement strategies.
Keeping up with trends is one of the ways brands can maintain relevance and keep audiences engaged in the ever-changing digital landscape.
Increased accountability for diversity and inclusion, the rise of authenticity and the micro-influencer, and more casual visual approaches all rise to the top of the list of social media trends in 2022.
Diversity + inclusion
I would like to preface this by saying that matters of diversity and inclusion should not be treated as a trend, per se. But as a brand, one would be remiss to not shift content to be more inclusive and diverse. Diversity and inclusion should be at the front of our minds, no matter the year.
Diversity and inclusion should not be treated as a trend, per se … it should be at the front of our minds, no matter the year.
These issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion are nothing new, of course. It’s important to demonstrate a willingness to show up for marginalized communities when it’s not as popular to do so. If you are integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion into your social strategy—whether increasing representation in your imagery or adding captions to videos—the tactics used should be in place for the long run.
Recognize your organization’s role in the overall conversation. What gaps exist in an organization that can be filled through further education? Make no mistake, most organizations aren’t experts on these topics. Seek education and listen. Speak when it matters and do not interrupt those speaking. “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is a cliché, but also true … it’s a continuing journey of education and listening.
The rise in authenticity + the micro-influencer
Being inundated with ad-type posts isn’t anything new, but gone are the days where social media users are swayed by those super polished posts that scream, “BUY THIS NOW!” These days, the average user is turned off by the hard sell. When it comes to visuals, select photos that look less curated and more relatable. Audiences are able to see themselves in this type of content. It creates more openness and honesty between the user and brand.
With the rise in authenticity comes the rise of the micro-influencer. With a 5% engagement rate, micro-influencers outperform every other tier, indicating how invested and trusting audiences are of the content these creators are putting out. Micro-influencers tend to work with brands they use and believe in, making them more trustworthy to their audiences.
Grainy photos are back, as are chaotic graphic layouts. But before you go slapping a filter on your next post, consider its place within your current brand strategy— will it be jarring for your audience and your feed? If your graphics are typically clean and minimalist, does chaos make sense? The same goes for any visual trend— consider if it actually benefits your brand to use these trends. The use of motion graphics is one more universal option if you’re looking to refresh your creative strategy.
Gen Z drives a lot of the trends these days … becoming the influencers of trends rather than the influenced. They want to see themselves reflected in the brands that they follow, and they respond well to brands that have gotten it right: 85% of Gen Z uses social media to learn about new products. Staying current allows brands to reinforce their identity and stay relevant in front of their audience. Don’t be afraid to embrace change and incorporate trends, where appropriate.