A lot has changed in the digital landscape and social media trends over the last year. 2021 was packed with declines (Meta) and expansion (TikTok growing like no other platform). One thing that hasn’t? Social’s overall importance.
There are two primary challenges we see in companies’ social efforts. The first is mediocre creative. Every post not only needs a video, GIF or at least an image, but the content it points to (and copy) must be excellent. It needs to resonate either through vibrant art or by sharing a new idea. The second is “organic only.” The days of social posts without paid support are over.
Those essential tactics aside, our digital and social specialists analyzed major social media trends and changes and added firsthand intel on what’s performing on each networ—insights to inform how these channels function as a part of an overall marketing strategy.
In our first blog in the series, we dive into Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Marketing Strategy
Daily active users dropped for the first time ever in Q4, dipping to 1.93 billion. Monthly active users had a measly 4% growth to 2.9 billion. Despite this, an uncertain future (with the impending Metaverse) and more limited data tracking (due to a 2020 iOS update, requiring users to opt in vs. out of data tracking), this platform still boasts the largest global user base. With its large reach and a whole lot of influence, brands should not discount Facebook.
In case you missed it: The advancement of the Creator Studio and publishing tools like the ‘Inspiration Hub’ and Video Creation Kit added more insights and creative development assistance, making content generating easier
What’s working—video-first: Casual, lightweight tone and short copy tend to be better received than a formal brand voice. And posts with short videos and lightweight motion graphics receive significantly more engagement than those without. If it’s a video, use closed captions; it makes all the difference!
What’s working—groups: This may not be right for every business, but groups are one of Facebook’s stickiest features. They’re becoming a great way to foster community.
TL; DR: Facebook is still worthwhile, but the algorithm disfavours organic brand content and truly forces a paid strategy. Ad dollars are essential to get reach, site traffic and conversions. If you take nothing else about how to approach Facebook in 2022, put ad dollars behind your posts!
Instagram Marketing Strategy
Instagram continues to be the shining star in Meta’s Family of Apps. It’s the second most successful platform overall considering number of active users, estimated to be 1.1 billion as of 2021.
In case you missed it: When it comes to social media trends and strategy, Instagram Stories are crucial. With the new “link stickers,” the format inspires site traffic better than in-feed posts asking to navigate to the link in bio. Additionally, Instagram’s latest update allows users to like Stories directly. While garnering engagement this way may not be the end goal, it does allow brands to analyze what types of content connect with the audience
What’s working—sleek visuals: Quality, eye-catching imagery or videos are essential to garner attention. People are searching for visual experiences. Make this your focus and pair it with shorty, catchy captions to complement it. 1-50 characters drives more interactions, statistically speaking. That said, using a visual as a teaser to a longer post (up to 2,200 characters) works in the right circumstances, unveiling really actionable intel or compelling details
What’s working—influencer marketing: Finding the right creators with the right audience and content approach takes time. But, Instagram influencer activations and brand ambassador programs can truly move the needle. Establishing terms of the agreement allowing use of influencer video, images and content on the brand account and for paid promotion is key. After all, consumers trust individual recommendations over brand promotions and they’re increasingly making immediate purchases on influencer posts via affiliate marketing links
What to try—cross-posting: While not a new concept, marketers need to adopt cross-posting on Instagram in particular. Take advantage, especially, of the opportunity to re-share any brand or influencer TikTok videos (with permissions) on Instagram given the simplicity of posting long-form videos with the Instagram Reels integration
2022 and Beyond
If there’s one thing we know about digital media, it’s that it’s always changing. Focus on how you can use social media trends and updates to improve your strategy in the present. Because a new wave of the internet and social media is just around the corner as all platforms vie to stay relevant and compete for users’ time.
This article was initially published by our sister company SHIFT Communications on SHIFT Insights.
——— Lisa Zanchi is the Director, Digital Marketing at SHIFT Communications, sister company of NATIONAL Public Relations