If 2021 demonstrated anything, it was that a lot can happen in a year.
Over the last year, social media has had a greater impact on trends, industries, and even markets. As the effect of social media continues to grow, social media managers have expanded their jobs in new and inventive ways. People across enterprises understand that the role is about more than just drafting and scheduling—it’s shaping internet culture.
Running a brand account requires tenacity, tough skin, and limitless inventiveness, not to mention a tremendous amount of foresight. Understanding which trends will work best for your audience, brand, and legal team is both art and science. On some days, you feel as if you need a crystal ball.
So, who better to forecast the future of social media marketing than the individuals behind the profiles? As a result, we questioned SMMs from various industries about what they believe the future holds for social media as an industry and as a job.
Here are their predictions for what the future of social media marketing will look like in 2022.
1. More senior-level marketing positions will require social media skills.
As the realm of social media expands, it becomes increasingly complex. Sarah Chapman, Digital Strategy Director at CareSource, says that managing these changes has made social media managers ready for senior leadership roles.
To retain brand relevance, social media managers have had to examine trends in real-time throughout the last year. This has provided many with the necessary leverage to break down marketing silos and join conversations across their larger enterprises. As the role evolves, it’s possible that the next generation of CMOs will come from social media teams.
2. One-person social teams will become obsolete.
Will 2022 be the year we say good-bye to job postings that expect SMMs to do everything and then some? Saad Khan, Senior Social Lead at Shopify, believes this is possible.
“Social teams will grow in size as the success and promise of society becomes more apparent to organizations,” Khan predicts. “There will very certainly be realizations that one-person social teams are not sustainable and that you need a team of committed craft professionals—ideally resulting in a lot more specific careers and growth prospects.”
Courtney Gagné, Progress’s Inclusion and Diversity Program Manager and former Senior Social Media Specialist, agreed. “Organisations will require a fully staffed social team with the resources to back them up for a social strategy to be effective, or they will miss out on a lot of potential for their business.”
Social workers can help push this transition within their businesses by encouraging senior management to reconsider jobs that have traditionally been viewed as “teams of one.” Preparing a sample social media org chart will demonstrate what can be accomplished with additional resources, thereby getting their wheels spinning in the correct direction.
3. More companies will hire for jobs in social services and community management.
Almost one in every two organizations expects social media to become their principal external communication channel within the next three years. Mini Media Marketing social media strategist Codi Dantu-Johnson thinks that businesses will start hiring more customer-focused social media workers because of this change in the way people communicate with businesses on social media.
“Digital has truly taken over since the commencement of the pandemic,” Dantu-Johnson says. People are spending more time on social media, engaging with the companies they care about. “I believe that in 2022, businesses will focus on building strong social media support teams and community management teams to engage with fans and customers.”
4. Your audience will be the center of attention.
Engagement will have to go beyond liking posts and reacting to comments in 2022. Your audience wants the microphone, and Briana Rabiola, Social Media Manager at the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiologists, believes that giving it to them can help them make meaningful relationships.
“There will be a lot more opportunities for consumer collaboration in the coming year,” says Rabiola. User-generated content will continue to grow in importance, playing a bigger part in overall marketing strategy and campaign development. “Audiences will become a part of the brand’s image and voice.”
Rabiola stated that TikTok-driven content trends encouraged him to make this prediction. While the network did not develop user-generated content, it did redesign it, and the effects are being seen across the social media ecosystem.
5. They will be the ones to set the trends.
Previously, trends were set by a few and followed by the majority. Ordinary individuals are now initiating key events in online culture, and it is up to corporations to keep up. Both Dantu-Johnson and Khan agree that staying current would require spending more time online getting to know your target demographic.
Dantu-Johnson suggests allocating time for research to do this.
“Devote some time to learning about human behavior.” This is not a simple task. It necessitates a thorough understanding of purchasing habits, culture, and society. What is put on a business account is carefully considered. “
When it comes to researching your target demographic, your personal social feed will be your most valuable resource. “The best place to learn about social media is on social,” Khan explains. Observe what prominent brands do, but more importantly, observe what other humans do. “Take notice of how individuals connect with one another and keep an eye out for current conversations, linguistic patterns, and other sorts of creative content.”
6. You’ll be an expert in remote content creation.
Remote and hybrid employment have upended traditional content formats, particularly when it comes to company branding. We’ll have to come up with new ideas and try new things in 2022, says UN Women’s social media lead Anu Hautalampi.
“Long-term lockdown tiredness makes it difficult for social teams to nourish and grow their collective creativity,” Hautalampi explains. For a long time, creating in-person content like social videos required ripping it from a Zoom recording. Because of these constraints, many people have become rusty when it comes to content development. This can be a time to review your social approach and return to work with a fresh perspective.”
The switch to remote video creation has been difficult, but it has also inspired social media experts to think creatively. Next year, social teams will reassemble and learn how to develop even more original visual material to stand out in feeds.
7. Vertical video material will become commonplace.
When it comes to TikTok trends, the network has also generated another new standard. According to Kevin Vicker, Social Media and Online Reputation Specialist at Children’s Hospital of Colorado, vertical video will become the normal format in 2022.
“It’s more difficult when videos are created for various mediums rather than simply social media,” adds Vicker. “There is a lot of archival film in 16:9, but all of the big social media networks are shifting toward vertical video as the norm.” Sharing horizontal video footage on social media will become more and more out of date. “
8. All in-person marketing activities will be designed with virality in mind.
In October, Londoners took to social media to talk about anything interesting they saw on their morning commute.
Soon after internet conversations began, people discovered that this man wasn’t genuinely atoning for any romantic crime. He was part of a marketing campaign for Thursday, a new dating app. On a $35 budget, this stunt, along with a few others, doubled the app’s weekly downloads. According to John Thornton, Social Media Manager at Innocent Drinks, more antics like these will be seen in the new year and beyond.
“Companies like Thursday are demonstrating that you don’t need to spend millions on billboards,” Thorton argues. You can buy one good in-person activation and let socials take care of the rest. I expect to see a lot more Thursday-style stunts—IRL marketing designed solely to go viral on social media. “
9. Creators and influencers will have to differentiate themselves.
Influencers and content providers are here to stay. If anything, more will climb to prominence. Social Content Coordinator at Twitter Danielle Trevino thinks that more people will want to be unique because the market is getting more and more crowded.
Trevino predicts that in 2022, social media influencers will have to work a lot harder to differentiate themselves from the herd.
“As social media platforms grow even more user-saturated, standing out as a creator will require a lot more effort.”
These developments will have an impact on brands as well. Previously, creative collaborations were all about casting a wide net. Brands will now shift their attention away from reach and toward innovation and brand alignment in order to effectively incorporate creators into their content strategy.
Cheers to the future of social media marketing!
Whatever the future holds for social media marketers, one thing is certain: the future is bright. There are more opportunities for creativity, innovation, and job advancement now than ever before. Now is the time to assert your authority and seize the opportunity.
If you need any assistance along the way, have a look at our collection of free social media templates and tools. Inside, you’ll find resources to help you lean into a new world of marketing opportunities made possible by social media.