5 social media trends for small businesses to be aware of in 2022

I am pretty sure that 2022 marks ten years since I set up my Instagram account. I had an Android phone and has desperately waited for it to become available so I could start posting my own filtered squares. Oh, how far social media has come since then. If you told me I would now have a career in social media and that I would have my own business, 17 year old me would never have believed you!

Even in the past few years, the social media landscape has changed dramatically. When TikTok blasted onto the scene, you could feel Instagram quaking in their boots and it was unsurprising when Adam Mosseri announced the launch of Reels in 2020.

The pandemic has also drastically shaped how we interact with social media. For several months, it was all the connection we had with the outside world, relying on it to keep us entertained, informed and connected with friends and family. For many small businesses, it became a lifeline and a way to reach customers. I don’t think I have ever seen as much of a ‘shop small’ boom as I did in 2020.

Social media trends for 2022

If 2021 was the year that Instagram announced its shift to video and released a thousand updates, what does 2022 have in store? In this blog post, I share five trends I believe that small businesses need to be aware of in 2022.

Social media trend #1: Community is king

For me, social media has always been about creating a community of people who are united by similar values. Small businesses are often nurturing communities themselves (even if they don’t know it!) They also play a role in the community, be it on a nationwide scale or simply in a specific region. Founder of Not on the High Street, Holly Tucker (@holllytucker) is an amazing example of creating a community on social. Her whole brand is built on inspiring small business owners to turn their passion into profit and she has grown a loyal, highly engaged following. Not to mention a successful business! She links online and offline seamlessly with shareable graphics and window stickers that make all small business owners feel like part of something bigger. I also think creators and influencers are going to become a key part of helping businesses to build these communities.

Earlier this year, Facebook also released new updates to Groups to make them easier to discover and easier to manage, so I think that going into 2022, we are going to see much more of this move to unite a community using social media.

Social media trend #2: Video content becomes cornerstone

Remember when Adam Mosseri broke the internet back in June when he announced Instagram was leaning into video? Cue a TONNE of misinformation about how they were now a video platform. User data shows that audiences ENJOY video. Remember that one of the best currencies Instagram has is how long you spend on the app, and how long do you fall down a Reels hole watching cute dog videos? I rest my case.

Like it or not, video is here to stay and I believe it is going to become cornerstone content to so many strategies as we go into 2022. So many small businesses have adapted to it effectively to use it to add personality to their brand. @oh.my.cakery is a great example of this. Her Reels/TikToks range from showing off her latest cake creation to being a comedy genius. You don’t have to be funny to use video – Behind the scenes content, time-lapses of essential aspects of your business and stop motion videos are all great ways to make this medium work for you.

Social media trend #3: Story is AS important AS STRATEGY

I think more brands and businesses are starting to see social media as another medium to tell a story and I am here for it! This is particularly for small and independent businesses that all have their own story. Having a social media strategy is really important because it brings structure to your content, but I believe that it is going to become as important as strategy. Audiences want to see people, they want to relate to the businesses they interact with and buy from human beings. Your story is what makes you unique and sharing it with your audience. To take it up a level, make the story about your customers and how you can help them. This is going to be a gamechanger when it comes to connecting with your audience on an emotional level and persuading them that you are the best business to buy from.

Read more from me about story-led social media in this blog post.

Social media trend #4: Increase in social commerce

The pandemic paved the way for thousands of businesses to start selling from home and social media made it easier for them to do this. Facebook and Instagram recognised this and improved the native shopping experience in-app so customers could purchase products without ever leaving social media. Instagram rolled out Shoppable Stories and Facebook released several updates to help business owners sell through the platform.

There is certainly going to be a rise in social commerce and small businesses need to be prepared to leverage it to reach users wherever they are prepared to buy. That’s not to say abandon your website completely though – If Instagram going down has taught you anything, it’s that you also need to invest in other channels. But I’ll save that for another discussion.

Social media trend #5: Focus on digital wellbeing

The past few years has been a lot to handle. The world has quite literally been turned upside down and I think that this has sparked some really important conversations about the links between social media and mental health. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I often use scrolling through Instagram as a (very unhealthy) way to distract myself from my own whirring mind. Instagram’s introduction of a ‘Take A Break’ feature is very welcomed by many, as well as making it easier for users to filter out offensive comments, sensitive content and trolling. It follows questioning by US lawmakers about the impact of the app on teenagers’ mental health.

Going into 2022, I think we will see more focus on creating a positive relationship with social media. I hope that this will empower more small businesses to feel like it is possible to have a healthy relationship with social media and that it is okay to take a break when you need to. After all, we are all human!

What social media trends do you think we will see in 2022?

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