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12 minute read

Ask the experts; content and social media predictions for 2022

From what 2021 trends are here to stay, key channels to watch, and essential tools for 2022, we've collated the best marketing predictions for 2022

Blog Post Author – Kirsty
Kirsty
5th November 2021

We don’t have a crystal ball, nor are we hiding a sneaky time machine somewhere in ContentCal HQ. But we do have some pretty intelligent contacts that we’ve persuaded to make some intelligent guesses about the future of social media content marketing.

From what 2021 trends are here to stay, key channels to watch, essential tools for your toolkit, and things to keep in mind when content planning for the next year, we’ve got all the best advice you need to kickstart your 2022 strategy.

Let’s meet the experts...

  • Andy Lambert - ContentCal Co-Founder + Director of Growth
  • Luan Wise - Marketing Consultant + Social Media Trainer
  • Russell O'Sullivan - Managing Director at Digital Thrive
  • Rob John - Managing Director at The Content Marketing Association
  • Matt Navarra - Social Media Consultant + Industry Commentator

Short on time? Skip to the summary at the end to get the key points from all experts

Andy Lambert - ContentCal Co-Founder + Director of Growth

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Yes, the creator economy and the monetization of an audience, and social commerce

NFT's (Non-Fungible Tokens) will begin to play a part in community building, retention, and value creation.

Which channels will dominate in 2022 and why?

TikTok (of course) and Reddit will continue their growth trajectory. The existing preferred platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn) whilst not growing as fast, will still have the majority of monthly active users, so will still dominate.

What’s one piece of social media/content advice would you give to help someone prepare for 2022?

Take the time to ensure you have a documented content strategy for 2022 that aligns with your business goals. Content marketing activity should support key business metrics (like growing brand awareness). As such, measuring what matters (not just measuring everything for the sake of it) will become increasingly important. Also, take the time to think about collaborations. Social media is becoming more about working together, whether that's in UGC campaigns or in the co-creation of content. Find people that help support your mission, have applicable audiences, and create a plan to work together.

What tools and technologies will be critical for social media and content marketers in 2022?

A content plan sits at the heart of everything, so whether you use Excel, Trello, or a tool like ContentCal, making a plan and tracking it is so important. Tools to help you to find others to work with will be critical too, like TikTok's creator marketplace. As always, having the right reporting tool will help save loads of time and help you learn from your results. I put huge value on that.

Luan Wise - Marketing Consultant + Social Media Trainer

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Short video and audio

More live content - especially as we return to face-to-face events and meeting up with people. For example, we may see more interviews, fireside chats (less webinar-like content!)

Which channels will dominate in 2022 and why?

I think we'll see more businesses on TikTok

What’s one piece of social media/content advice would you give to help someone prepare for 2022?

Engage your colleagues in providing content to help promote your business, and then get them to share it. Employee advocacy is key; a marketer cannot do everything alone.

What tools and technologies will be critical for social media and content marketers in 2022?

Objectives to keep focus, a framework that allows you to be both planned and agile, and apps to produce high-quality content quickly and easily.

Russell O'Sullivan - Managing Director at Digital Thrive

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I think TikTok will remain as one of the main platforms and grow further across different age groups. Instagram will release new features and take more market share as the go-to platform for social media. Instagram Stories will remain high and the use of Stories on Facebook will overtake those posting anything to their standard timeline.

For Content Marketing, there will be a much stronger focus from brands on evergreen content that is engaging and longer form. We know that users can have a short attention span when it comes to reading information, but I believe brands will change from shorter form information/news to longer-form articles that answer more questions and address pain points.

For Social Media, I think Facebook will lose out again in 2022 with people leaving the platform in droves as they have become weary of using it. Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok will be the bigger winners.

Which channels will dominate in 2022 and why?

If you mean general marketing, then social media will keep a strong pull for both users and advertisers alike - although, with advertisers, they will need to be more disruptive for their ads to cut through the noise.

What’s one piece of social media/content advice would you give to help someone prepare for 2022?

Understand your audience; who they are, where they are, and when are they consuming content? What do they like, and more importantly, what do they not like? When developing content, think about the end-user and don’t just see it as a way to plug your product or service. Focus more on the user benefit.

When it comes to social media, keep your focus on the channels that your audience is using and the platforms that give you the best ROI. Continually review your analytics over and over, to see what’s working and what’s not - double up and dial down.

What tools and technologies will be critical for social media and content marketers in 2022?

Social media scheduling platforms that are designed for your needs - not ones that you have to spend loads of time figuring out and maintaining. A one-stop shop doesn't need to be the biggest platform on the market but can save you loads of time and resources.

If creating visual content or writing at scale is a particular issue for your business, then research using artificial intelligence platforms to create for you and then tailor it to your tone of voice. One piece of advice I strongly recommend is to understand your analytics and performance - it has to be quality over quantity at ALL costs.

Rob John - Managing Director at The Content Marketing Association

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We're firmly in the age of second-screen multitasking, and on more than one occasion I’ve found myself choosing to engage with content on my mobile device rather than watching regular TV. This is something that rarely happened to me ten years ago, and makes me think our second screen habits are building the potential to become our main source of entertainment.

This would see more people actively looking to engage with shorter form, easier to consume, video-led content like Reels & TikTok, branded content videos on YouTube, and reading features from our favourite brands.

You may read this and say “oh not another one” and I understand they are not new - but podcasts!  I really think there’s so much success to be found here. Even now, I’m constantly finding new podcasts, even some that are 105 episodes in! Saying there are too many podcasts is like saying there are too many books or too many films. If done well, a podcast is an incredible way to connect with your audience, especially in a niche industry sector. The entry barrier is so attractive for podcasting, especially when you look at the technology available, coupled with our low expectation for award-winning audio thanks to living on Zoom calls for the last 18 months, there’s never been a better time to get into podcasting.

Which channels will dominate in 2022 and why?

I’d like to see YouTube up there, being talked about more. I don’t think it can compete on a level with Instagram or TikTok - but I also don’t think it has to! Producing a quality video takes time, and I believe people will go there to find ‘better’, more fulfilling content than Instagram/TikTok. I’m sure TikTok will continue to rise, and its FYP (for you page) is incredible for keeping people entertained, but I think the continued rise of smart TVs and the quality of content found on YouTube will shine through!

What’s one piece of social media/content advice would you give to help someone prepare for 2022?

Perseverance. I predict that the next 12-18 months are going to be pretty unpredictable!  The last 18 months had challenges (a lot of challenges) but we knew where our audience would be (at home). Now, there’s a real mix of when and where people will be consuming their content. We know that content marketing is a long-term strategy, but with the unpredictability of the next 12-18 months, I’d get ready to persevere with your plans whilst looking at ways of reusing or re-jigging your new and existing content to maximise its impact and reach.

What tools and technologies will be critical for social media and content marketers in 2022?

Webinar and virtual event technology. Webinars are still incredibly popular and helped the CMA reach a massive new audience from across the world. We’ve connected with these people; that relationship can’t just end when the world gets ‘back to normal’. We’ll need an even better webinar experience, a hybrid that satisfies those in the room and those watching from another country. We've all been to great in-person events, and we got used to running strong virtual events… now we need to master hybrid events!

Matt Navarra - Social Media Consultant + Industry Commentator

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Social commerce was one of the biggest buzzwords in social in 2021 which was partly driven by the global pandemic, amongst other factors. Nearly all of the major platforms rolled out significant new shopping features to help brands and creators create a seamless native shopping experience. In 2022, social media users will increasingly discover more products and services they can purchase as they tap or scroll through their feeds. Brands will quickly learn which products and shopping formats work best with their customer base, and the platforms will launch further enhancements and new features to help businesses drive sales through both organic and paid social tactics.

I also expect to see a lot more live stream shopping events on Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest in particular which is a trend that has already exploded in Asia in recent years.

Avatars and virtual personas will become an increasingly important feature of social platforms in 2022, and beyond. Social media users, particularly Gen-Z, will want new ways to customize their online persona beyond simple avatar images. Much like we see in games such as Roblox and Fortnite, social media users will want to create their own unique identity online, which can be carried with them across multiple platforms as the path to the metaverse becomes clearer and better understood.

NFTs are likely to become more useful and relevant as a key piece of the digital infrastructure that makes all of this possible. This trend will become more prominent in 2022, but mainstream understanding and adoption will take many years.

Which channels will dominate in 2022 and why?

TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest are best placed to leverage many of the trends driving engagement on social media in 2022 particularly when it comes to social commerce (shopping) and live streaming.

Short-form video will continue to dominate social media feeds, which will help keep TikTok on top for the foreseeable future. Reels and YouTube Shorts will also benefit from this trend, but they will struggle to recreate the cultural impact and relevance that TikTok will generate.

Social audio apps such as Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse will begin to find their place in the stack of content options that brands and creators have available to them. Audio clips and soundbites will likely become more important and sharable vs. longer-form live audio events which require more of the audience’s time and attention (which will be more limited than ever).

What’s one piece of social media/content advice would you give to help someone prepare for 2022?

Spread your bets (effort) across multiple platforms in 2022. The social media landscape is shifting due to regulatory pressure, increased competition between platforms for people's attention, and the growing importance of new content formats and technologies (NFTs, Social Audio, AR/VR). Experimenting with new content formats and emerging platforms will be more important than ever before.

Want the summary?

Here’s a round-up of everything our marketing experts said in response to our questions.

  • Marketers will continue to look for more ways to monetize their content
  • Social commerce will continue into 2022, with continued prominence on Instagram
  • More TikTok growth, especially as more and more businesses begin to get involved
  • For Instagram Stories to remain popular + Facebook Stories to become more popular
  • The creation of more short video and audio for Reels and TikToks
  • An increase in second-screen multitasking; so use content marketing wisely
  • NFT's (Non-Fungible Tokens) will play a part in community building, retention, and value creation
  • A focus on content that is more evergreen, engaging, and longer form
  • Users leaving Facebook in favor of Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok
  • More live and face to face content
  • More podcasts
  • An increase in avatars and virtual personas as a response to a desire from users to create a unique identity online

Channels that will dominate in 2022

  • More growth from TikTok and Reddit
  • Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn continue to dominate as will still have the majority of monthly active users
  • More use of TikTok for businesses
  • Youtube as a more long-form alternative to TikTok

Key advice for 2022

  • Document your content strategy for 2022 and make sure it aligns with your goals
  • Ensure your content marketing activity supports key business metrics
  • Take note of the metrics that actually matter; not just measuring everything for the sake of it
  • Collaborate more, whether it’s a UGC campaign or co-created content
  • Get a greater understanding of your audience and focus on their needs
  • Continually review your analytics over and over and over
  • Employee advocacy is key; no marketer is an island
  • Perseverance as the next 12 months could be fairly unpredictable!
  • Spread your efforts across multiple platforms in 2022 to combat the competition for attention between platforms
  • Be open to experimenting with new content formats and emerging platforms

Critical tools and technologies for 2022

  • Anything that you can create a content plan in and easily stick to (ContentCal, Trello, Excel, etc.)
  • Tools that help you find people to collaborate with such as TikTok’s Creator Marketplace
  • A great reporting tool such as ContentCal Analytics (or ContentCal’s Advanced Analytics) is essential
  • AI platforms that can create visual content on your behalf will save you time while maintaining high-quality content
  • Technology specifically designed for webinar hosting such as Demio or Crowdcast

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