9 Breakout Social Media Content Trends in 2022 (And Some Time-Tested Ones too!)

Is your brand stuck at measuring likes on Facebook posts and followers on Instagram?

Organic reach on both platforms is declining as people start following more pages intensifying competition in their news feeds.

Lately, social media platforms are finetuning their algorithms to serve content in the most relevant way to their users.

What this means basically for you as a brand is that it’s all the more to craft a social media strategy centered on creating compelling and relevant content.

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Why you need to choose the right combo of content to win at social media

A multi-pronged approach to your social media content strategy can help engage a wide section of the audience compared to capturing the attention of merely one section and help achieve multiple business goals at once.

In a phone-first world, attention is at a premium, and competition is fierce. Although the fact remains, 70% of online customers prefer learning about a new service or product through content over advertising.

Developing a social media strategy that fills all three content types, namely – Video, Audio, Textual – is a brilliant way to maximize the return on your content-building efforts and expand your brand’s reach across audience segments. It can help you achieve specific end goals, for example to increase your eCommerce subscriptions through interactive social posts.

If you concentrate on one type of content bucket, chances are people might miss it as they only have so much time to consume stories. That’s why you need to deploy a project that targets your audience across a broad cross-section of platforms.

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Top Social Media Content Trends for 2022 and Beyond

Video

1. TikTok:

What is it?

If you feel ancient while signing up for this app, chances are you’re not Gen Z.

This decade’s coming-of-age generation’s latest app of choice – TikTok – has been around for a hot minute since the beginning of 2018. A slew of new artists such as Lil Nas X, Doja Cat, and Tesher have seen their music skyrocket on Billboard charts, all thanks to it.

Look at a Google Trends snapshot below for a surge in searches for ‘Tesher’ who uploaded his first video seven years ago but didn’t become famous until TikTok creators picked up his song.

How does it work?

Kids and teens figured out TikTok eons ago. However, it still manages to perplex anyone over the age of nineteen. Let me give you the lowdown on how it works.

In a way, it’s a version of Instagram or Snapchat stories with short-form videos of length anywhere between five seconds to a minute. Creators have an entire carousel of effects and filters at their disposal, and a generous audio library full of songs and effects. Live streaming is another useful feature for those of you with an existing community on TikTok.

Pros

The app design facilitates fast consumption of videos, and if you’ve used TikTok before, you would know it’s an endless spiral of scrolling to the depths of the earth.

Most of the audience is not there for sleek and professionally edited content. For brands, this essentially means pushing out organic or paid content requiring minimal effort but high on entertainment quotient.

The recently launched ‘Tiktok for Business’ offers marketing solutions to brands of all sizes – small-sized businesses to mega corporates – designed to engage new audiences and amplify their message meaningfully.

Additionally, it doesn’t require a long-term strategy because TikTok trends have a lifespan of 3-5 days. They blow up every so often out of nowhere and die down as quickly.

As a brand, you’d benefit from crafting a nimble content strategy to immediately adapt to fresh trends. If you have a budget, there are many paid formats to explore such as brand-takeovers, in-feed videos, sponsored hashtags, etc.

Cons

Tracking metrics in TikTok are slightly tricky to track. The number of followers and likes is mostly vanity metrics because of how the app’s algorithm works. Social media commentators continue to debate about the veracity of TikTok’s numbers.

When you open the app, you’re shown things it thinks you’d like, unlike Instagram or Facebook where you choose whom to follow.

In the recent past, many creators have gained millions of followers within a week or even 24 hours, which gives you a rough idea of the power of TikTok’s hyper-personalized frictionless ‘Discover’ page. If you’re trying to build your brand’s community organically, remember that it might take you a while!

2. Instagram Reels

What is it?

Launched in August 2020, Instagram Reels is the newest kid on the block and is directly competing with TikTok.

If you were just learning to scale TikTok for your brand, meet Reels. It works best for brands born on Instagram and provides another way to engage community members with short-form content within the same platform.

In reality, many major brands were already ready for the launch of Reels and created their first one in the first few days leading the charge. Here’s one example from Walmart’s Instagram page.

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How does it work?

Instagram Reels allows users to create short 15-second videos with audio effects, filters, and transitions similar to TikTok. Along with generating Instagram post ideas, companies think of catchy and appealing Reels ideas to boost their views, reaches and engagement. Moreover, users can scroll through videos endlessly in the same way and engage by commenting, liking, and following. With the right social media management, companies can successfully leverage Instagram Reels and boost engagement.

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Pros

Functional similarity with TikTok allows brands to cross-post TikTok content to Instagram Reels, which means you don’t need to start from scratch and shoot fresh content!

By helping you capture a new audience (people who would be typically TikTok users) and re-engage existing communities in a new way – Reels offers you a two-pronged benefit.

Cons

A newborn feature – we still don’t know what the adoption rate for Reels will be given how saturated Instagram is with various features.

There are regular posts in your primary feed combined with stories, IGTV, ‘Explore’ page, and add Reels to it – this could spell a hot mess in the making or maybe not (?).

3. Live Streaming

What is it?

Everyone’s doing it. Your neighbor, your neighbor’s cat, and even their unborn fetus. With the pandemic, live streaming has hit mainstream, offering people a way to connect while physical distancing measures are in place.

Many widely used platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram offer a way to livestream to your followers from the comfort of a home.

How does it work?

Facebook and YouTube allow you to schedule livestream days and even weeks in advance. This is ideal if your brand’s community is spread globally across time-zones and gives followers a heads-up to build their schedule around it.

All you need is a smartphone camera and a good mic to perform a basic live session. For more sophisticated needs like product launches, you might need to deploy some software to facilitate a smooth experience.

Interviews, Q&A sessions, product demonstrations, stunts, tutorials – all are great ideas for scaling live streaming for your brand’s content strategy.

Pros

It is inexpensive and easy-to-use irrespective of your experience with any platform. Live streaming is an intimate and personal way to engage your community in real-time, giving them an opportunity to ask questions, show support, and also go live with you on your channel.

On Instagram, your followers are notified right away. Comments and hearts are overlaid on the live session in the mobile view. Lastly, creators and brands can save the live session for later viewing of those who couldn’t join in real-time.

You can turn Facebook posts and Instagram live into a lead-generating machine by sharing a link in the comments to let viewers access any asset displayed on-screen like forms, slides, documents, etc.

Cons

Live streaming events or anything that requires a high-production value and the presence of notable personalities can stretch your budget to a limit.

The long-term value of livestreaming for brands has not been established yet. In comparison, it works better for influencers and people striving to build a personal brand than say, corporate brands.

4. Virtual Reality Shots

What is it?

Otherwise known as VR, Virtual Reality is an artificially created 3D world that puts a person right in the middle of the action. All they need is a VR-capable headset.

Many brands are seeing increased engagement with the launch of interactive VR videos. Car companies can offer VR test drives that could help create massive anticipation in the run-up to the launch.

How does it work?

You need to use a 360-VR camera to shoot incredible-looking content and share them on social platforms. Many of them have been supporting VR content for a long time now, for example, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

Viewers may need a full-fledged VR headset or a cardboard-based smartphone VR headsets to consume the content.

Pros

With VR videos, your brand can deliver a first-person perspective to a person about what it’s like to experience your product or service. Its unique delivery has the power to make the person feel special and therefore, more intimately connected to your brand.

Cons

While VR has been around for a while now, high-production value and low availability of VR headsets (many models are sold-out for months) have slowed down the adoption rate of this content format.

5. Social Commentary Videos

What is it?

Born on YouTube, social commentary channels have flooded our feeds across genres. They could go as wide on topics as providing commentary on music to as niche as ‘internet memes’.

PewDiePie built his entire career on delivering social commentary on all things under the sun.

Basically, these are videos where one person or a panel engages in a conversation a la sports commentary-style about various social ideas and issues.

How does it work?

It is quite simple! Choose a trending topic like a meme or a TV Show, invite an expert as a guest, and make a video.

You can choose to finely dissect the ending of the latest season of a TV show like Stranger Things or discuss something as specific like the ‘cool-girl’ trope in Gone Girl.

Pros

Social commentary videos help you build a stronger value-driven brand identity and is best thought of as a long-term brand building strategy.

It has the power to position your brand as a subject matter industry expert and attract highly engaged users who are interested in more than just the superficial elements of your brand.

Cons

Getting a good host and strict quality control is key to success here. Less than excellent execution of such a video concept can potentially be damaging to your brand.

What does this mean? It means you need to fact-check what you say twice or thrice over, shine a diversity and inclusion lens on the script, and ensure the final product aligns with your brand’s values.

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Audio

6. Podcasts

What is it?

Podcasts are episodic series of audio content that can be streamed or downloaded. Similar to social commentary videos, a podcast usually has a host engaged in a discussion with a guest or by themselves about a topic or a current event.

With a history that goes back to the noughties, podcasts have only recently gone mainstream.

How does it work?

Spotify has made streaming podcasts so convenient that literally every brand worth its salt has jumped on the bandwagon to create one. They can be fun and an extension of your brand community. Apps such as Anchor.fm and Soundtrap by Spotify are two well-known podcast creator platforms.

All you need is a soundproof room (your closet is perfect for this!), some fantastic recording equipment, some podcast marketing tactics, and a subscription to a podcast hosting platform.

Drive people back to your brand’s website by creating a well-optimized landing page that lists all the previous episodes of your podcast. For example, if you have an educational podcast you can integrate it with your product (the online course) and create a landing page for both together.

If you don’t want to do the whole shebang by producing your own, there are plenty of creators out there looking for sponsorships for content that could align well with your brand values.

Pros

Listened to by high-rollers and high-school grads alike, podcasts provide a convenient way to consume audio content that’s not music.

For people on-the-go who spend hours behind a monitor, listening to a podcast offers their eyes some respite.

For instance, Shopify produced a podcast series called TGIM (Thank God It’s Monday) inviting ambitious and successful entrepreneurs to share their stories of success (or failures). The long-term objective was to capture a new audience of ambitious entrepreneurs early on in their careers and hopefully steward them into choosing Shopify as their platform of choice later on.

Cons

Podcast production necessitates learning deeply about your audience. Are they young, tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, etc.? Do they listen to podcasts? What kind of content do they prefer?

The podcast space is saturated and brimming over with new releases every day. You might need to put extra effort into promoting your podcast to gain more listeners than relying on doing so organically.

Writing and Images

7. Longform Posts, Blogs, Articles, Guides, and more

What is it?

In existence since the dawn of the internet, blogs and articles continue to be a proven way to attract new audiences and build a brand community. It’s easier to write an engaging article than ever. “Longform written content helps establish your brand’s credibility in that area along with demonstrating your brand’s knowledge and expertise.” according to Joey Sasson, Vice President of Sales & Logistics at Moving APT.

How does it work?

Longform written content goes beyond running a WordPress blog. Comprehensive guides, step-by-step tutorials, product reviews, op-eds – are all part of a defined strategy that leverages value-added written content for social media platforms.

If you don’t have one already, you need to opt for a speedy and reliable blog hosting site out of many out there to get the most out of your writing venture.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram captions are perfect for these types of content. Instagram has a generous 2200-character limit which makes it best for posting short blogs and pushing it right in people’s feed where they can see it.

Pros

Written content has a longer shelf-life on the internet because it’s easier for an audience to discover it on search engines using a simple keyword search.

Longform written content helps establish your brand’s credibility in that area along with demonstrating your brand’s knowledge and expertise.

Because existing platforms can be leveraged to promote long-form content, you don’t need to allocate additional resources to invest in a new platform or put more staff hours into learning one.

Cons

Like I have mentioned before, this space is overly saturated with lots of competition, especially nowadays when every blogger under the sun has access to at least one, if not several AI writing assistants. Writing also takes a lot of investment in terms of time and commitment to generate and manage content. Since it lives on so many different platforms, a content scheduler is a must to keep you on track.

8. eBooks

What is it?

An eBook is a longer and more detailed version of digital written content like articles and is likely to be ignored by brands as a community-building tool.

How does it work?

Small to medium-sized businesses can make use of countless eBook creating and self-publishing tools available online in both paid and free versions to create one.

You need to choose a topic to write an eBook on, for example, ’10 Best SEO Strategies That Worked for Me’. Create an outline that breaks down each section into chapters. Write each chapter by incorporating case studies, quotes, and data-driven infographics. Design aesthetics like the book cover and publish. There, you are an eBook author now.

Pros

eBooks have been time-tested by brands and individuals alike as lead-generating machines that can significantly produce a greater number of high-value leads.

Owing to the fact that more investment of time and effort is required to produce one, you can avoid heavy competition compared to other content formats.

Cons

Not all eBooks are created alike. Some are sold on Amazon while the rest languish as free ones on a brand’s website under the Blog section. Your eBook might be difficult to discover for a new audience unless you pitch it front and center on the homepage

For brands that have access to a treasure trove of industry knowledge, for instance, agencies, SaaS companies, it is certainly painless to research content ideas. However, for small and medium-sized companies, it can be quite resource-intensive to figure out what might appeal to their audience.

9. Infographics

What is it?

Infographics are static illustrated data visualization that helps one understand complex concepts, statistics, and any other concept.

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How does it work?

You can choose out of the many infographic tools available online to create one with one such example from Visme shown above.

A few of the basic steps involved are – choosing a template, customizing it with text, data points, stats, colors, brand’s logo, etc. and voila! Your infographic is ready to be downloaded and shared.

Sounds cool, right?

What’s more, is that none of this requires expert-level graphic designing experience. Most of these editors are drag and drop ones that allow you to easily modify templates by adding content blocks and text.

Pros

Catchy and easy-to-consume, infographics have grown to be an impactful medium of sharing complicated concepts and bringing them to a wider audience. Additionally, you can turn the infographic into an animated video to enable cross-platform sharing.

Moreover, you can break down these infographics in a series of images cropped in a 1:1 tile format for easier sharing on Instagram like this one that illustrates data to help you find the best pooch!

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Cons

While producing one is fairly easy, it does demand a level of creativity and research into determining what kind of stats you would like to talk about.

You also need someone to write appealing and engaging copy to draw people in and create customized graphics especially if the infographic tool used by you doesn’t offer what you’re looking for. If you don’t have enough time for this, you can hire a virtual assistant who can do the research for your content and create the graphics.

Adapt to the Change in Consumption Patterns

People’s content consumption patterns are ever-changing as new platforms and features are released every year. To engage your brand’s community continuously, it pays to focus on building a multi-faceted content strategy that focuses on capturing all types of target groups – from Boomers to Millennials to Gen Z.

Learn to take advantage by staying on top of future releases and updates as most platforms will tease a new one somewhat in advance. Over time you’ll learn which platform works best to grow your brand and resonates with your audience.

Author Bio: 

 

Name: Zoe Devitto

Zoe is a content marketing strategist for SaaS brands like FollowUpBoss, Mention.com and more. On the personal front, Zoe is a pho enthusiast and loves traveling around the world as a digital nomad.

 

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