On a grey day in January, when it’s feeling pretty cold (in the UK anyway) and our resolutions might have slipped into the ‘maybe next year’s pile, I’m here to invigorate your inspiration for your social campaigns. It can be hard to remain inspired when joy is in short supply, so let’s go back to basics and find inspiration in the social media marketing trends for 2022.
1. Ethical Marketing
Less of a trend and more about exercising your values through your comms output, ethical marketing is hallmarked on its honesty and usually its commitment to a cause. Take shoe brand TOMS, for example; their growth plan was built around marketing the fact that for pair of their shoes that were bought, they would donate a pair to those in need. They didn’t focus their marketing on the style of the product, nor on their demographic. Neither did they develop their product line until late in their life cycle; they simply saturated the market with their message about donating shoes.
As a society, we’re starting to expect more from our brands, as we shop more ethically too. We expect transparency from retailers when they try to promote their own values. Take Primark for example they have recently tried to clean up their fast-fashion image by taking steps like signing the Cotton Pledge, which boycotts Uzbekistan cotton, yet they have been slow to respond or take action against the claims of them not providing a living wage to their employees.
So how can you apply this to your marketing plan in 2022? Well, it starts by asserting your own values but then importantly, acting on them. For instance, if you post something about loving your community, why not follow it up by donating supplies to your local foodbank, or helping with a homeless kitchen. Ask yourself, if you’re not willing to walk the walk, should you talk the talk?!
2. Get Immersive with Experiential Marketing
Let me start by saying that even if your business is purely online, you should still read on! Why? Well, the principles of experiential marketing are a really good exercise to take your business through for some marketing inspiration. Put simply, experiential marketing is about giving your audience, or potential customers an immersive, full sensory experience. It can work both offline and online. One example off-line that I’ve seen work recently is John Lewis, who has been heavily pushing their in-store stylist service. John Lewis is aware that the edge they have over their online competitors are their stores and staff. So while they may market the message online, their efforts are pushed towards getting you in-store, in front of a human (shocker!) and upselling you, of course. It sounds mad that nowadays it’s not the norm to go and try on clothes, have a feel of the fabric and chat to the assistants about whether it actually suits you, but with the ease of buying online, it’s something we do less and have less chance of building brand loyalty.
This concept can work online too. You don’t have to throw a major event or have a shopfront to make use of experiential marketing; with social media, you can utilise live streaming, virtual reality, gaming, and paid-for creator subscription models. A great example is Lili Nas’s concert on Roblox during lockdown which was attended 33 million times. It’s all about the experiences you can create for your audience!
3. Welcome to The Metaverse
Even if your only experience of virtual reality so far is your 10-year old punching the air with a VR headset on, virtual reality is something that we’re going to have to get used to. Why? Because one of the biggest companies in the world, Facebook (or Meta as we’re supposed to call them now) have told us to. It’s not just them, of course, but when the biggest marketing powerhouse, who own Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp tell us they’re going virtual, it’s a good idea for us to get clued up. Let’s talk about this simply: if people are starting to spend more time in an alternate universe, as a brand, you’re going to want to be the big name on their virtual high street. It’s no surprise then that companies have started to buy ‘real estate’ in these virtual worlds, and big fashion brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton have even designed virtual designer threads to kit out your avatar.
4. Influencer Marketing Hasn’t Reached Its Peak Yet
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (hey, no blame here – it sounds cosy), you’ll have come across the growth of influencer marketing; that is, leveraging the following of others accounts to promote your brand. Although 2021 was a peak year for influencer marketing, buoyed by increased screen time owing to the pandemic and increased popularity in platforms like Tik Tok, the strategy doesn’t seem to be abating for 2022, especially regarding the rise of B2B influencers. One reason to consider including it in your marketing mix, even if you haven’t previously, are the increasing number of tools that help you as a business get matched with the right influencers, and be able to report on the campaign’s efficacy alongside your other marketing efforts. You may even be able to become the influencer yourself. Platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram Reels have made it very easy to reach large possibly niche audiences who are looking for your service or product. LinkedIn, on the other hand, has introduced more and more tools for creators to leverage their influencer status.
The other day my 11-year-old created his first meme. He had only had his new phone for a week. This made me realise something – memes are a staple of Gen Z culture and are set to rise in popularity even more. What is a meme, I hear you say? Memes are “an idea, behaviour, or style that spreads by means of imitation from person to person within a culture and often carries symbolic meaning representing a particular phenomenon or theme” (Thanks, Wikipedia). Remember the Bernie Sanders memes that went viral last year? Memes are a great way to inject humour into your social media communications and join trending conversations. Knowing meme, knowing you!
What trends do you predict for 2022?