Social media is expected to become bigger and better in 2022 with five major forces set to shape the landscape in 2022, according to Hootsuite’s latest Social Trends Report.

Hootsuite chief marketing officer, Maggie Lower believes as the impact of social media continues to grow and evolve, the market will continue to drop clues about what it collectively wants.

“We’re all listening and adapting at lightning speed as digital communities become more central to consumers’ lives and brands are being held to higher standards. We’re seeing social make its breakout of the marketing department as social commerce enters full swing, and opportunities arise for customer care on our favourite platforms.”

With more than 4.5 billion people now using social media, navigating the social media landscape has become more complex for brands and organisations. Hootsuite encourages businesses to dive deep into online communities to find their authentic purpose, think strategically, and take risks to defy expectations and outperform competitors.

“After turbulent times, when organisations have been forced to operate tactically, it’s now time for marketers to think strategically again. Let’s consider how to create connected online communities. Let’s champion the infinite potential of social commerce and customer care. Let’s make bold choices informed by data, vision, and purpose—and make them wonder how we did it,” Hootsuite CEO, Tom Keiser said.

The survey of over 18,000 marketers, backed by global data and insights from industry experts, customers and partners, has identified the following trends:

  1. Brands get community right (with the help of creators)

Digital communities are only becoming more central to consumers’ lives and identities—and creators are the key to unlocking them. 

“Communities are at the heart of a successful social strategy, and content creators have built networks where their visibility and sway are truly powerful,” Hootsuite head of social media marketing, Amanda Wood said.

2. Marketers get creative as consumers wise up to social ads

Consumers are holding brands to higher standards when it comes to creativity in social advertising (and rewarding those that get it right).

“No one wants their time online interrupted by brands that haven’t put much effort into their ads. Consumers are far more receptive to the brands on social that have this figured out,” Hootsuite head of content, Sarah Dawley said.

3. Social quietly matures out of the marketing department

Business leaders are buffing up employee advocacy programs, mastering social listening to gather consumer insights, and looking to deliver the kind of impact they’ve seen social have on their marketing—organisation-wide.

“Social is no longer a siloed subsection of the marketing department, thanks to ROI-proving tools that have become universally accessible,” Hootsuite chief revenue officer, Melissa Murray said.

4. Social becomes the heart of the shopping experience

The era of social commerce is in full swing, and the opportunity is only getting bigger. Competitive small businesses are finding a balance between social storefronts and bricks and mortar, while large brands test the outer limits of the online shopping experience.

“Social is the new interface of commerce and the backbone of the new customer experience for 2022 and far beyond,” Heyday by Hootsuite founder, Étienne Mérineau said.

5. Social marketers rescue their brands from the customer service apocalypse

Demand for customer service over social has been surging and social media managers now find themselves in an ideal position to play the hero and steer their organisations through the upheaval.

“Delivering great social customer care is going to be the best marketing your brand will everget,” Sparkcentral by Hootsuite vice president of sales, Christoph Neut said.