Love it, hate it, deny it, one fact remains the same: We humans are social creatures. Our (not so deeply) buried need for self-disclosure and companionship has led to social media becoming one of the many bare necessities of modern life. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube seem to be the new air, food and water.
This hasn’t escaped the eagle eyes of content creators and brands. Each year, fresh social media waves are rolled out to take the world by storm. But even in the spirit of the new year, it isn’t exactly “Out with the old, in with the new.” Think more along the lines of: “Reinventing the old to make new.” That said, let’s take a look at the social media trends—both well-established and newly welcome—that are here to stay for 2022.
AR & VR
To those of the mind that Facebook creator and veritable social media forefounder Mark Zuckerberg has outlasted his call to fame, think again. Last year saw Zuckerberg’s epic reinvention of his original brainchild (now named Meta), which reimagines the nature of human interaction in virtual space.
Meta heralds the revolution of AR and VR—one that will no doubt play an intriguing role in the upcoming year, both in the marketing and social scene. In fact, studies have shown that AR elements up click-through rates by more than 33%! We’re already seeing the emergence of these once niche technologies in our everyday content. IKEA’s AR app allows you to manipulate and view potential purchases against the backdrop of your actual home, and YouTuber Markiplier’s 360 Minecraft Let’s Play is but one of the many videos on the platform that uses VR tech to up their game (quite literally, in this case).
Short Form Videos
Bring on the onslaught of fresh memes and newfangled celebrities! TikTok has firmly secured its place amongst the hottest apps today, giving Facebook a run for its money by being the first non-Facebook app to garner 3 million downloads internationally. It’s a hub for really anything under the sun, and with the rise of TikTok, comes the rise of short-form video marketing.
True to its name, short-forms resemble those seconds-long clips you see strung along your TikTok feed. Why does it work? Two words: short and sweet. These videos are well within the cropped attention spans of contemporary audiences and are just as entertaining as regular content. Resort World Sentosa’s TikTok does this well, promoting E.A. Aquarium via snappy, onbeat transitions that keep you grooving along.
We could go on an endless tangent about the impact of smartphones on our generation’s media consumption, but one of the most notable changes is the ratio aspect of videos. Hollywood may be founded upon landscape framing, but TikTok and Instagram Reels have made vertical videos the new “in” thing (who knew turning your phone could be so taxing?) Expect more content, like Imagine Dragons’ Whatever It Takes music video, that are specially curated to fit snugly within your default phone screen orientation.
We flock to pop culture like moths to a flame. And it’s more than just being into, say, a dreamy Kpop star or a life-changing movie franchise. We define ourselves by the things we adore, so it’s no shocker that any reference to said things, either by a brand otherwise, is a one-way trip into our hearts. Make some space in your arsenal of online banter for more movie one-liners and celebrity-inspired memes (let’s take a moment to honour the brains behind “Jungshook”).
There’s just something about animation that cannot be recreated anywhere else. Whether it’s a spark of novelty or refreshing whimsy, animation brings fun and colour to your social media post. So far, we’ve been loving throwbacks to the nostalgic cartoon era, a ‘90s renaissance if you will. Feast your eyes on the best of this trend in the sketchy doodles of PRETTYMUCH’s Open Arms music video and Adobe Creative Cloud’s retro-patterned TikTok.
Clout is internet currency, one that people never hesitate to cash in. Any influencer worth their name will tell you that there’s no such thing as too much publicity. Remember the old adage that goes something like, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”? Collabs are exactly like that. They’re the fastest, most effective way for content creators to expand their audience base. Smaller or newer creators gain exposure by appearing on larger channels, whilst the bigwigs get to enrich their usual content by showcasing new faces. YouTubers Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning (GMM) regularly host celebrity or YouTuber guests, engaging them in humorous banter and amusing interactions. GMM fans are kept on the edge of their seats, buzzing about the next potential cameo on screen.
Bored of browsing through the same old racks? Social commerce has perfected the art of effortless online shopping. Research shows that 60% of Gen Zers source for new brands and products through Instagram. Let’s be real, no one’s immune to the addictive pull of that Insta shop feature! For those weary of seeing the same ol’ brands everywhere, Instagram’s virtual marketplace is where you’ll find one-of-kind boutique products by independent sellers. If you’re a seller yourself, Insta shop’s visual-driven layouts and embedded shoppable features are a goldmine for click-through rates.
Social media has brought about a wealth of benefits, but not at little cost. Be it content creators having their entire lives on show 24/7 or users being exposed to filtered ideals, social media is one of the largest culprits of unhealthy comparisons and warped cognitive thinking. Funnily enough, it is also this very medium that holds the power to inspire change. Mental disorders that were once taboo and gingerly skirted about are now taking the spotlight online. We welcome more content like TheSmartLocal’s Singaporeans Try: Therapy that will continue chipping away the walls of stigma that encase mental health.
If boosting conversion rates are your endgame, you’ll need to hire influencers as your players. More of a numbers trustee? Check this out: research reveals a whopping 82% of consumers making the buy based on recommendations from friends or public figures on social media. Influencers are the representatives of the everyday man. Take it how you will, but simply giving a familiar face to your brand works way better than scrambling to cram all your benefits into a hard sell. AIASingapore’s catchy TikToks featuring local actors and musicians make it so that you can’t think “AIA” without thinking of your lovable idols and humourous tunes.
Newer generations are always looking back with a critical eye and reevaluating societal norms—so be surprised if you turn and find your favourite brands riding right alongside you on the bandwagon! Nike has always been a trailblazer in this regard, and it isn’t putting the brakes on its social campaigns any time soon. Nike: What will they say about you? is just one of their many projects aimed at empowering women to break free of their restraints.