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Cutting-edge social media trends to watch for in 2022

Marketing campaigns are no longer considered complete without a social media strategy. That’s because social media marketing works. According to a 2021 report from GWI, social media ads helped 28% of internet users discover new products and nearly half of internet users (49%) are likely to buy from brands they see advertising on social media. It can also help strengthen and maintain relationships with clients and prospects.

A challenge for marketers is that social media strategies are constantly evolving. Each year, new trends emerge that provide fresh opportunities to connect with clients. Here are three trends we’ll be following in 2022.

1. Social audio

Tweets are to blogs what social audio is to podcasts. In other words, social audio is the interactive, real-time, short-form version of podcasts. While there are differences across platforms, in general, social audio allows listeners to tune in to online conversations and actively participate in them.

Social audio took off in 2021 during the pandemic, as people spending more time on their screens found easy-to-digest sound bites they could both hear and respond to. Platforms currently dominating social audio include Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms – but analysts predict many more will emerge in the future. These platforms have the potential to allow companies to connect with audiences in a direct and intimate way through the spoken word.

Financial services marketers interested in getting in on the game may want to start identifying subject matter experts who are comfortable engaging in authentic conversations. They could provide tips on saving for retirement or children’s education, or discuss topics such as debt management or the value an advisor can provide. In general, social audio is about the human and real rather than the polished and perfect.

Beyond education, financial services companies can explore social audio opportunities to network, listen, raise brand awareness and leverage influencers.

2. Social commerce

Currently, most social media marketing links consumers back to a company’s website to make a purchase. Social commerce allows people to buy goods and services within the social media site itself, allowing them to move from discovery to purchase within one platform. But whether or not you sell products directly through e-commerce, it’s possible to take advantage of the growing popularity of social commerce to engage with clients and prospects.

Social commerce provides an opportunity to start conversations that could lead to offline purchases. A financial services company, for example, could post relevant livestreams regarding wealth building.

Social commerce is a rising trend, with a 2021 report by Sprout Social predicting that 87% of enterprises currently selling on social media expect to sell through social commerce within three years. Platforms include Shops on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter’s Shop Module (currently in development).

According to Smart Insights, people on social media are rarely there primarily to buy something and are more likely to make a smaller, less expensive purchase rather than a larger purchase. Also, keep in mind that the device consumers are using matters, too – Broadband Search reports that 80% of social media browsing happens on a smartphone.

3. The metaverse

Facebook staked its claim on the metaverse in 2021 when it introduced Meta as its overarching brand, but the concept has been attracting interest for years.

An article on USA Today describes the metaverse as “an online virtual world which incorporates augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video and other means of communication.”

Its “hyper-real alternative world” opens the door to many innovative marketing strategies that will enable e-commerce to become a more immersive experience. It will allow consumers to visit stores virtually, where they can try on clothes and test-drive cars. For financial services companies, it can mean the ability to offer financial planning meetings where advisors can virtually walk clients through interactive charts and three-dimensional visuals.

The pandemic has brought about a dramatic increase in online shopping and virtual client meetings – a change that is likely here to stay. So, while the metaverse might still be a work in progress, it is allowing forward-thinking marketers to start dreaming of innovative new ways to connect with audiences. At the speed technology is evolving, a mainstream metaverse isn’t far away.

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