The pandemic has left many small business owners in Australia struggling to survive and get back on their feet, so anything that can give you a competitive edge is definitely worthwhile investigating. That’s where keeping up with the latest marketing trends can be extremely useful to help plan for the future ahead. At the moment, most small business owners are just trying to pay their bills and hope that the end of lockdowns and border closures will add speed to their recovery.
With a little forethought, however, you can actually position your business for a healthy recovery in 2022, that’s if you leverage the right marketing trends. So one of the trends that we believe you should investigate is what’s happening in the world of social media. That’s because social media networking is a great way to increase visitors to your website, as well as conversions and sales.
Social media is a complex world with new platforms becoming extremely popular, whilst others start to wane. If your target audience is moving from one platform to another, you need to know! If the landscape of social media is altering, then you need to know!
Just think about the recent problems faced by Facebook. Will any of these issues affect its popularity? Are young people moving to other platforms? Investing your time and energy in a social media platform that is no longer popular with your target audience is not going to be a good strategy. So what can you do?
Here’s our pick of the most relevant social media trends for Australian small business owners in 2022.
Facebook losing touch with younger audiences
Our research has shown that people under the age of 25 are not actively using Facebook anymore. There has been a steep decline that began in 2012 that has resulted in a loss of over a third of young users, but there’s also been a decline in baby boomers between the ages of 57 to 75 years of age.
It’s clear that the popularity of Facebook has been on the decline over the past few years, but there’s still a massive number of people that actively use it every day. In fact, nearly 3 billion users are recorded every day, so whilst it may be losing touch with its younger audience and baby boomers as well, it’s still a very influential social media platform.
With its new pivot towards a metaverse, it might claw back these age groups (but don’t bet the ranch on that!). However, as far as 2022 is concerned, if you target consumers under the age of 25 or the baby boomers, it’s time to explore other platforms where your target audiences are hanging out. Don’t give up completely on Facebook, because it can still be a powerful marketing tool. However, keep in mind that your target audience is voting with their feet and you need to find out where they are going!
We predict that in 2022, small business owners will benefit from exploring platforms other than Facebook if they want to actively engage their target audience (if they are below 25 or baby boomers).
Engagement using phone apps is growing
So where are people going if they are leaving Facebook? It appears that they are spending an increasing amount of time communicating via mobile apps. Whilst we don’t actually know which apps they are using, it’s clear that TikTok is downloaded more often than either YouTube or Facebook apps. There’s no clear alternative to Facebook, given all that it offers, but mobile apps are steadily increasing in popularity as far as keeping in touch is concerned.
What this means is that people are quite happy communicating via mobile apps, so you can either use the apps that are popular with your target audience or encourage them to use your own app. Developing apps is not a costly affair, but it can give you a direct line of communication to consumers. Apps can be used to mine customer data, expand your audience and push notifications. They can also be used to answer customer queries and promote your brand.
We predict that in 2022, small business owners that leverage mobile phone apps will see a significant uptick in their customer base and revenue.
Social commerce is becoming a valuable channel for retailers
It started with Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest shops, and now social commerce is trending upwards. It’s all about in-stream shopping, where consumers can purchase products by clicking on links in posts. Facebook is pushing forward with this because it speeds up the transaction process between the ad and the checkout, fast tracking the purchasing journey.
Social commerce is one step further than ecommerce. Where consumers might have heard about a product on a social media post, clicked on a link to an online store and then followed the purchasing journey to its conclusion, now they can make their purchase on their social media platform. From the moment of discovery to the checkout, in-stream shopping keeps consumers on the social media platform where they can complete their purchase without leaving the site and then continue to view other posts and interact with friends, as normal.
Social commerce is an interactive experience, allowing people to chat to friends, create posts themselves, view videos and shop, all at the same time! So with global ecommerce sales predicted to rise to more than $5 billion in 2022, rising to more than $6 billion by the end of 2024, there’s some serious money to be made selling online.
So it makes sense to take your products to where your target audience is hanging out on social media. This is why social commerce is rapidly becoming very popular because it’s a natural extension of their normal behaviour – consumers are already online and are happy to shop while they chat on their social media platform of choice.
We predict that social commerce will continue to grow in popularity in 2022 and small business owners with retail stores or even ecommerce stores, should get onto this trend very quickly.
These three social media trends are GO Creative’s best picks, but there are plenty of other trends that might be suitable for your small business as well. Just keep your eyes on these trends and jump in when it feels right!