When people have free time or are procrastinating, they often end up on their phones, scrolling, swiping, clicking, and sharing on social media.

Staying up-to-date with social media can be a brand opportunity or hurdle, depending on how you use it. The latest social media trends help companies of all sizes expand their reach further. 

This article looks into the top social media trends of 2021 and how they helped marketers and businesses connect with customers despite the global pandemic. We'll also cover social media trends for the new year and how to create an effective 2022 social media strategy.

Why are social media trends important?

Social media has become a central piece of how we live and interact with each other. It will continue to play a significant role in how we express ourselves and conduct business in 2022. 

For businesses, social media provides real-time access to potential and current customers every day. They can share their products and services in spaces where their market gathers online. 

To be successful in engaging with your market, you need to learn about, understand, and utilize the current social media trends to keep your content fresh and ensure it resonates with the intended audience. 

How long do social media trends last?

Social media trends do not last very long, as there are constantly new content ideas, social media platforms, and ways for users to engage and attract attention. How long a social media trend lasts depends on the social platform's pace and algorithms. 

Blogs have the furthest reach and often remain visible and receive views years after publication. Blog posts typically contain long-form writing that dives into complex and diverse issues. Businesses that manage their own blogs gain control that is not possible on other platforms. 

On Instagram, posts remain visible for about 48 hours. This changes when you dig down to Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels, which last about 24 and 12 hours, respectively. 

LinkedIn posts have even less time, clocking in at about 24 hours. Since this platform is used most during regular business hours, knowing its average visibility time can help you know when best to post.

Twitter and Facebook have lower average times for visibility, with Twitter posts lasting only about 18 minutes each. Content on these platforms moves fast, so posting often is a helpful strategy to ensure broad reach. 

TikTok content moves along at lightning speed, with most engagement occurring within minutes of posting. However, when a TikTok video goes viral, its visibility multiplies and continues to grow over days or weeks. 

Examples of social media trends

Social media trends change as new platforms are created and users evolve. Examples of popular social media trends in the past decade include: 

  • Rise of the meme: Memes began in niche communities but are now widespread and used on many online platforms. Memes have a strong presence online, and in fact, are a great example of behavioral science
  • Rise of video: As smartphones become more ubiquitous, so does video content. Smartphones have removed the barrier to creating video content and sharing it widely and easily across social media platforms. 
  • Rise of behind-the-scenes (BTS) content: People love seeing what goes on behind the scenes of their favorite brands and products. Content focusing on how a product is made or what happens "behind the scenes" is a fast-rising trend.

What social media trends did we see in 2021?

The most popular social media trend in 2021 is arguably the rise of short-form video content. These short-form videos are called different names across the different social media platforms, such as Reels and Stories on Facebook and Instagram. 

The leading social platform for short-form videos in 2021, TikTok, experienced massive growth and was the most downloaded non-game app in the first six months of 2021, hitting 383 million app downloads between January and June 2021 alone. 

Social commerce was another significantly growing category in 2021 social media trends. Platforms began to make it easier for businesses to directly link to products and services within their social content, whether by text, images, or video. This removes a layer of friction between users seeing something they want to buy and making the purchase. 

Instagram, which first introduced Instagram Shops in 2020, made it easy to connect users with products using Shop tiles that appear as clickable links over shared content and a separate Shops tab for users to explore new products directly. 

A third social media trend in 2021 was a continued emphasis on content highlighting inclusivity and diversity. Brands were more aware of the need to engage, represent, and create content for people from all walks of life, highlighting groups traditionally underrepresented or marginalized in the media. 

How to keep up with social media trends

The nature of social media trends is constant change. It can be a challenge to keep up with the relevant social media trends for your industry. One of the best ways to be in the know is to consistently engage with your audience and watch what they engage with most. 

Stay inspired by keeping an eye on what leading brands and creators share and tweaking it to suit your brand and messaging. Being timely with trends is essential as sharing content from an old trend may waste resources and taint how your brand is perceived. Creating relevant content helps present your brand as an active leader. 

Another simple way to keep up with social media trends is by following influencers, brands, and creative agencies that are leaders in building content, community, and conversations. They can signal upcoming trends and help you join conversations before they get crowded and unappealing. 

Social Media Trends to Watch in 2022 2
Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Social media trends to watch in 2022

As we start the new year, here are some of the top social media trends from 2021 worth watching in 2022. 

Power of short-form videos

As attention spans get shorter, content gets even shorter. In a survey by Animoto, a video-creation software company, 60% of respondents indicated that videos being too long strongly deter them from watching. Short-form video content, meaning videos under three minutes (often between 15-30 seconds), connects with people who don't have the time or interest in watching longer videos. TikTok is currently the rising market leader in the world of short-form video content, with about one-third of all social media users in the world active on the app in less than four years.

Rise of the micro-influencer

Influencers on social media aren't a new concept, but 2022 will see increasing growth in brands working with micro-influencers. Micro-influencers have a smaller audience and niche but high engagement and reach within their target communities. In 2022, brands will continue to spend ad-buying dollars to work with micro-influencers to promote specific products to their target audiences. 

In-app social commerce

Social commerce has been around since 1997, but it's not until the last few years that it's taken off. When users see a product they like, they want to purchase it with as few clicks as possible. 2022 will see platforms continue to develop convenient ways for users to buy products and services easily without leaving the app. 

Augmented reality 

Augmented reality has had its moments over the past few years. Some AR use cases, such as Pokemon Go, have been wildly successful, but others have fallen flat. Improved technology and a better understanding of how augmented reality works means that 2022 is likely to be the year that it takes off. The rise of the metaverse will also offer interesting ways to incorporate augmented reality into social media, allowing brands to start using AR to interact with users in new and fun ways. 

User-generated content and the rise of the "creator" 

Companies won't be the only ones making content about their products and services. 2022 will bring more user-generated content that promotes specific brands, products, and services. This new class of creators put their spin on things and can make a brand's content go viral with astonishing speed and creativity.  

These new creators take advantage of the dueting and stitching capabilities on platforms such as TikTok, allowing them to create videos that respond to or engage with content a brand has already created. This enables brands to double-dip on their content, knowing that not only will their followers see it, but followers of other creators will as well. 

Shortening lifespan of specific trends and memes

With so much new content created daily, trends and memes have a shortened lifespan. This means that brands need to stay on top of whatever platforms they're using and react swiftly when necessary. This shortened trends lifespan means companies will need to have an Agile mindset and set up systems for their content teams and creators to work quickly, collaboratively, and productively. 

How to plan your social media in 2022 with Wrike

There's a lot to think about when setting up an effective social media strategy for 2022. Luckily, you don't have to do it alone. Wrike's social media calendar template can get you started with planning, managing, and tracking your social media campaigns and strategy performance.

You can also use Wrike for digital marketing and marketing project management software to coordinate your marketing team and collaborators, organize multiple campaigns, and efficiently manage schedules and timelines.

Marketing teams working on various projects can have complete visibility into the organization's marketing environment, making it easier to stay updated about each project's progress and maintain motivation towards a single goal. 

Are you ready to kick-start your 2022 social media plan planning and marketing? Try Wrike for free today.