What Are The Top Social Media Trends 2022?

What Are The Top Social Media Trends 2022?
What Are The Top Social Media Trends 2022?

What Are The Top Social Media Trends 2022?

My friends at Hootsuite have released this year’s digital report and, as ever, it’s full of fascinating insights into the world’s online behaviours.

The full report analysis data from 230 countries and territories, offering a global perspective on how people are using all things online, and predictions for our digital future that will help your business stay ahead.

The full report (which you can download here: Digital 2021 - Social Media Marketing & Management Dashboard - Hootsuite) is pretty detailed. It’s worth a read, so to whet your appetite here are some of the main take-outs.

1. Social media use

According to Hootsuite’s report, there are now 4.62 billion social media users around the globe (note: the term ‘users’ may not represent unique individuals). That’s up 424 million users (or +10.1%) on last year.

It represents around 75% of the world’s population over the age of 13, and users spend an average of just under two and a half hours per day on social media.

This global expansion in social media use gives your brand more opportunities to be seen by your audience.

But it’s also important to recognise that social media use is split, on average, across 7.5 different platforms.So to maximise opportunities to get your brand in front of your audience, you need to have a presence across multiple platforms, AND tailor your content according to the user experience for each one.

2. The world’s most-used social media platforms in 2022

Here’s the leaderboard according to Hootsuite’s research. No real surprises in terms of the most-used platform. Facebook still leads the field, by quite a long way.

So it’s pretty clear that there are benefits to your brand to having a presence on Facebook. But with so many users, and so many other brands, you need to think carefully about how you manage your content.

There are many different ways in which your content can cater for the experiences offered by Facebook, so it’s important to understand how your specific audience interacts with you here.

Facebook groups – does your audience engage with them? These digital communities have become increasingly meaningful to many social media users, so if your audiences have strong engagement, so should you.

Facebook advertising – the potential reach is huge, so it may be time to consider (or revisit) running ads here.

It’s also worth noting that whilst Facebook is top of the ‘most-used’ list, when it comes to users aged 16-24, their favourite is WhatsApp. If your audience is in this bracket, you might want to consider whether a WhatsApp Business account would be a good move in terms of communication options with your customers.

3. Who uses which platforms?

As we’ve already seen, most social media users are on more than one platform. This makes it easier for you to reach people, but it’s important to be aware of the different mindsets for platform use and tailor your content accordingly.

You’ll need to think about tailoring your content to the reasons why people are on that platform. Which platforms and their users are best aligned with your business goals, and what content will work best for them?

4. Social media advertising

In 2021, social media advertising represented around a third of global digital advertising spend.

That’s an increase of $23 billion (or 17.4%) on the previous year on social media advertising. That’s despite many brands having reduced their overall marketing budgets during the pandemic.

More than half of the marketers Hootsuite surveyed for their report said their paid social spend is likely to increase in 2022, as well.

They aren’t spending it all on the top platforms, though. Many marketers, as well as spending on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, are seeing channels like TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest as emerging priorities.

5. TikTok as a marketing tool

TikTok has been developing its opportunities for marketers in recent months. It’s particularly popular with the 16-24 age-group. I took a look at the platform’s growing portfolio of marketing tools in my Marketers Guide to TikTok.

TikTok is becoming such an important marketing tool for many brands, that Hootsuite have analysed it’s advertising audience in more detail.

TikTok has a huge potential reach of 884.9 million users over 18. The report doesn’t give a year-on-year comparison here (perhaps because TikTok advertising is a relatively new phenomenon), but that’s up 60 million (7.3%) on the previous quarter.

What is perhaps most useful for brands is the analysis of TikTok advertising audiences by age group and gender.

Unsurprisingly, the largest group on the platform is 18-24 year-olds, followed by 25-34 year-olds.

But with the massive number of users, it’s not just those age groups that you can engage.

And remember, a strategy encompassing TikTok doesn’t necessarily mean increasing reach. It’s an ideal platform for changing perceptions – or strengthening them – if you are looking to position your brand as bolder, or more cutting-edge. If you’ve got quality, entertaining content, it could be a great fit for TikTok audiences. At the very least, it could be a platform to think about or experiment with.

6. Online shopping habits

If you’re a brand that deals in e-commerce, this next slide is for you. Hootsuite have analysed a wider report to look at the percentage of internet users aged 16-64 who use selected e-commerce activities each week.

The top line here is that almost 60% of internet users bought something online every single week.

Talking about consumer goods alone, 2021 saw people spend $3.85 trillion online, an increase of 18% ($591 billion) on 2020.

We know, of course, that the pandemic drove a dramatic increase in online shopping around the world, but that trend seems set to continue, especially now that social media platforms have capitalised on it and increased their online shopping tools.

Hootsuite recommends taking a good look at your social storefronts across your channels to ensure a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience rather than simply a transactional relationship. Many shoppers appreciate the opportunity to compare products and to share with friends, for example.

7. Online shopping research

How do internet users research what to buy and where to buy from?  Hootsuite has looked at this, too.

Overall, search engines are the main source of information, closely followed by social media networks. But of the younger age groups those 16-24 yearsprefer social networks, and for those 25-34 search engine are only just ahead.

Remember, again, it’s the experience that’s important. The ability to ‘buy now’ whichever platform you’re on is vital, but positive comments, likes and customer reviews are influential drivers when it comes to prompting that all-important click.

These are the main take-outs from the full report. The complete report also includes some useful, more in-depth insights into online behaviour including the most-used devices and advice about strategy.

Hint: brands need to be focussing on:

  • Social experience to ensure every step of the purchase journey is positive and aligned
  • Customer care – using social as a key tool
  • Understanding user-behaviour, especially Gen-Z

If you’d like to talk about how to build or develop your digital strategy to take advantage of the trends developing in 2022, get in touch. I’d love to chat.

Gordon Glenister is the author of a new book, Influencer Marketing Strategy. Learn:

  • how to build an influencer strategy
  • what makes a great influencer
  • about the rise of Clubhouse and Tik Tok
  • about future digital trends for connecting with a digital customer

20 Pet Influencers you should follow in 2022

Pet influencers are a fascinating aspect of influencer marketing, and many have developed huge followings to become the animal celebrities of the influencer world. Pet-focused social media accounts are a major trend (who doesn’t find their day brightened by the antics of a cute kitten or waggly-tailed doggo?)

Smart marketers have realised that the feel-good factor of a fun, animal-focussed social media feed is only part of the story. Pets sell products, and several of today’s four-legged celebrities have their own, successful product lines, or promote others.

Pet influencer social media accounts generally fall into three categories; pet owners, pet professionals, and pets themselves. Some share tips and knowledge, while others set out simply to entertain.

Many start out as hobbies, but with brand collaborations, product sales, affiliate marketing and ad revenue, others actually generate impressive revenue – either as providing income for the humans behind the pet stars of the show, or to generate funds in support of related good causes.

Some focus on video content, others on photography, and others on written blog content. Many use a combination.

What they have in common is that they tell stories, using their content to build trust and emotional connections with their followers in order to develop their influencer status.

In this article I’m going to share with you my favourite 20 pet influencers for 2022.

1. Wearwagrepeat

A pet lifestyle Instagram channel, and more. Creator Tori started her blog in 2013 as an outlet for her combined love of fashion and dogs, and with the support of her two chocolate Labradors Lucy and Burt she covers dog lifestyle tips, toy and food reviews, dog-friendly travel guides and DIY tutorials. Her extensive shop is packed full of dog-related gifts and she runs a regular podcast.

Instagram: @wearwagrepeat
Blog: wearwagrepeat.com


2. Nala Cat

Nala Cat has taken things to the next level, with over 4.4 million followers. Nala’s daily posts of cute photo and video stories support their own premium cat food brand, and a money off voucher code for human parents of adopted cats shares the love.

Instagram: @nala_cat
YouTube: Nala, the travelling cat
Website: lovenala.com


3. The Dogist

The Dogist’s philanthropic initiative supports non-profit work in dog rescue and rehabilitation, a good example of a pup-blog with purpose. The Dogist’s creator bills themselves as an artist, and the account is a collection of characterful photographic dog portraits and featured stories highlighting, among other things, the work of animal rescue centres, guide dog trainers and owners. 3.8 million followers have followed them on walkies so far.

Instagram: @thedogist
Website: www.thedogist.com


4. The Happiest Fox

While the majority of pet blogs feature cats and dogs, there are some exceptions. Juniper is just one of a family of North American red foxes born and living in captivity due to genetic differences from their wild cousins. There’s an educational aspect to this influencer, talking about why wild animals don’t often make good pets.

Instagram: @juniperfox
Website: Juniperfoxx


5. TripawdsCommunity

This one is an online community all about bringing together animal amputees and their people, providing support and sharing uplifting stories of the love and commitment between humans and animals.

Instagram: @tripawdscommunity
Website: Tap Bio
Facebook: Tripawds | Facebook


6. AllPetVoices

All Pet Voices is a pet owners’ community that offers information and education on a whole raft of pet-related topics. It offers a space for pet owners to connect, and features regular live videos with knowledgeable guests.

Instagram: @allpetvoices
Website: Join The Pet Health 5 Movement – All Pet Voices
Facebook: All Pet Voices | Facebook


7. Pets Are Found

Another pet account with purpose, Pets Are Found is dedicated to sharing information about pets that have gone missing around the world, to help reunite them with their families.

Instagram: @petsarefound
Website: Where Pets Are Found – Lost, Found & Adoption Pet Listings
Facebook: Where Pets Are Found | Facebook


8. MileyJo the Chorkie

MileyJo is a quirky canine fashion model with catwalk experience and over 80k followers on Instagram. Followers can access discount voucher codes for a variety of dog clothing, lifestyle and food brands.

Instagram: @miley-jo-the-chorkie
Website: @MileyJo | Linktree
Facebook: Miley Jo the Chorkie / Model – Talent | Facebook


9. Hamilton the Hipster Cat

Hamilton is the proud owner of a magnificent moustache which has made his Instagram account a favourite for over 750k followers. His account shares regular photos of his life, and promotes #AdoptDonttShop.

Instagram: @hamilton_the_hipster_cat
Facebook: Hamilton the Hipster Cat | Facebook


10. Mr Pokee

Mr Pokee takes full advantage of the cuteness factor, sharing the adventures of a very cheerful hedgehog and his friends. He’s got 1.8m followers and his website sells the photo presets that add effects to his photographs.

Instagram: @mr.pokee
Website: Mr.Pokee (mrpokee.com)


11. Grumpy Cat

No round up would be complete without a mention of Grumpy Cat. A registered trademark, she has over 2.5m Instagram followers, her official Facebook page has nearly 8m and she has spawned countless memes. Her website features a huge range of merchandise and she has inspired cartoons and spin-offs with other famous cats including Garfield. The brand is still going strong and she has a good claim to remaining the internet’s most famous cat despite having died in 2019.

Instagram: @realgrumpycat
Facebook: The Official Grumpy Cat | Facebook
Website: The world’s grumpiest cat! | Grumpy Cat® (grumpycats.com)
YouTube: Real Grumpy Cat – YouTube


12. Your Two Favourite Pits

Cali and Archie show off the softer side of the Pit Bull Terrier as they share their daily antics in Instagram. The account links to Tidy Dog Mom, a blogger who offers advice about training puppies and running a tidy and efficient house, and promotes her copywriting services and Etsy shop.

Instagram: @your.two.favourite.pits
Facebook: Tidy Dog Mom | Facebook
Website: Tidy Dog Mom


13. KolsNotes

Jodi from Kol’s notes is another great example of a blogger who shares the daily adventure of her pet – a puggle called Kolchak – on her Instagram account. She’s actively involved with her followers and takes time to connect and chat.

Instagram: @kolsnotes
Facebook: Kol’s Notes | Facebook
Website: Kol’s Notes – Tips and Tricks from the DIY Dog (kolchakpuggle.com)


14. Lil Bub

LilBub is another example of a pet whose internet influence extends beyond the grave. A feral kitten who was rescued because of her special care needs, her Lil BUB’s Big Fund has raised over a million dollars for animals in need through her online store.

Instagram: @iamlilbub
Facebook: Lil Bub | Facebook
Website: Lil BUB


15. Henry and Baloo

Everyone loves a pet friends story, especially when it combines cats and dogs. Henry the dog and Baloo the cat’s Instagram feed follows these two rescues and their human parents on their adventures in the wild, and their pet supplies shop on their website sells their own branded products from cards and calendars to hats and bandanas.

Instagram: @ourwildtails
Facebook: Our Wild Tails | Facebook
Website: Calendar | Our Wild Tails


16. BenBenCatCat

BenBen has made a career out of being ‘the saddest cat on the internet’. He’s another rescue cat and his online community is built around sharing and promoting the work of animal rescues.

Instagram: @benbencatcat
Website: Home (benbencatcat.ca)


17. Hamlet the Piggy

Hamlet is a Nashville-based support animal whose Instagram account shows her ‘living the spoiled life as she performs a role as an epilepsy advocate and shows how pets contribute to human health and wellbeing.

Instagram: @hamlet_the_piggy
TikTok: hamlet_the_piggy
Website: hamletthepiggy.com


18. Mr Poof

Mr Poof the talking budgie is a fun account featuring a talented, talkative chap.

Instagram: @mr.poof
YouTube: Meet Mr. Poof: The Talking Budgie! – YouTube


19. Ethel the Glamour Tort

Proving that it’s not just our furry friends who can gather a following, Ethel the tortoise has over 71.6k followers on Instagram who enjoy her lifestyle photos, care advice and toirtoise-friendly recipes.

Instagram: @EthelTheGlamourTort


20. Boggle Buddies

Even rodents have influencer status. This account is dedicated to a large family of rats and mice who promote an online store for treats, toys and products suitable for them and other small pets.

Instagram: @bogglebuddies
Website: BoggleBuddies

Have any of these examples made you ‘paws for thought’ about becoming a pet influencer? Got a tail to tell? Give me a whistle andwe’ll talk how I can help.

Gordon Glenister is the author of a new book, Influencer Marketing Strategy. Learn:

  • how to build an influencer strategy
  • what makes a great influencer
  • about the rise of Clubhouse and Tik Tok
  • about future digital trends for connecting with a digital customer

Order your copy at: Gordon Glenister | Membership and Merchandise Specialist London

Find out more at: https://gordonglenister.com/book-launch

LinkedIn: 12 Great New Features For 2022 To Help Boost Your Influencer Marketing

LinkedIn is a major tool for many marketers. With the ongoing pandemic having forced major changes in how we work, what developments can we expect from LinkedIn to make networking even more accessible in 2022?

The great news is that platform has been busy rolling out new features that make it easier to build your brand on LinkedIn..

The latest LinkedIn features give you lots of new or improved ways to connect with your audience, build connections and share your content and business updates. Whether it’s your own content, great content you want to share, polls to help you understand your community’s view, or events to promote your brand, there are tools to help.

In this article I’m going to look at 12of my favourite new LinkedIn features for 2022, and what they might mean for boosting the productivity of your LinkedIn influencer marketing strategy.

  1. LinkedIn Stories
  2. Live Videos
  3. LinkedIn Polls
  4. Video Meetings
  5. Edit Messages After Sending
  6. Highlight Features
  7. Event Tabs
  8. View page followers tab
  9. Notify employees
  10. Merge your LinkedIn Accounts
  11. LinkedIn Cover Story
  12. Creator Mode


  1. LinkedIn Stories
    Available for Premium users only for now, LinkedIn stories let you add photos or videos, giving you 10-second clips where you can add text, filters, music etc to create and share engaging professional updates. Once uploaded, they will appear at the top of your feed for 24 hours giving you plenty of visibility.
  1. Live Videos
    Just like other platforms, LinkedIn Live videos now let you communicate with your communities or audiences in real-time. But there is a catch, as you need to apply first, and meet their criteria.To find out how, visit LinkedIn Live Video: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/100224/linkedin-live-video?lang=en
  1. LinkedIn Polls
    LinkedIn polls offer a great way to gather marketing insights and increase engagement. They allow you to create a poll between two to four options, and track percentages as your audience votes.
  1. LinkedIn video meetings
    We’re all used to virtual networking and meetings, and now you can do it direct in LinkedIn, making it a lot simpler to connect with your audience there.Here’s how: Share Video Meeting Links Through LinkedIn MessagesIf you’re meeting on the LinkedIn platform, you can currently only meet one-to-one, but they say group meetings are coming. But for now, if you want to host meetings with multiple participants on LinkedIn, it looks quite simple to connect to set up a Teams or Zoom link, share it on LinkedIn and go from there.
  1. Edit Messages After Sending
    Handy if you tend to send messages ‘on the fly’; this new feature enables you to edit, delete or recall a message.
  1. Highlight Features Post On Profile
    This is a great way to showcase your best work or products and make sure they get noticed and it’s been improved and expanded for 2022. It allows you to share your own articles or blogs, or the favourites that you’ve shared. You can also link to your external website, and upload videos, images, or presentations, and pin them so they get noticed.
  1. Event Tabs
    If you’re looking to build your audience and community on LinkedIn, they’ve made it simple to create a LinkedIn ‘event’.Here’s how: Create an Event From Your LinkedIn PageEnhance your even listing with your logo and a banner image and you’re good to go.
  1. View Page Followers Tab
    If you want to keep tabs on who is viewing your profile and posts, LinkedIn has made it easier to find this information and understand who your connections are and where they’re from.
  1. Notify Employees
    Now you can easily let your team or your employees about new posts so they can share them with their connections and boost engagement. Particularly handy if you have a remote working team whose activity is part of your marketing strategy.
  1. Merge LinkedIn accounts
    If you’ve ended up with multiple accounts, LinkedIn has now made it simple for you to merge them into one and transfer all your connections, streamlining your LinkedIn marketing efforts.
  1. LinkedIn Cover Story
    If you have a Premium profile, and the latest version of the LinkedIn mobile app, you can now add a 3-second video clip of yourself as a cover story to boost engagement.It appears on your LinkedIn profile picture, highlighted so people can spot it more easily.
  1. Creator Mode
    For influencers who create their own great content, I’ve possibly saved the best for last.LinkedIn announced Creator Mode in 2021, and if you create content it’s a great feature. It allows you to share the topics (hashtags) you talk about most with your community and makes it easier for them to find and follow your posts, helping you to grow your reach and influence.There’s an easy to follow guide on LinkedIn to help you get started: LinkedIn Creator Mode(Be aware though, The Creator Mode feature has been launched gradually so it might not be available to you yet and you may have to be patient a little while longer.)

These are my twelve favourites for 2022, but there are a whole host of other improvements that will make LinkedIn work better for you.

They’ve made it easier to save posts to read for later, added features to help recruiters and job seekers and enabled you to more easily save posts to read for later – ideal when you’re busy.

For a complete round-up, check out SocialChamp’s detailed blog here: https://www.socialchamp.io/blog/linkedin-features/

And if that’s not enough for you, Mark Williams on LinkedIn makes some predictions about how he thinks LinkedIn is going to be developing over the next year or so.

From income generation to improvements in ways to promote services, Mark has some great predictions. We know LinkedIn have been looking at ways that content creators can be financially rewarded, and Mark has some ideas about how that might happen – from points via your digital wallet to which can be saved up and exchanged for cash rewards to allowing a subscription fee for your original content, to a ‘tip jar’ allowing people to make donations. Only time will tell how many become reality!

Read it here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-predictions-2022-mark-williams/?trk=eml-email_series_follow_newsletter_01-hero-1-title_link&midToken=AQHFGc0Arb_alw&fromEmail=fromEmail&ut=0w4MzsDGTm3W81

And finally, for some insights into what LinkedIn might be focusing on in the future, have a look at their insights into what they think is going to change the world over the next 12 months.

29 Big Ideas that will change our world in 2022

If you’d like to explore how to build an effective influencer marketing strategy, let’s talk.

Gordon Glenister is the author of a new book, Influencer Marketing Strategy. Learn:

  • how to build an influencer strategy
  • what makes a great influencer
  • about the rise of Clubhouse and TikTok
  • about future digital trends for connecting with a digital customer

Order your copy from Kogan or Amazon

Find out more at: https://gordonglenister.com/

Social Media Trends 2022

Use of social media has been growing exponentially of late, and the changes forced by the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated that growth, as consumer habits and demands have adjusted in response.

A recent report by Hubspot and Talkwalker ‘Social Media Trends in 2022’ has highlighted 10 key trends in social marketing that you need to know about, and consider their relevance as part of your digital strategy.

The common denominator in all these trends is the consumer. Consumer power has grown, and they are now effectively in charge of your brand. What’s important to them needs to be important to you – so your market intelligence is going to become even more crucial.

The report is packed full of insights, and is well worth a read, But for busy readers who don’t have time to dive into the full thing, I’ve summarised the main take-outs for you here.

1. The domination of TikTok

Remember when TikTok was a playground for kids doing lip-synch videos? There’s still plenty of that going on, but savvy brands have been exploring its potential for a while, and the platform has been developing new tools for marketers, with an e-commerce and monetisation model rumoured to be in the pipeline.

During 2021, TikTok became the first non-Facebook platform to exceed 3 billion global downloads, its meteoric rise largely driven by users turning to it during successive lockdowns.

TikTok’s popularity lies mainly with the younger age-groups, and successful brands are those which are able to capitalise on the move from simple ads to more direct communication with consumers.

One of these is live-stream marketing, which has already taken off in Asia. Read about live-stream here.

The essential message here is that if your customers are on TikTok, you should be too. More than that, you need to be part of their conversations and willing to embrace user-generated content.

2. As cookies are phased out, social media ads will grow in importance

Social media continues to develop as a tool for reaching out to bigger audiences than ever before, and to engage with them in a more personal way. The customer journey is changing (and shortening) and successful brands on social media know how to engage directly and positively with their audience. That relationship might also be fragmented across various channels, so your data strategy will become more critical.

3. Social selling will simplify the customer journey

Social media platforms have recognised the importance of social selling and started to provide new shopping features, making it easier for brands to engage with, and sell to, social media users without them needing to leave the platform. Instagram is just one platform that has introduced these new shopping features. Combining the power of a strong influencer strategy with these new e-commerce possibilities is one way that brands are simplifying the customer journey and making it easier for social media consumers to become customers.

But it’s important to recognise that the brands doing this successfully are those willing to get creative with their customer engagement. It’s not just about well-placed ads. Livestreams and other engagements with consumer-led content are creating more positive engagements – shoppertainment is a growth area.

4. Consumer needs will shape content

The pandemic drastically increased our use of and reliance on social media. As a result content trends have moved on and brands need to adapt their marketing accordingly. Social media users increasingly expect that, since companies have their data, they tailor their content more accurately – so brands need to get more granular in terms of how they create content for specific locations, age groups, interest areas or gender.

The key take-out from this is that consumer insights are vital to enable you to create content that’s targeted to specific audiences.

Lifestyle and working habits having shifted during lockdown, consumers are acutely aware of the types of content that suit them – whether in terms of platform or duration. Bitesize formats are popular.Interestingly, too, although video and livestream content is still on the up, audio only content – including podcasts – is also very popular.

Think about your customer experience and whether it needs improving to make buying from you as simple as it can be. How easy is it to make a buying decision without seeing or touching an actual product? VR features are being added by many successful brands, allowing customers to explore, test and try out online.

5. Onmi-channel engagement is changing the way customers use social media

According to the Hubspot report, 64% of users now receive their news from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and Snapchat, instead of traditional media. This rise in social media consumption gives brands many opportunities to expand their audiences and increase the number of connections with you – as long as you are providing the content that your consumers actually want. Beware of fake news and misleading content!

As the table below shows, media is the largest source of misinformation, so to gain and keep the trust of your audiences you need to ensure you are providing trustworthy content, and challenging sources of fake news.

Although social media platforms are beginning to take more responsibility for fact-checking (Twitter, for example, has a partnership with Reuters to help combat misinformation), consumers themselves play a significant part in spreading misinformation. So brands who want to remain trusted need to be keeping an eye on not just their own content, but the content their online community is reading and sharing, and take a proactive role in sharing factually correct information to build trust.

6. Influencer marketing will come into its own

Influencer marketing has been growing up over the last few years, and is fast evolving into a sophisticated and more regulated version of itself. Combined with brand advocacy, where ‘real’ consumers become influencers in their own right, it’s a powerful tool for switched-on brands. Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve become more conscious that a consumerist outlook isn’t good for the planet, so many brands are choosing to work with influencers with a social conscience that reflects their own vision.

A 2021 report by the Influencer Marketing Hub revealed that 67% of respondents were using Instagram for influencer marketing as part of their strategy.

This article explores developments in influencer marketing in more detail: https://gordonglenister.com/brand-advocacy/

7. Brands will take more control over social, with their own platforms

Social media used has exploded through the pandemic precisely because it enables the connections, socialising and relationship maintenance that Covid-19 impacted. The lesson brands need to learn from that is that they need to ensure that their digital platforms, apps and channels include social aspects.

The other side to this is that the ability to create communities is no longer limited to the big social media platforms. It’s now possible to build effective in-house social networks –enabling brands to take back control of their audiences from the global giants and, crucially, maintain more control of their content – or put more control in the hands of their audiences.

Stronger interactions mean greater engagement. As consumers become more able to interact direct with a brand, we’ll see how engagement and retention increase.

One brand that has been doing this very successfully is Venmo, which keeps its users engaged through conversations and connections on its social media channels, resulting in a higher level of trust and appreciation.

8. The rise of the metaverse

So what’s a metaverse? A good question, as the word didn’t really exist until recently. It refers to the amalgamation of the physical world, the augmented and the virtual. It was led, unsurprisingly, by the gaming industry, but even before Covid-19 hit, many brands were experimenting with virtual reality. The need for increased online social interactions and more immersive experiences during lockdowns has accelerated developments. Across industries and sectors, brands have realised that features like virtual dressing rooms, digital meet-ups and more personalised digital customer service can help them to stay relevant and create deeper connections, especially with younger audiences.
As Tania Tal, MD at DIA Brand Consultants says in the Hubspot report, “The metaverse is becoming the future playground for brands, where real and virtual worlds converge.”

Expect to see exciting new developments over the coming year.

9. Sustainability and inclusivity will become key

Covid-19 forced people to make drastic changes to how they live and work, and they now demand more from the brands they buy from. People are increasingly valuing sustainability – and they expect it to be authentic. The re-evaluation is also impacting on employment, with employees giving more importance to a company’s purpose than ever before.

Brands are no longer able to simply produce products or provide services and ignore the topics that matter to their audiences. Customers expect them to engage with issues of sustainability, inclusivity – everything from environmental concerns to social justice and mental health.

Lego is an interesting example. Their ‘Everyone is Awesome’ set, launch to coincide with 2021 Pride Month garnered 64% positive conversations, with over 20K people heading to social media to express their excitement.

Some of the most important take-outs here are that whatever you say needs to be genuine and authentic. It’s no good saying one thing, but acting differently. Your customers will notice! Listen to your customers and come up with ways to include as many of them as possible.

10. Communities are becoming the driving force

Given the previous trend, it should come as no surprise to hear that the community is taking charge. Whilst the onus is on brands to establish communities of consumers through strategic content shaped around their needs, they can’t always control what they say and do. With social media, these communities are able to form outside the brand’s owned spaces, which can have interesting outcomes. Social communities and movements can form, grow and gain power very quickly (witness the BLM and #MeToo movements) and brands with the right messages will be able to tap into them. On the flip side, get it wrong, and the disruptive power of the community can have catastrophic effects.

Again, transparency is important here – your social media presence needs to be as genuine as possible, with the ability for your audience to interact as much as possible. Communities also need nurturing, so be prepared to put the commitment in when it comes to maintaining them, and the pay-off will be brand engagement, exposure and even brand love.

There’s so much valuable information in the full report that I’ve only been able to give you a digest of the key points here. If you want to explore the case studies and examples in more detail, you can download the full report here ↓

If you’d like to explore how to tap into these emerging trends and build an effective social media marketing programme for your brand, let’s talk.

Gordon Glenister is the author of a new book, Influencer Marketing Strategy. Learn:

  • how to build an influencer strategy
  • what makes a great influencer
  • about the rise of Clubhouse and TikTok
  • about future digital trends for connecting with a digital customer

Order your copy from Kogan or Amazon

Find out more at: https://gordonglenister.com/

BRAND ADVOCACY – why community should be at the heart of your digital marketing strategy

Developments in social media, and the lasting impact of the global pandemic, have changed the face of marketing. Social media has provided important marketing tools for many years now, enabling influencers to build, and connect with, communities of followers.

But recent shifts have meant that consumers are moving away from engagement with the type of influencer who they don’t relate to, in favour of ‘real people’ who deliver trust, authenticity and transparency instead of flash; largely through:

  • Social media sharing
  • User-generated content (UGC)
  • Customer referrals
  • Online reviews

A recent white paper from Wearisma looks at how brand advocacy is changing, in a big shift towards building communities instead of audiences.

In this article I’ll share with you some of their most important findings and outline some of the key elements of an effective brand advocacy programme.

1. What is brand advocacy, and why does it work?

Brand advocacy is a way to build an authentic online community of people who genuinely love and support your brand. Yes, we still need influencers to generate high levels of engagement and curate professional content, but making the most of our social media content now involves a shift towards content generated by customers themselves.

It’s not unlike traditional ‘word of mouth’ marketing, but now we can make use of modern digital channels to locate our genuine ambassadors within our customer base.

Wearisma have a simple way to explain the differences between influencers and advocates.

Source: Wearisma

So brand advocates can be either influencers or consumer advocates. From a community point of view, the magic happens when the enthusiasm of a consumer of your brand creates a desire to talk about you online through positive reviews, mentions and recommendations. Combine this with influencers who have a genuine passion for your brand rather than an eye solely on the metrics, and you have a potentially powerful community of brand advocates.

In Wearisma’s study, they found that 74% of people stated that more recommendations from people they know would encourage them to purchase from brands.

2. Trust, transparency and purpose – the three pillars of brand advocacy

The brand/consumer relationship has undergone a major shift recently, and the power is very much in the hands of consumers. Consumers are, increasingly, insisting on a genuine sense of connection with brands, a connection for which trust is essential.

That’s why community has become a vital online experience. Consumers trust their communities – whether physical or online – more than advertising, so messages ‘pushed out’ by a brand are no longer sufficient or acceptable for building trust.

With consumers easily able to block messages they don’t want to receive, building authentic online communities and engaging consumers personally is essential. According to Wearisma, brand advocacy is the leading strategy for achieving this level of engagement.

Building trust relies on authenticity and transparency. Consumers need to be assured that the content they are seeing is genuine, and originating from people with a ‘passionate, emotional attachment with a brand’.

So who are these people?

Wearisma’s research included looking at the essential attributes of successful brand advocates. It revealed a demand for advocates who are passionate about the brand and will provide honest reviews – including negative ones. They need to be genuine, knowledgeable users of the products, and to be transparent about their other interests and partnerships.

Source: Wearisma

This transparency is particularly important when your consumers consist mainly of Gen Z and Millennials, as they tend not to be simply purchasers of a product. For these consumers, the brands they buy from reflect and are aligned with their personal core beliefs and values. So the personality and purpose of the brand is as important as the product – if not more so.

Brands who can have real conversations with the consumers, rather than always talking like a brand, tend to develop better relationships, and their consumers are more likely to move to becoming brand advocates.

Wearisma gives Ann Summers as an example of how building trust and connections with real people online has turned consumers into passionate advocates who go on to feature in brand campaigns.

3. Some dos and don’ts of a brand advocacy programme 

An affect brand advocacy campaign will enable you to leverage the power of your biggest fans, helping you to:

  • build the genuine brand love which is fast emerging as the most effective form of advertising
  • remain relevant to your online community
  • cut costs whilst driving impact

But some brands have made a few mis-steps, having failed to understand how vital a role authenticity plays.

Don’t rely on mass campaigns

Wearisma gives an example of brands who, in an attempt to build their online communities, have sent out mass DM campaigns, offering consumers discounts in exchange for their content. Whilst, on the face of it, this might seem like a perfectly reasonable idea, to today’s consumer it lacks authenticity, and may even look suspect – like a scam. This tactic lacks the personal touch which is at the centre of authentic brand advocacy. An offer in exchange for the label of ‘ambassador’, coming from a brand with which a consumer may have minimal or no prior relationship, is meaningless and may even deter people from engaging with you further.

Do nurture relationships with individuals

An effective brand advocacy strategy involves identifying the consumers who already love your brand but don’t (yet) consider themselves advocates. Whilst their reach might be smaller than a popular influencer, their impact within their own networks is likely to be greater. Plus, the chances are that their network consists of people like them – who share at least some of their values and core beliefs. So if they already love your brand, their community is already partly self-selected to love it too.

Do give something back

One of the ways to engage with your consumers and nurture them to become brand advocates is through gifting.

If these consumers are already posting positive content about you online, give them something back, as a thank-you for their support, and encourage them to share more about their relationship with your brand.

A well-thought out gifting strategy as part of your loyalty programmes, will enable you to reward the ambassadors for their authentic promotion of your brand. Wearisma’s research has shown that audiences are becoming more interested in content that highlights how brands are thanking their advocates for their loyalty, and also that 76% of people say they would be encouraged to purchase if first given a gift.

Source: Wearisma

Tiered gifting allows you to reward your advocates according to how much engagement their content generates – rewarding your highest performing fans more generously will help to further build the relationship and connections.

One way to approach tiered gifting.

  • Step 1: Design your tiers. You can have as many gifting tiers as you like, but a simple place to start might be a discount code (level 1), a sample product (level 2), and a full-size product (level 3). If you’re just starting out, begin with every advocate at level 1.
  • Step 2: Track your advocates. Once you’ve sent out rewards, you need to keep an eye on what your advocates are doing. Are they responding by posting further positive content about your brand?
  • Step 3: Monitor activity. Which advocates are creating the best performing content? You can track this with metrics like Engagements, Engagement Rate and Media Value, as well as tracking which content is driving traffic to your website and creating sales.
  • Step 4: Tier placement. Once you can see who are the top performers for your brand, you can reward them further, by moving them up a tier, then repeat steps 2 and 3. Keep rewarding everyone else at level 1 to maintain loyalty and engagement!

Summary: Why you should be considering a brand advocate strategy for your brand

Your best brand advocates will be highly active online, will have a great social reach, and will represent your company in the best way possible. They are likely to be customers, but could also be employees or partners.

The benefits for your brand will be:

  • using the power of your advocates to reach more potential consumers, both online and in-person
  • it’s a more authentic form of marketing, as your advocates are people who believe in your brand, andsupport it without being paid to do so
  • in an online world, it humanises your brand, and potential customers see it as more genuine, creating empathy, personality, and trust
  • it can create media interest – when publications see people talking about your brand, you are more likely to get your products featured
  • it’s a great way to educate people about your products or services
  • although you may need to invest a bit of money and effort in building your strategy, having a strong community of brand advocates can ultimately reduce the time and money you need to invest in marketing

You can download and read the full Wearisma report here.

If you’d like to explore how to build an effective brand advocacy programme, let’s talk.

Gordon Glenister is the author of a new book, Influencer Marketing Strategy. Learn:

  • how to build an influencer strategy
  • what makes a great influencer
  • about the rise of Clubhouse and TikTok
  • about future digital trends for connecting with a digital customer

Order your copy from Kogan or Amazon

Find out more at: http://gordonglenister.com/


Live-stream marketing is booming in Asia. Here’s why you should be paying attention

Live stream shopping (or live stream e-commerce) is being touted as the next big thing in retail. Whilst it’s probably fair to say that it hasn’t yet reached anywhere like its full potential with customers in the UK and Europe, or even the US, customers in South East Asia have switched on to it in their millions, and it’s become a major marketing tool for brands from cosmetics to fashion. It’s estimated to have generated somewhere around $136 billion in revenue in China in 2020.

In China, Taobao Live dominates, with 80% of the market, but other platforms are growing, and Douyin (China’s version of TikTok) is rapidly transforming itself from a social network to a home shopping channel.

And although it’s early days, TikTok in the US have started experimenting with it through a partnership with Walmart.

According to Mike George, president and CEO of Qurate Retail, inventors of TV shopping channel QVC, the seeds of what would become livestream shopping were first sown in China in the mid-2010s. Influencers began using live video apps to take their fans with them to boutiques in exotic locations. They would share information and explain products along the way. These virtual journeys offered viewers a glimpse of places like New York or Los Angeles, with the option to discover and buy products that were not readily available in China.

You can read more of what Mike has to say about the rise of live stream marketing in his article for Fortune.com: Livestream shopping is the next best thing in retail.

What is live stream marketing?

Simply put, it’s when influencers and brands stream live content on platforms like (in Asia)Shopee and Lazada, and their audience can instantly purchase the things that they are seeing on the app.

These platforms have integrated features that allow viewers to see these influencers and key opinion leaders in real-time, promoting products and services. It’s big business, certainly in Asia. Shopeeis a Singaporean online shopping platform which streams 17,000 pieces of live content every day, accumulating 14 million daily views, equating to over 700,000 hours of viewing time from potential customers.

Live stream commerce originated in Asia, and was already big before Covid-19 saw lockdowns around the world, but the pandemic certainly didn’t hurt this form of marketing. In fact, Shopee reported 99% global growth during 2020. Even after lockdowns were lifted, it seems customers, now accustomed to online shopping, have no intention of turning their backs on it. Many more and brands are now looking into turning Live E-Commerce into a common shopping experience for their customers.

In Europe, Chinese online shopping giant AliExpress conducted a survey which revealed that around 70% of European shoppers are open to the idea of experimenting with live streaming ‘shoppertainment’.

How they prefer their content does vary by country, a factor which is essential for marketers to consider.

Vita Chang, Head of Content Operations Ecosystem at AliExpress, says ““When exploring the European opportunity, it is important to look into distinctions of each country to cater the right messages for different consumers in different countries.”

Some of the study’s key findings suggest that UK consumers favour trustworthy and entertaining mobile-friendly content, while French consumers prefer succinct content endorsed by influencers. Shoppers in Spain seek out the best deals and practical information.

You can read the full findings of the AliExpress study: Shoppertainment is landing in Europe here.

How do brands use live formats to attract customers?

Live stream marketing content can appear on social media platforms.Facebook, TikTok and Instagram have already gone for it in a big way and other platforms are rapidly catching up.

Facebook launched ‘Live Shopping Fridays’ this summer, going through to mid-July, and it includes partnerships with major beauty brands like Clinique and Sephora.

The beauty of live stream is that it allowsinfluencers and brands to communicate with followers and consumers in the moment. Unlike a standard ‘video ad’ format, live stream allows the audience to interact directly with the host, to ask questions, for example. And the host can provide answers and give product feedback. It allows the kind of awareness-building and engagement which might previously have taken weeks or months of campaign activity.

As you might expect, influencers have been a major (ahem) influence on this online marketing phenomenon, andmany brands have been quick to recognise the value of using them to host their live shopping streams. The clever brands script the presentation carefully to ensure that, whilst the host influencer champions the brand in a variety of ways, – through demos, reviews, live-testing and promotional offers – they remain on-message.  Then, if a consumer likes what they see, they can buy the product instantly in-platform.

Creating digital events

Not for nothing is it known as ‘shoppertainment’, and these streams are turning into mini variety shows – with concerts, cooking demonstrations and workout classes, among others, added to the mix to keep engagement levels high.

It’s also worth noting that, whilst Asian, particularly Chinese live stream marketing has tending to rely on big-name influencers (with the associated a hefty price tag), it’s not always necessary to commit that kind of investment. Interestingly, whilst many brands do start out using established influencers as hosts, it’s not uncommon for a brand’s ‘in-house’ host to work it the other way, and develop such a following that they become an influencer in their own right.

Driven in part by recent restrictions, a number of brands have all but dropped physical product launches from their calendar, opting instead for live stream events.

The Goat Agency, which works with clients across Asia, including Olay, reports a significant rise in these events, like a recent launch campaign for Olay Retinol, where influencerslive-streamed product reveals on their personal channels, and were joined by a P&G scientist to answer questions about the product, whilst engaging the audience. The live content was enhanced by gamificationwith trivia questions and other activities to let the audience win products, with the added advantage of educating them about product benefits.

What are the downsides to live stream e-commerce?

Although undeniably effective (when done right), it can get expensive. With its popularity comes rising media costs, and the expense of paying a high-profile celebrity or influencer.

It’s also important to remember that, just as with any retail experience, it’s about building a relationship with the customer. Relying on flashy tech, or the influencer of the moment, without paying attention to the detail risks your investment being a costly mistake – or at best, a short-lived success. Competitive prices, efficient customer service and distribution, and the power of storytelling are just as important as ever.

Where is live stream marketing going?

There’s no doubt that it’s a growing phenomenon, and that it has plenty of untapped potential for brands across a multitude of sectors. Beauty and fashion brands have been quick to see its potential, but there’s really no limit.

And for the future, Mike George, of Qurate Retail has some tantalising ideas.“Perhaps”, he says,“artificial intelligence on social media will enable us to provide each customer with a fully individualized channel of live, interactive content, curated just for them. Maybe virtual reality will allow us to transport the customer to a front-row seat at a livestream fashion show, right next to a friendly host who is ready to answer questions and take an order.”

If you’re thinking about how live stream e-commerce could work for your brand, let’s talk.

Gordon Glenister is the author of a new book, Influencer Marketing Strategy. Learn:

  • how to build an influencer strategy
  • what makes a great influencer
  • about the rise of Clubhouse and TikTok
  • about future digital trends for connecting with a digital customer

Order your copy from Kogan or Amazon

Find out more at: http://gordonglenister.com/