Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Social media is primarily a mobile device activity. For brands looking to determine the percentage of eyeballs comparing mobile to desktop, the latest statistics from StatCounter reveal the tale of the tape. Almost 55% of usage occurs on mobile vs. 42.5% on desktops.
Hootsuite, a platform for posting to multiple social media channels has a few more intriguing stats on social media usage. There are 4.6 billion global users, driving a 10% increase in participants in the last year alone. The average user engages with social media for almost two and a half hours per day and accesses more than seven different platforms.
Our own social media addictions, and those of the younger generation, require the franchising industry to pay close attention to the direction we’re headed from here. Here are our picks for five social media trends to watch in 2022.
1. The (creator) economy
The stars of the social media universe are its creators and influencers, who make up the creator economy. Boosted by the popularity of these creators and brands seeking to partner with them, it’s become one of the fastest-growing marketing ecosystems.
Franchise marketers should take note of this phenomenon. Considering the sheer amount of social media content flooding our feeds every single day, just becoming a breakout star is a worthy accomplishment. Not only have these creators attracted audience numbers in the tens of millions, but the successful ones have developed a real knack for connecting with target markets — even ones that are difficult to penetrate. Franchisors would do well to investigate their own partnership options within the creator economy.
2. Getting to the point
For those unfamiliar with the sport of professional bull riding, participants must stay atop two tons of an angry animal for eight seconds to earn a scored ride. And guess what? That’s the same amount of time you have to catch someone’s attention these days. Behavioral scientists have determined this statistic, which shows that humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish!
Franchise marketers have now been provided with updated parameters for sharing their brand messaging. But if this narrow window of opportunity seems like an impossible task, take heart. As any bull rider can tell you, eight seconds can feel like a lifetime.
3. Don’t sleep on LinkedIn’s influence
What started as “Facebook, but for business” has been picking up steam in recent years. With almost 700 million user accounts, LinkedIn is becoming a B2B Paradise. Approximately three million users are sharing content weekly, amounting to nine billion impressions. Some estimates show that as much as 80% of B2B leads come from the LinkedIn platform.
As a professional brand builder, LinkedIn can be an effective tool for franchise leadership. The platform continues to expand its capabilities with video, creator-themed tools and new targeting options for lead generation. Use these tools to expand your LinkedIn corporate reach and network.
4. Expect lots of quick, random action
Most of the leading social media platforms have rolled out their own version of short-form video content, as many studies reveal twice as much engagement as static photos. Millions of social media users fell in love with TikTok’s quick random action videos, forcing platforms such as Instagram and YouTube to develop their own 30-second or fewer versions. They go by the monikers “Reels” and “Shorts,” but regardless of the name, they’ve become an effective way to engage with target audiences.
Many franchise brands have begun experimenting with short, impactful testimonials from their franchisee’s perspective. It’s expected that this trend will remain a relevant part of the marketing spend in 2022.
5. The rise of relatability
It’s no secret that a majority of consumers increasingly prefer to connect with brands that generate relatable content. Brands that use social media to share their own values, character and persona will be seen as authentic and trusted. Quality matters over quantity, with analytics helping brands to regulate the optimal cadence for sharing new content. Find the human side to your brand and develop strong storytelling features.
2022 can become the year that brands dig a little bit deeper — sharing what it really means to be part of their franchise family, but in a relatable way.