The world around us is constantly changing — it only makes sense that the marketing world does too.

Every year, marketers pull out the crystal ball to predict trends and shifts in the coming year. Sometimes we're right on the tail — and other times the social media marketing landscape surprises us.

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Here, we'll cover 5 social media predictions marketers got wrong in 2021 and strategies for making better predictions in the future.

5 Bad Social Media Predictions of 2021

1. The TikTok craze will reach its peak.

Despite threats of being banned in the U.S. — and actually being banned in India — TikTok continues to defy the odds and grow at a steady rate. In fact, the app hit a remarkable milestone at the end of 2021 — one billion monthly active users.

Despite its popularity, some marketers may have dismissed TikTok entirely, reducing it to a platform for lighthearted dances and lip-synching. However, it's become a viable option for brands willing to get creative with their digital marketing. So much so, it launched TikTok for Business in 2021, allowing marketers to create and manage ad campaigns on the platform.

Need more convincing? According to the HubSpot Blog's survey of 1,000+ marketers, a whopping 85% cited short-form videos (like those on TikTok) as the most effective social media format in 2021. In fact, more than half of marketers (52%) plan to increase their investment in TikTok this year.

It's not too late to leverage TikTok in 2022. Check out this helpful guide on how to get started.

2. Facebook will become obsolete.

We've all heard the jokes about Facebook's aging audience — and there is some truth to it. A recent study found that Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok were the platforms of choice for Gen Zer's, with Facebook falling into 6th place.

But we can't write off Facebook just yet. It still pulls over 1.5 billion daily active users, making it the most popular social media platform worldwide. It largely holds sway with millennials, the biggest demographic group on the platform.

When it comes to social media marketing, Facebook packs quite a punch. According to HubSpot Blog's survey of 1,000+ marketers, Facebook led the pack as the platform with the highest ROI and engagement in 2021. It's no surprise that 25% of social media marketers plan to invest more in it than any other platform in 2022.

From these stats alone, it's clear Facebook is still a booming business for digital advertising. With its expansion into live video, along with Facebook Shops and Stories, marketers can also experiment with new ad formats in one central location.

3. TikTok will become the preferred platform for influencer marketing.

Despite its popularity, TikTok fell short when it came to influencer marketing in 2021.

Instead, the title belongs to Instagram, which was ranked the platform of choice for inking deals with influencers. So much so, a staggering 97% of marketers plan to increase their investment in influencer marketing on Instagram this year.

Our survey also revealed influencer marketing as the most popular trend with the biggest ROI in 2021. The most notable reason for this uptick is an increase in micro influencers. Micro influencers provide smaller, highly-engaged audiences without the hefty price tag of a mainstream celebrity — making this type of marketing more accessible to a variety of brands.

Want to try your hand at influencer marketing but don't know where to start? Check out this handy checklist.

4. Audio chat rooms will yield huge ROI

2021 saw a wave of live audio apps — including Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces. We were all intrigued — was it a viable marketing channel? Could this content go viral?

It turns out, audio chat rooms were great for engagement but not so much for ROI. According to our survey, Clubhouse fell to the bottom of the list regarding ROI. Further, 15% of marketers plan to decrease their investment in audio chat rooms this year.

However, there's a redemption arc — despite having low ROI, many marketers report high engagement rates. If your social media marketing goals are to boost engagement and brand awareness, these audio apps could be the secret ingredient. In fact, 44% of marketers plan to leverage podcasts and audio-based content for the first time this year.

5. Remote events will lose steam as we return to the workplace.

Most people — myself included — thought the workforce would finally return to the office in 2021. But this prediction was a little premature.

Instead, many workplaces have adopted a hybrid work model where employees can work in-office or remote. This could become a permanent arrangement — 51% of organizations are considering a move to hybrid work in a post-COVID world.

As a result, remote and hybrid events are here to stay, and marketers must adapt. 64% of marketers plan to increase their investment in live video and streaming — like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live — in 2022.

How to Make Better Social Media Marketing Predictions

In the marketing sphere, trends move in light years. As marketers, it's essential to make predictions to equip ourselves for the future. Here, let's cover three ways to make better social media marketing predictions:

  • Keep up-to-date: A great forecaster keeps a pulse on new trends and technology. When making social media predictions, staying informed in small — but frequent — bouts is better than in an end-of-year rush.
  • Cast a wide net: Seek out a variety of sources for your news. In doing so, you're more likely to get a holistic view of the current climate. Further, you may discover contradictory information — which may call for a second glance.
  • Know your biases: We all have biases — and recognizing them is half the battle. Confirmation bias, in particular, can heavily influence how we make predictions. This is the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of an already existing belief. To prevent this, you'll need to seek differing viewpoints that challenge your assumptions. It's also important not to jump to conclusions, which creates a false picture of the marketing landscape.

The only constant in the marketing world is change. As a social media marketer, the best thing you can do is stay current on trends and tech, seek out new opinions and viewpoints, and identify trends in your own marketing.

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Originally published Jan 17, 2022 7:00:00 AM, updated January 17 2022

Topics:

Social Media Marketing