The 6 C's of Social Media for 2022
It’s the season for next year’s predicted trends to make the rounds. And these are great resources to have and use, but because they’re so broad and generic, they also lack individuality. And individuality is important on busy social media feeds.
When working in agriculture, it’s easy to feel like the mainstream and status quo trends miss the mark. Less than 2% of the population works in production agriculture. When your business is serving that small percentage, it doesn’t feel so small, but it also doesn’t feel as broad as some of the generic trends you’ll read about. So, let’s break down the mainstream trends to make them applicable to your audience.
Most of the mainstream social mediatrends for 2022 can be categorized into 6 Cs. If we look at trends and break them down by HOW and WHY they work, we can turn reading about what’s coming into having a plan for success designated for your target audience.
The 6 actionable Cs for 2022 trends are:
communities, creators, collaboration, confidence, content and commerce.
To start, we need to look at how social media reaches a community vs. only reaching a target audience. Your social media following is not your whole community. Agriculture is a community. A community is a larger representation of like-minded individuals who come together and bond over similar interests (personal and business), to have meaningful interactions with each other. In other words, your community is much larger than your following or page likes (or target audience/customers) –in fact, some key individuals in your community may not follow or even know who your brand is.
For a real-world example, if your business sells livestock feed/supplements, then your community isn’t only those who raise livestock; it also encompasses veterinarians, livestock nutritionists, geneticists, meteorologists, animal scientists, implement dealers, and many more –whether these individuals are direct customers to your brand or not. It’s important to know what is going on it your community and not just your target audience –because in real life off social media, what impacts in one area often carries over to multiple areas. This is more apparent recently in the pandemic. Delays in manufacturing and shipping have caused domino effects on other related goods. If your buyers can’t get the needed implements or equipment to use your product, then promoting your latest product really isn’t a benefit and only adds frustration.
The solution to knowing your community far and wide is to invest in social listening, subject matter experts, and influencers within your community you may not have a direct sales/service relationship with. Not only do they offer valuable insight into what is happening in your community outside your specific area, they likely have a broader audience, increasing your brand’s reach. Not everything on social is transactional and there isn’t always a dollar amount or sales equivalent to good social media engagement.
One way to be a strong advocate and voice in your community is to pay attention to creators. Sometimes these are known as influencers, brand advocates or paid partnerships. No matter the title, when it comes to social media content creators use their voice to reach a following and audience who already trust them but may not know who your brand is, or they may be aware of your brand but the content creator adds weight, credibility and influence. It’s important to understand some of the biggest and most influential content creators may not be a direct purchaser of your products/services –but keeping in mind what a community is, means they could add value to your brand or business. Identifying who the creators for your community are requires social listening and monitoring, and paying attention to what is happening within your community, topics of discussion, events and trends.
Leveraging or working with a creator is known as collaborating. And if your brand isn’t collaborating with prominent voices in your community, who are you collaborating with? If you think you can do it all alone, then maybe it’s time to relook at metrics and algorithms. To make it in your audience’s feed today, you need help beyond just paid content. You need those creators who already have your audience’s attention.
You likely won’t shift your audience, so why not capitalize on where they already are? Collaborating with community leaders and even your brand’s competitors and other businesses in your community can help build trust and reach. Not everything in social is about sales, and trying to compete in an area or category another brand already exists can backfire. Instead, look for ways to collaborate or join in. One example of this is Burger King encouraging orders at McDonald’s for a specific cause.
Paying attention to your community, who the leading content creators are and seeking ways to collaborate socially without sales motives, increases confidence in your brand. The past two years have shown the importance of brand confidence and trust. And that has added weight on social media. Users have actively shifted away from brands who look too polished or perfect on social. When there are more unknowns in peoples’ lives, they seek reassurance from what they feel they can trust. Social media should be in the moment, and this doesn’t always allow for long-form and perfected campaigns. It doesn’t mean don’t use strategic campaigns; it means mix in real-time interactions with overarching communication campaigns. Don’t let the fear of not being perfect on social decrease your brand’s trust on social.
You’ve heard content is king before. And this is still true. But for 2022, your content needs to add value and show collaboration with creators in your community for added confidence. Performative content on social media doesn’t get a brand far. Your community needs to see your brand in action, they also aren’t going to stop to read your post in a busy social feed unless your content offers them some form of value.
That value may be a laugh, information, a provoking thought, confirmation, or it can even be sales related to offer a discount. Yes, there can still be sales and transactions on social media – they just need to be strategic and your content shouldn’t always be about making a deal nor feeling like a product brochure for your brand.
To successfully incorporate sales on social media in 2022, you need to make sure you’re incorporating social commerce features. Shoppable media is how more millennials and gen Zers shop online than Google searches. When social media platforms are competing for ways to keep users on their platform vs. clicking to another site, the algorithms are very friendly to social commerce. Additionally, social media users continue to be accepting of social commerce content when it is separated from “every day” content.
Your audience and community understand social media is a business. And while users don’t want your social media feed to become your sales brochure, they are receptive to integrated social shopping and using the features of paid content. Social commerce is social. Use of groups, forums, and communities to research/promote products and compare notes all have a direct impact on your business whether you’re participating or not – because if you’re not, another brand is, and is likely converting sales away from your products/services.
Social commerce sales for 2020 in the USA were about
with more than half of purchasers