What about our trends? In March 2020, we resisted, thinking that all the restrictions were temporary. By 2021, we began to guess that we were stuck there for a long time and started looking for pluses in that new position.
What can PR people expect in 2022? How to promote business in the new reality? Maybe the isolation hasn’t affected everything? So many questions…
- More and more events are taking place in a mixed format.
Fortunately, we are no longer in 2020 and offline events are not canceled every day. Back then we lost a lot of newsbreaks and opportunities, for example, to discuss the stars’ outfits at the Met Gala or cheer for our favorite teams (and promote ourselves on their uniforms) at The International or EURO.
Now offline is slowly returning to our lives, but online events are still very much in demand. And they are unlikely to cease to be. More and more conferences, trainings and courses (in general, everything that can take place online) are now going in a remote or mixed format.
Many speakers enjoy the opportunity not to go anywhere and take part in different events without moving physically. It means a lot to PR. For example, it enables experts and brand ambassadors to participate in more events without geographical restrictions. In general, every cloud has a silver lining.
- More people are online
Now it can be seen with the naked eye that more and more people are trying to develop a personal brand in social networks, trying to fit into the already overflowing barrel of expertise, thoughts and online stores. Yes, competition has increased. No, it’s not the end of the world.
The trend for online communication encourages new applications, teamwork organizers and social networks to constantly appear in pursuit of diversification and reader attention. Everybody wants to be everywhere.
The audience is no longer growing, but the content is. In order to stand out in the flood of beautiful photos, stylish videos, and witty texts, brands need to put in more and more creative effort. But in this crazy competition, real SMM masterpieces are sometimes born.
The main thing is to think about what positioning is the most suitable for your audience and build a PR and SMM strategy around it.
- Audience dispersion
It is impossible not to mention the trend towards the dispersion of the audience across different platforms: Instagram, Telegram, YouTube, VK, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Odnoklassniki, Zen, Habr, plus numerous niche portals and communities. All of them share the audience, depriving each other of the network monopoly.
It makes sense for brands to keep this trend in mind and create content for different social networks in order to reach the maximum number of segments of their audience. If it is not possible to create unique materials every time, at least just post the same content on different sites. Such a simple technique will also help to protect the business from the now fashionable trend of blocking Western sites in Russia. Words fail here.
- Users prefer video content
Ideally, videos shouldn’t be too long. TikTok is doing a great job with this. Its format is actively being adopted by other social networks: Instagram launched Reels, and YouTube designed Shorts.
- Freelancers are starting to dominate the digital market
Perhaps no sphere has remained the same as in pre-Covid times. The lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 showed employees and employers that life outside the office exists. Even vigorously and productively.
Many went further and switched to a completely piecework format. Indeed: why pay a person a regular salary if his/her services are required several times a month? And why should employees sit idle in the office when they can take several interesting projects and work on them in a comfortable mode without losing (or even gaining) in salary? This trend is only starting to gain popularity, but it’s likely to grow stronger over time.
- Good content writers are in great demand
Authors are the best advertisements of Internet sites. They not only fill the digital space with useful and exciting content, but also attract their audience to the platform. Good authors willingly go where they can gain followers and monetize their content. Social networks began to understand this, so in 2021 they introduced sponsorship subscription tools.
This was always understood by Pavel Durov, who actively contributed to the creation of public pages in VK long ago. The authors of these communities had the opportunity to earn money, and the entire Internet life was flourishing. The same thing is happening now in Telegram with its numerous author channels.
- Shopping is embedded in social networks
For several years now, social networks have been competing with online stores for traffic and screen time. So far, the latter still hold the lead in this fight, but perhaps soon online stores will begin to lose ground.
Almost all social networks are actively working on the ability to sell goods and services directly within their platform, without going to third-party sites. In May 2020, Facebook introduced the Shops service for creating online stores within Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Last year, Russian companies also gained access to Shops to create a single, customized online storefront directly in social networks. And in August 2021, TikTok and Shopify announced the launch of TikTok Shopping, a social commerce platform that will enable in-app shopping and make it easier to find products. This feature is currently only available in the US, Canada and the UK, but it should soon appear in many countries around the world, including Russia.
- Identity Crisis Has Found Its New Peak
People ask more and more questions about their belonging to groups, equality in the world, respect for the rights of minorities and the environmental agenda. Now all eyes are on brands. The audience is eager to know the position of companies on certain social issues. And God help them if they say something wrong.
Few people in Russia haven’t heard about the scandal around VkusVill in summer or the unpleasant story of Dobroshrift in September. To be fair, it should be noted that in Russia such reputational troubles so far do not hit sales very hard. But we all know that in our country, over time, all Western trends are picked up. I think that in the near future such sensations will create many more problems for companies. Or maybe completely remove them from the market — depending on how lucky they’ll be.
- The trend for emotions and openness
A topic closely related to the previous paragraph. Public confessions, expressing a personal point of view on some event or phenomenon — this is what the audience wants now. People look for sincerity, empathy, and the ability to empathize in others.
Now it has become important who is behind the brand. What principles does the company follow? Does it have a mission? Brands are unlikely to ignore this demand. And this is wonderful: consumption is indeed becoming more conscious.
- Critical analysis of information
Analysis and the evidence base take on a new meaning. No one says that it was unimportant before, but now people are especially ready to read primary sources, dig archives, check evidence.
The time of fake links in chats is passing — Internet users are ready to read voluminous scientific studies even in foreign languages and look for interviews cited by telegram channels or TV presenters. And again, this is great. The more quality content — the more smart users!