Evolve or get left behind. Here are the top small business marketing trends for 2022.
If you’re working on your marketing plan for 2022, we’ve got you covered.
Each year, we round up the top 10 marketing trends to keep an eye for the upcoming year – with a focus on applying those trends at the small-business level.
Ready for some spoilers? TikTok’s not going anywhere. Personal and social values matter more in business than ever. And marketers’ top-choice for effective content marketing is the same as last year.
Learn how to update your 2022 marketing strategy with these powerful and accessible small business marketing trends.
10 Small Business Marketing Trends For 2022
1. Emotional Intelligence & People-First Values
It used to be that only “hard skills” mattered in the workplace (i.e. an accountant’s ability to crunch numbers, a photographer’s ability to edit images, etc.). But 2021 solidified a shift that was a long time coming. Today, it’s also just as important to create a culture of “soft skills,” such as the ability to empathize with others, communicate emotions effectively, and navigate office stressors in a healthy way. It’s not just what you do that matters but how and why you do it.
“Empathy is no longer a luxury but a powerful skill for normalizing life and work challenges. You don’t have to know or share the whole story of an employee’s situation (or yours), but recognizing moods or behaviors and addressing them with care is appreciated,” Patrick Williams shares with Forbes.
Alex Draper adds: “Business owners need to create a people-first workplace, or risk losing their best team members. Small-business owners need to create a set of workplace values with their teams and ensure that managers, especially, lead with those values every day.”
How does this affect your marketing strategy? Today’s consumers want to purchase from brands that align with their values. They don’t just care about the products or service anymore; they care about the culture that produces it, too.
2. Social Responsibility
The same cultural shift that’s put empathy center-stage is also calling for another emotionally intelligent trend: social responsibility in business. Why is social responsibility being considered a marketing must-have in 2022?
“Because with the current state of things, social responsibility, ethics, and transparency matter to the modern consumer,” writes Pamela Bump for Hubspot. “The interest in buying products from socially responsible brands really took off during the many global events of 2020 and 2021.”
To join a movement that feels good and does good for your business, John Hall of Inc. Magazine suggests engaging nonprofits as part of your marketing plan.
“More and more, consumers are looking to support companies that have a mission or give back in some way. This trend is only going to increase, and a well-rounded marketing plan should take part in this development by partnering with nonprofits. This partnership opportunity has the potential to not only grow your business, but also align you with philanthropic missions that are important to you.”
3. Personal Branding
As transparency and intention matter more and more to consumers, one strategy that really helps position your brand appropriately is personal branding. Think about it. If no one knows the face behind your brand, how can they trust it? Personal branding might have started as one of the most effective small business marketing trends, but today it’s an essential branding choice that cannot be ignored.
“I find that small- and medium-business owners kind of hide behind the business brand and choose not to show who they are or show themselves as being vulnerable and human,” shares Sahar Andrade with Forbes. “The only loyalty you can get as an owner is through the emotional engagement that comes through your authenticity and being genuine, showing the human side behind your business and showcasing you and your employees.”
Rieldeal Marketing adds: “Gone are the days where having a solid business brand is enough. We don’t anticipate the importance of personal branding to stop; instead we expect this to rise to the next level in 2022.”
4. Marketing As Education & Leadership
If you do decide to build your personal brand this year, don’t stress over what to share. All you have to do is let go of what you thought was marketing – and step into a place of teaching and leadership. Your audience wants to learn from you. They want you to lead them from where they are to where they want to be. That’s the goal of your marketing content in 2022 – not to simply sell your product over the competitor’s.
“It used to be that a marketer was just somebody who would sell products, but now they have a different role,” David Cullinan writes for Entrepreneur. “They need to educate and work with consumers, rather than just trying to push them into buying something.”
Kelsie Rimmer of Envato adds: “Instead of using your marketing solely to push your products or sell services, brand storytelling harnesses marketing materials and channels to share stories, and show customers who you are and what you stand for. By revealing little snippets about what your brand is all about … your audience will stop seeing your business as a faceless entity and, instead, connect with the people behind it. The more they get to know who you really are, and like it, the more their loyalty to your business will grow.”
In 2022, it seems all marketers agree on one thing: Embrace video.
“The last 18 months have significantly accelerated the use of video to prospect, sell, serve and meet with people across the globe,” explains Antonio Garrido in Forbes. “Everyone has a phone, tablet or laptop within arm’s reach, and we are just a click away from engagement – video is the new ‘new’ thing, and it’s popularity will only increase. Make a start.”
Hubspot agrees: “In HubSpot’s 2021 Not Another State of Marketing Report, video marketing was the most effective marketing format. And, this year, that hasn’t changed at all. When looking at the most effective content strategies, video marketing performs above blogging or even email marketing. Video will remain the top marketing content format.”
And the numbers add up. In fact, 83% of marketers who’ve used video say it helps them with lead generation and leads directly to sales, according to a study by optinmonster.com. Plus, viewers spend 100% more time on website pages that contain video, according to MarketingSherpa, and they are 85% more likely to purchase a product after watching a video about it, according to Internet Retailer.
6. Influencer Marketing
In 2022, Forbes predicts that influencer marketing will evolve from a trend to a common marketing tactic for businesses and brands of all sizes, and if you’re not in on this marketing strategy yet, it’s time to get started.
“How and why has influencer marketing gone from an intriguing trend to a commonly-used marketing tactic? Well, influencers are often masters of the platforms they use and the field or topic they talk about,” explains Bump. “They already have an audience that is engaged and interested in their content, and influenced by the information they provide.”
But influencer marketing isn’t just for corporations and national brands with massive budgets. Over the years, it’s become a viable model that can be modified to fit any size business. For example, more than 56% of marketers work with micro-influencers, who have a small but incredibly loyal and organic following. Some marketers argue that micro-influencers (i.e. regular people) offer a higher level of trust and engagement than even a celebrity endorsement – because it’s more real.
“Because micro-influencers are still considered “everyday” people (unlike hard-to-reach celebrities), their audiences are actually more likely to trust their opinions and recommendations,” Bump explains.
How can you make influencer marketing work for a local marketing campaign? Think of it like networking that happens in the digital world. Find well-connected, well-respected people in your community who are willing to try your product or service. Who are the people who hold influence over your target clients? Of your current clients, who brings the most referrals? Who has given you an amazing testimonial? Who is so happy with your brand that they just help but talk about it? That’s your influencer.
Though it might seem intimidating at first, search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital part of modern marketing. Here’s why: You can spend all the time and money you want creating amazing content, but if it’s not seen by anyone online, then it’s not going to be very effective.
SEO can be a complex, layered marketing strategy that takes a lot of time and effort to master, but if you don’t have the kind of resources for that level of SEO, then start by getting the optimization wherever you can. For example, if you write a blog post, focus on one keyword or keyphrase to use in your headline and throughout the post. If you post a photo or video on your website, add your keywords to the metadata in the image, or the description of the video. Simple steps over time can add up to big results.
In fact, optimizing your visual content – photos and videos – is going to be even more impactful this year, as Google continues to prioritize audio/visual content in its search results.
“As marketers, we must ensure that our websites and content are as discoverable as possible — especially on Google — which can provide both long-term and short-term traffic returns,” Bump explains.
8. Branded Audio Content
Podcasts were the audio form heard around the world in recent years, but the audio medium has become even more popular with the development of new branded audio platforms that are expected to grow in 2022.
“In the summer of 2021, marketers were perplexed by Clubhouse – an invitation-only audio chatroom app that quickly gained millions of users without publishing any visual content,” Bump writes. “And, as Clubhouse took our field by storm, platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook unsurprisingly rushed to start investing in, testing, and/or launching similar features.”
But Clubhouse is just the latest development in audio, as podcasts are continuing to be a main form of content in people’s lives. In fact, 76% of active listeners consume more than 7 hours of episodes each week, according to a podcast trends report by DiscoverPods. And it gets even better: 38% of listeners say they’ve purchased products or services mentioned on the shows they listen to, according to Statista.
9. Short & Entertaining Content
Short-form content has quickly become the most coveted form of social media content this year. Think reels on Instagram and, of course, TikTok videos. These super-short, super-entertaining forms of content are engaging to the point of being addicting, as well as being more accessible and easy to create. They get to the point at lightning speed and usually get a few laughs along the way. It’s easy to see why TikTok has become such an instant sensation.
“Brands have been trying to untap the true power of TikTok ever since it first began to go viral three years ago,” Bump explained. “Now, with well-over 1 billion global users, TikTok has positioned itself as an app for a wide variety of audiences and marketers. It’s also begun to launch a number of new advertising and marketing features for businesses of all different sizes.”
As brands continue to figure out how to leverage this ultra-popular platform, we will continue to see the larger lesson it offers: Short and engaging content is king right now.
10. Permanent Posts
Just as short-form content continues to increase in popularity among users, it also presents a particular challenge for marketers. One of the most ubiquitous kinds of short-form content is a Story, which can be found on Facebook, Instagram and more. Stories, however, are not permanent. They last for 24 hours before they’re gone. And that’s a problem for most marketers.
Ephemeral content, or content that disappears from the platform unless it’s saved or archived, is falling low on most marketers’ list of effective strategies this year. Yes, Stories can lead your audience to a permanent post on your feed, creating more awareness for the post, but they’re not necessarily a strong stand-alone content choice.
“If you’re focused on the bottom line and generating solid ROI, ephemeral might not be the best strategy to lean into,” Bump writes. “However, a mix of ephemeral and permanent content can often be the best of both worlds as it gives brands the urgency and engagement of temporary content, as well as the steady engagement, longer-term brand awareness, and discoverability of social media content that doesn’t disappear.”
When looking for more permanent content, opt for traditional photo posts, IGTV videos, or even the relatively new Instagram reel.
Visual Marketing In Santa Clarita
Did you love these small business marketing trends? At SchlickArt, we offer more than photography and video services to the Santa Clarita area and beyond. We do our best to provide our clients with marketing expertise and direction every chance we get. We know you need your images and video to help grow your business — that’s why you invest in them, and that’s why we do, too. Please take a minute to search through our blogs to find the visual marketing information that will help your business. Not sure how to implement some of these small business marketing trends? Give us a call. We’re happy to help!
About SchlickArt Photography and Video
SchlickArt, a boutique photo and video studio in Santa Clarita, started in March 2012 with the simple idea that empowerment creates a kind of beauty and authenticity that shines through every camera lens. Built on a philosophy — rather than a product, service or person — SchlickArt has rapidly evolved, meeting professional portraiture, business photo and business video needs as diverse as the community we capture. It’s the desire to take care of you, the client, that drives us at SchlickArt.