After the year the world had in 2020, no one really knew what to expect in 2021 as vaccines became available and the landscape of the pandemic changed. Now that the year is drawing to a close, we know how things turned out: COVID still has an outsize presence, but life is becoming a bit more normal in many places as more people are vaccinated and less likely to become extremely ill. From a marketing standpoint, the state of the world will have a huge impact on the industry in 2022. As marketers, context matters. 2022 opens with new variants, a lack of vaccines in many areas of the world, and vaccine suspicion among many groups. Marketers need to understand the psychological impact of these realities when developing their strategies. So, what are people really looking for in digital marketing, and how can you create a winning social media strategy in the coming year? Let’s take a look at some of the latest trends and opportunities within the marketing space. Influencer Marketing Wins (Again) We’re much more likely to buy products recommended by someone we trust—it’s just human nature. And thanks to the internet, that social circle has grown a whole lot in the last decade or so. Today, modern, online influencers wield a huge amount of power in the marketing world for their ability to connect with people and effectively promote brands that align with their values. In addition to building trust with their audiences, the true power of successful influencers is in their storytelling ability. Leveraging storytelling helps influencers bridge the gap between a sponsored post and a sale. By partnering with the right influencers, brands can look forward to a range of benefits, including $5.20-6.50 in ROI for every dollar spent, high-quality customers, and better engagement on social media to build brand awareness. If you haven’t invested in influencer marketing yet, make it a priority in 2022. Even B2B companies are beginning to enjoy the benefits of this lucrative strategy. Leverage the Power of Technology to Get More Done With more tools available than ever before for marketers that leverage the power of artificial intelligence to automate repetitive tasks and free your time up for high-level strategy. In a fast-paced market, you have to keep up with the trends and be very strategic about where and how you allocate your marketing budget in 2022. Speaking of strategy, now that easy-to-use marketing and business analytics tools are readily available to businesses of all sizes, there’s no excuse for strategizing on intuition alone. Knowing as much as you can about your customers’ habits will allow you to tailor your campaigns and figure out what they want from the brands they love. Place Your Focus on the Whole Experience As time goes on, marketing becomes more “holistic.” Long gone are the days of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) based on keyword-stuffing awkward phrases into a click-bait “article” that offered no value to the reader (thank goodness!). Today, search engine algorithms are much smarter and try to provide searchers with the most helpful search results, rather than relying on keywords alone. What this means is that SEO is more integrated and content marketing success is more about the whole experience. If marketers focus on creating a great experience for the person on the other side of the screen, they will be much more successful. It can take some of the pressure off of activities like SEO, but it also requires more thought and intentionality. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity If you spread your budget too thin by targeting too many different platforms, you’re likely to end up disappointed in your results. The internet is a crowded place and it’s hard to get noticed for the right reasons. Instead of trying to do everything, pick the most promising platforms and focus on your strategy for generating results in those areas. It’s always tempting to market to everyone. But as any seasoned marketer knows, when you market to everyone, you usually end up marketing to no one. Crafting your message for a specific audience and a specific platform will yield better results in the end. Get Ready: VR and AR are On the Horizon With Facebook’s parent company branding itself “Meta” in 2021, it signals that big things are on the horizon for the marketing industry. Although it will probably be a while before small businesses can access the power of virtual and augmented reality in marketing, it’s good to be aware of what’s coming and how it might affect audiences. Keeping one eye on the future while focusing on the present can be a challenge. But when it comes to marketing, you can’t afford to keep doing the things you’ve always done and expect to grow your business. In 2022, you need to consider what your audience expects as you strategize and place your business in the context of the world we live in now.