What’s hot on Facebook? What’s cool? Is it even called Facebook anymore? you wonder, gently stroking your chin in deep, social media-savvy thought.

Facebook’s frequent updates, algorithm changes and new features can be tough to keep up with. But with 2.91 billion users, each spending an average of 19.6 hours a month reading, watching, liking, scrolling and commenting, it’s stuff you need to know.

Here are the top Facebook trends you need to stay on top of when building or refining your social media marketing strategy in 2022.

Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.

10 of the most important Facebook trends in 2022

1. The Metaverse is the new kid on the block

Picture this: it’s back-to-school time. Facebook shows up late to class, rocking a different haircut and futuristic-looking shoes. They say they spent the summer on a transformative retreat, and now they’re all about living life in 3D. Oh, and they go by “Meta” now.

That’s Facebook’s transition to Meta — if it were a terrible teen drama, of course. The name change (which applies to the company, not the social network itself) is representative of Mark Zuckerberg’s new focus on the metaverse. This new way of connecting is a virtual 3-dimensional augmented reality world with new opportunities for socializing, gaming, exercise, education, and more — Meta’s CEO explains all here.

Initial stats on the interest of Meta aren’t promising (Statista found that 68% of adults in the U.S were “not at all interested” in Facebook’s metaverse project in November 2021) but hey, change is hard. Facebook has invested $10 billion into Meta, so we’re keeping an eye on what’s coming next. So far, it’s tough to tell whether this new kid is going to be cool or not.

2. Reels are a real moneymaker

Facebook Reels are available in 150 countries, and according to the company, the new Facebook video format is “the fastest-growing content format by far.”

Reels are everywhere: in Stories, on the Watch tab, at the top of the home feed and suggested throughout the Facebook news feed. The attention-grabbing clips aren’t just a spectacular way to lose an entire afternoon—they’re a way for creators to make income on the platform.

Facebook Reels cooking video

Source: Facebook

Creators can monetize public Reels with overlay ads (as long as they’re a part of Facebook’s in-stream ads program). Overlay ads show up in front of Reels, so viewers can see the entire Reel and the ad at the same time. The two kinds of Overlay ads Facebook currently has are banner ads (which appear along the bottom ) and sticker ads (which the creator can place in a stationary spot on the post—like, you know, a sticker).

When more people view and engage with a monetized Reel, the creator makes more money. According to Facebook, the max you can make is $35,000 a month. Not too shabby.

Not sure how to manage your Facebook ad spend? These 2021 Facebook ad cost benchmarks will help you understand what’s possible within your budget.

3. Groups are more central and easier to manage

2022 has already brought along some great news for brands using Groups as part of their Facebook marketing strategies. The company redesigned the Groups tab back in 2019, giving quick access to Groups to all users (and reminding you you really don’t need to be in “Office Birthday Gift for Frank 2014” anymore—too much drama). Since then, the platform has put even more emphasis on Groups as a way to connect.

In March 2022, Facebook announced “new features to help Facebook Group admins keep their Groups safe and healthy, reduce misinformation, and to make it easier for them to manage and grow their Groups with relevant audiences.”

These features include giving admins the ability to temporarily suspend people from Groups and to automatically decline incoming posts.

Facebook Groups manage admin assist

Source: Facebook

In the same announcement, Facebook shared that Group admins now have the power to invite people to join Groups via email, and Groups now have QR codes too—scanning one takes you to the Group’s About page. Facebook Groups are also an awesome resource for building your business (more on that here).

Download the full Social Trends report to get an in-depth analysis of the data you need to prioritize and plan your social strategy in 2022.

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4. Consumers are turning to Facebook for information about brands

Hootsuite’s 2022 trend report found that 53.2% of global internet users ages 16-24 use social networks as their primary source of information when researching brands. That means that most of the time, Gen Z isn’t turning to a company’s website to learn more about who they are, what they offer or how much it costs—instead, they scroll through their socials.

younger generations use social network as primary source of brand info

Why does that matter? Gen Z’s buying power is growing, and they’re predicted to be the largest consumer base in the U.S by 2026. In order to tap into that audience, brands will need to keep their socials active and updated. For Facebook, that means creating a business page (here’s how to do it) and optimizing it to be informative and user-friendly.

US Gen Z digital buyers and penetration 2020-2025

Source: eMarketer

5. Messenger is a go-to tool for social commerce

Not only are consumers turning to social media for brand information: they’re also using it for quick communication. No more emailing info@verycoolpants.com when you’re wondering about whether or not the working conditions in their factory are also very cool. Instead, you can shoot them a direct message.

According to Facebook, consumers say that being able to message a business makes them feel more confident about the brand. Messaging is a timely and personal way to connect with a business, and aligns that business more with the “social” world than the business world—you’re communicating using the same platform you use for casual chats with friends, instead of sending an email or going into a store.

Lucky Shrub using messenger for business

Source: Facebook

And while Messenger is really convenient for customers, it can be a hassle for businesses—if you can’t keep up with your DMs, it’s easy for messages to get lost or ignored accidentally.

Tools like Hootsuite can help with that. Hootsuite’s Inbox gathers all of your company’s comments and DMs in one place (and it’s not just for Facebook–our inbox can also be used for Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter. You won’t have to search through your profile or use Facebook’s built-in inbox for answering customer questions: Hootsuite rounds ‘em up for you.

Another useful platform to add to your messaging arsenal is Heyday. Heyday’s conversational AI platform has a Facebook Messenger integration, meaning you can use Heyday’s very smart, automatic messaging system to communicate with consumers without having to answer every DM individually. Think of it like a slow cooker: turn it on, let it do the work and check back in to find… meatballs! (Or, you know, a sale.)

6. More businesses (and consumers) are using Facebook Shops

Since the introduction of Facebook Shops in 2020 (towards the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many physical stores around the world were closed) big and small businesses have had an official method of selling on the platform. By June 2021, Facebook Shops had one million monthly global users and 250 million active stores worldwide.

So, the social commerce side of Facebook continues to grow. Some brands report that sales are 66% higher on Facebook Shops than on their own sites. You can even use Facebook to send and accept payment (hello, Facebook Pay) for your business, and to send money to friends or charitable causes.

7. Live shopping is on the rise

Live shopping is Facebook’s answer to consumers who want a more interactive experience—and to businesses that want to show off their products in action. Facebook is the second most popular platform in the world for this type of content, and companies are cashing in on the folks who like to experience content in real time.

Facebook Live Shopping summer beauty tips

Source: Facebook

In addition to being more engaging than a run-of-the-mill ad, Live Shopping gives companies some major authenticity points. Putting a face to your brand makes you more likely to capture the attention of scrollers, and humanizing your account is always a good thing (it might be ironic, but the very virtual world of social media always values content that comes across as very real).

It’s hard to get more transparent (or vulnerable!) than in live video content, and this can help boost sales for your products.

8. Pandemic-boosted Facebook Live is staying strong

Facebook Live isn’t just for shopping, of course. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform’s live videos allowed folks to broadcast news, events, and even concerts safely from home. And even with the pandemic sitch improving and the return of in-person events, many folks continue to turn to Facebook for live, virtual videos.

US social video viewers live content statistics

Source: eMarketer

As of November 2021, Facebook was second only to Youtube when it came to live video streaming (obviously, the mighty and well-established Youtube has quite the grip on video watchers everywhere).

9. Facebook is buckling down on “harmful content”

As fun and uplifting as social media can be, there’s always trolls, bots, and that aunt you try not to talk to at family dinners. (Yikes—who knew a Minion meme could be so inflammatory?)

The internet is famously difficult to regulate, but according to Facebook’s 2021 Community Standards Enforcement Report, the prevalence of harmful content on Facebook decreased in some areas thanks to “improved and expanded proactive detection technologies.”

In Q4 of 2021, the company took action on 4 million pieces of drug content (up from 2.7 million in Q3), 1.5 million pieces of firearm-related content (up from 1.1 million) and 1.2 billion pieces of spam content (up from 777 million).

hate speech prevalence on Facebook versus Instagram

Source: Facebook’s 2021 Community Standards Enforcement Report

Facebook also reported a teeny-tiny decrease in hate speech between 2021 and the previous year (don’t let this extreme-looking graph fool you—the scale is very small). This is in part due to advances in artificial intelligence—a reinforced integrity optimizer, improved personalization and the Meta-AI Few Shot learner.

The company’s seemingly tough policy on harmful posts is far from perfect, though. For example, Facebook notes that its “smart” technology flagged a ton of content centered around Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2020. The 2021 report says that Facebook is “working to improve the accuracy of enforcement on health content, including content related to breast cancer and surgeries” and that there was “significantly less overenforcement during last year’s [2021’s] Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

10. Facebook Marketplace is a tool for buying local

As of January 2022, Facebook marketplace ads could reach a potential 562.1 million people—that’s a lot of online shoppers. And while Marketplace is often used by individuals to sell used furniture or ill-fitting clothes bought in a much-regretted online shopping spree, it’s also a great platform for U.S. businesses selling new products (and can be used for auto and real estate in certain countries).

So what’s the difference between Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Shops? Really, it comes down to location—in general, consumers are searching Marketplace for items available in a certain geographic area. Most marketplace transactions involve the consumer picking up the item in-person, which is not as common in the kind of e-commerce transactions made through Facebook Shops.

In other words, if you’re looking to shop local, Marketplace is a good place to start.

Overall, 2022 Facebook trends are all about social commerce and social responsibility—making it easier for brands to connect with consumers, for consumers to connect with brands, and for all users to have a more robust and positive experience on the app. Advances in AI technology are making the virtual world more and more like the real world. So meta.

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