Social Media

2021 Social Media Round-Up & 2022 Social Media Predictions

2021, the year where TikTok dominated the trending charts and the emergence of the Metaverse and NFT’s got our social tails wagging. Despite leaving life in lockdown earlier in the year, our social media consumption and screen time continued to surge. 

With the emergence of new platforms, updates to existing ones and brands continuously churning out content, there’s been a lot to unpack from 2021. 

The VERB social team have picked their top trends from last year and predict what’s going to be big on social in 2022. 

  1. TikTok Continues to Takeover 

57% of TikTok users say they’ve watched fewer TV and streaming services since downloading the app 

(TikTok, 2021)

It’s hard to believe that a few years ago we were dubious as to whether TikTok would ‘catch on’. Fast forward, it’s now completely dominating the social space, influencing our purchase decisions and sending songs to the top of the charts. TikTok has left the other big social platforms scrambling to keep up, made obvious by the continuous emulation of their updates. 

Firstly TikTok’s full-screen, sound-on video format is seeing competitors like YouTube and Snapchat launch their own versions with YouTube Shorts and Snapchat Spotlight, not to mention Instagram and Facebook Reels.

They say copying is the biggest form of flattery and we could quite literally, Reel off the TikTok updates that have quickly gone on to be duplicated by Instagram – TikTok launched Duets, Instagram released Collabs, TikTok hosted live stream shopping, so did Instagram…

TikTok is certainly showing no sign of slowing down. Last year we saw an influx of luxury brands wanting to launch on the platform. Consumers are wanting authenticity more than ever before and this is the platform for luxury brands to share relatable and more playful content. 

An example of this was when Stella McCartney generated awareness of their new summer collection by jumping on the TikTok trend, “Tell me it’s summer, without telling me it’s summer.” This saw creators dressed in the new collection whilst playing out summer activities like melting ice cream and wearing sunglasses. By promoting their organic content with in-feed ads, they amassed 8,000 new organic followers and grew their organic presence on the platform. 

  1. Video Domination 

Video content was hugely important in 2021, most likely due to TikTok’s success prompting the other social platforms to also focus on this format and we expect this to continue throughout 2022. 

The surge of Instagram Reels for example was massively prioritised within the platform’s algorithm and within the Explore Feed to encourage further production. We trialled this format for one of our luxury property brands where we created a Reel showcasing one of their London properties. From posting this Reel we saw +600% in organic reach compared to static image posts. This also had a knock-on positive impact on their follower growth and engagement. We saw 39% higher engagements compared to other non-Reel posts and a 26% increase in follower growth on the day we shared the Reel compared to the other days that month.  

  1. Social Commerce 

One in four online purchases are now made via an interaction with a social media platform 


It’s no secret that social platforms are pushing their shopping capabilities with a host of new shopping tools, from live shopping events and a dedicated shopping tab on Instagram to in-app shopping and product links (similar to Instagram’s product tags and stickers) on TikTok. In December of 2021, TikTok even launched a gift guide with all of the trending products featured on its popular ‘TikTok made me buy it’ hashtag throughout the year. 

Social media has always been a place of inspiration for purchases and that was amplified further during the Covid 19 pandemic. While brick and mortar stores were closed, shoppers were unable to browse, view and try products in person and so social media platforms and brands alike were happy to oblige to be the new digital showroom in order to drive purchases. 

  1. The Metaverse 

‘NFT’s could account for 10% of the luxury market by 2030’
(Morgan Stanley) 

Following on from shoppable social, how could we not mention NFT’s? Which are bringing a whole new meaning to luxury shopping. 

Last year, we saw digital goods become increasingly popular with 8% of global social media users investing in them. NFT’s have introduced the notion of status to the digital landscape, seemingly fitting for luxury brands. Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Gucci have already dived into the world of non-fungible tokens to promote their brands and we predict more luxury brands will follow suit in 2022. 

How does social play a part in this? Firstly, they can gain value through social platforms. Tweets and memes sold as NFT’s have achieved virality on social and therefore increased their price. Secondly, as mentioned earlier, social platforms are pushing their commerce capabilities so the sale of NFT’s could be facilitated here too.

Whether social platforms facilitate the sale of an NFT or determine their value, they’re definitely going to play a huge role in 2022.   

  1. Social Media Activism  

The majority of consumers (70%) believe it’s important for brands to take a public stand on social and political issues 

(Sprout Social) 

In 2020, we saw a rise in social media activism, which continued into 2021 and showed no signs of stopping! Long gone are the days where brands actively shied away from speaking up. It is now somewhat expected and encouraged of brands to speak out and act on social issues. The key to doing this well is authenticity – if your brand is going to speak on an issue, do it meaningfully with action otherwise consumers will perceive you as opportunistic and insincere. 

A luxury brand that stood out in 2021 for a socially-driven campaign was Tommy Hilfiger, who continued their ‘Moving Forward Together’ campaign, centered around topics such as sustainability and diversity. They partnered with learning platform, FutureLearn to offer a series of free digital learning courses hosted by their ambassadors to cover topics like LGBTQ+ and allyship. They also hosted a series of live talks on their social channels to show their commitment to driving social change. 

Tommy Hilfiger’s authentic approach to social causes is not going unnoticed as they become a brand known for leading by example.

  1. Remember Clubhouse?

Clubhouse began to make a bit of noise earlier last year and while it seemed to be the platform of the moment with its exclusive invite-only mechanic being the only way to get in on the audio action, the hype certainly didn’t last. While brands aren’t rushing to be on the platform, social audio apps could still be ones to watch with Twitter Spaces and Discord making way. 

Social audio options are also available on Instagram. In March of 2021, Instagram upped the number of accounts that could ‘go live’ together. Participants can then turn off their video or mute their audio to create an experience comparable to Clubhouse. 

While we can’t completely dismiss Clubhouse just yet with interest around the app being proven by the likes of Elon Musk breaking the room number limit and 40k users joining the post-Adele Oprah room, we doubt it’ll be the platform luxury brands will be investing in this year.  

What’s to come in 2022? 

Social media consumption is showing no sign of slowing down. With increasing shopping possibilities and more video content expected to be popular and prioritised on platforms thanks to TikTok, how will brands stand out?

Audiences want to be surprised. In the saturated social space, luxury brands need to take a stand on social and political issues and talk about the things they care about. They need to think outside the box in terms of the campaigns they activate, the partnerships they form and the talent they work with. 

And yes, we’re in the Metaverse now and we predict luxury brands to be the first to venture and make noise in this new and immersive virtual reality universe. 

Get in Touch
At VERB, we have a team of experts who specialise in social media execution and management. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some support, get in touch here. We would love to hear from you!