ProfCon Recap: Top 2022 Social Media Marketing Trends to Bring into the Classroom

Keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in social media can be a challenge. Strategies and cultural expectations in online spaces can change overnight, leaving busy professionals scrambling to stay current. To help educators stay abreast of these developments, Stukent hosts ProfCon, an annual conference that closes the gap between industry and academia.

Michelle Charello, author of Stukent’s “Essentials of Social Media Marketing” courseware, discussed new developments in social media marketing at ProfCon 2022. In her one-hour session, Charello addressed how social media is evolving, including topics such as influencer marketing, the creator economy, social commerce, augmented reality, and more.

If you missed Charello’s presentation, “Top 2022 Social Media Marketing Trends to Bring into the Classroom,” you may watch it on demand via the Stukent Webinars Library. Or, read on for a recap of Charello’s insights!

Influencer Marketing and the Creator Economy

“COVID-19 and its associated lockdowns really caused a shift in how people use social media,” says Charello. “And as a result, influencer marketing skyrocketed.” From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, influencer marketing has become a staple for marketing departments in a post-lockdown world. 

Over the last few years, digital marketers have realized there’s an incredible ROI in asking niche influencers to pitch their products to audiences. Authenticity is always a trend in social media, and smaller influencers with more authority tend to exert more influence: “In the past, millions of followers ruled the game,” says Charello. “But now, it’s really about engagement; it’s about connecting with those niche audiences and those who can create a genuine connection with that engaged audience.” 

In short, today’s creator economy is booming. The creator economy consists of online content creators, curators, and community builders — many of whom want to help brands connect with their audiences.

“The creator economy today is an estimated 100 billion dollar industry with over 50 million creators worldwide,” says Charello. “And it’s primarily driven by Generation Z.” The creator economy has revolutionized how brands approach marketing — creators now consult on marketing campaigns and provide insights on how brands should communicate with their audiences.

In 2021, content creators earned a significant amount of income, even if they were only creating content part-time. Nearly half of all content creators are full-time, 42% are part-time, and 10% are hobbyists. “There’s no one type of content creator,” Charello says, “and there’s no one type of content that performs best; however, the top creator types include educators, bloggers, and coaches; followed by writers, designers, marketers, authors, and podcasters.”

As for the top channel for engagement? Instagram. Charello also spoke about the power of TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn for content creators.

Many of the trends Charello covered in her ProfCon speech appear in the 2022 edition of her “Essentials of Social Media Marketing” courseware, which will be available in August. You can learn more about Charello’s groundbreaking courseware here.

Charello also provided ideas for influencer marketing and creator-branded content assignments. Her revised courseware features detailed versions of the activities outlined in the image below, including the Influencer Marketing TikTok Hashtag Challenge and Creating an Influencer Marketing Strategy for a Brand.

Screenshot of top 2022 social media marketing trends presentation from Michelle Charello

Social Commerce

According to Charello, “Social commerce taps into the power of people and community, and it weaves the shopping experience into our everyday lives. … A person’s entire shopping experience from discovery to purchase takes place on social media.” Social commerce is not click-through social media ads that take customers to a brand site — rather, these e-commerce transactions are content, experience, and network-driven.

“Social commerce is going to grow three times as fast as traditional commerce,” says Charello. “[Brands need to take this seriously], or they are going to be left behind.” Today, 10% of all e-commerce spending is done via social commerce. This number is expected to reach 17% over the next three years.

Millennials and Generation Z are driving this growth, and their demographics are expected to account for more than 60% of social commerce spending by 2025. 

So, what are social media platforms doing to address this trend? They are rolling out new features such as in-platform stores, shoppable videos, in-app catalogs, live shopping, and more. In particular, top social commerce platforms like Facebook and Instagram are developing robust tools to support brands and businesses. According to Charello, “Facebook had 56.1 million buyers in 2021” via the Facebook Shops and Live Shopping features. Snapchat, Pinterest, and TikTok also have social commerce tools that brands can leverage, such as augmented reality technology, catalogs, shoppable tags and posts, and more.

Social media platforms are evolving to “become online retailers for brands,” says Charello.

If you’re teaching social media in the classroom, Charello has provided assignments to help students build their awareness of social commerce and explore how to implement it in their marketing campaigns. For more information on how to implement social commerce in the classroom — including assignments and updated data — please see Charello’s “Essentials of Social Media Marketing” courseware.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is becoming mainstream, creating immersive experiences on social media via filters, lenses, games, live events, and better shopping experiences. “Leading platforms like TikTok and Snapchat … are leveraging augmented reality for live events [and] shopping experiences, as COVID-19 drove many retailers to reinvent how customers try on and try out products,” says Charello.

Charello highlighted a partnership between Snapchat and Shake Shack, where an AR element turned an ordinary customer experience into something extraordinary: Snap Shack. For four days, Shake Shack augmented one of its NYC locations with AR experiences that relied on Snapchat’s lenses to engage and inspire customers. In the video, Jay Livingston, CMO for Shake Shack, says, “AR is a new way of delivering hospitality. It’s a new way of delivering experiences and engagement for guests.”

Check it out!

Additionally, Charello provided an AR assignment to implement into a social media course.

Social Audio

During the pandemic, users flocked to social audio platforms such as Clubhouse. “There’s compelling evidence that suggests that some of the elements of social audio will endure,” says Charello. “It seems like the future is really in connecting to niche audiences and in audio events.”

LinkedIn, in particular, has seen considerable gains in the social audio space. “[LinkedIn] increased 150% year-over-year,” says Charello. “And they launched their own Clubhouse-like audio events platform which enables users to tune into live discussions, participate by raising their hand virtually, and join as a speaker.” 

As for the most popular strategy for hosting a social audio event? Livestreaming a thought leader.


Podcasts “have really risen to the forefront,” says Charello. “Today, there are over 2.5 million active podcast shows and 65 million episodes.” Podcasts provide very “sticky” content, where 85% of listeners will consume all or most of an episode.

In 20222, brands are capitalizing on influencer-led podcasts to market their products. “Listeners regard [influencer-led podcast] hosts as credible, and they’re more responsive to hearing advertisements from someone they see as [trustworthy],” says Charello. In fact, “63% of people purchase what the podcast hosts promote, which is an incredible return on investment.” There’s even a podcast network known as Ramble, which is home to some of the most popular podcasters on the internet.   

When it comes to influencer-led podcasts and advertising:

  • 69% of listeners say that podcast ads made them aware of new products or services.
  • 49% of listeners say they believe podcasts hosts use the products and services they recommend.
  • 50% of listeners had a more positive reaction to the brands they hear mentioned.
  • 65% of listeners pay attention to ads.
  • 60% of listeners searched for a product after hearing about it on an episode.

Additionally, global brands like Southwest Airlines and McDonald’s use podcasts to tell engaging, behind-the-scenes stories of the things that happen at their companies. These podcasts give consumers insights into brand culture, processes, and more.

If you’re teaching social media, try challenging your students to create a podcast! Charello has provided an assignment template to use in class.

Social media is constantly changing. “The only constant in social media is that it’s not constant,” says Charello. “Adapting to the ever-changing social media trends can set students, marketers, and businesses apart in a crowded field.” And with Stukent, you have a partner in keeping your curriculum up-to-date with all the emerging trends, strategies, and best practices in the social media industry.

For more information about Michelle Charello’s newly revised “Essentials of Social Media Marketing” and its accompanying simulation, Mimic Social, schedule a demo with a Stukent course consultant today!

ProfCon 2022 was a three-day academic conference held from June 15 – 17, 2022. Each year, ProfCon presents actionable tips and strategies for marketing, business, and communications educators to use in their classrooms. To watch full sessions on demand, visit the Stukent Webinars Library.

To learn more about Stukent’s revolutionary courseware and simulations or get FREE instructor access to our products, visit our website.

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