Social media trends seem to turn over faster than what’s “in fashion” or what song’s at the top of the Billboard charts. But with how social media marketing, commerce, and engagement have progressed—especially since 2020—there are a few trends that we are certain will hold true as we enter the new year.
1. It’s all about authenticity.
The pressure for more authenticity has grown progressively stronger over the past several years. People are increasingly critical of false advertising, photoshopped images, paid influencers, empty promises, purchased followers, and all things phony. Consumers are more concerned with a brand’s purpose, story, behind-the-scenes practices (i.e. transparency, ethics, sourcing, etc.), and people (both how the brand engages with its customers and what hiring looks like within the company).
When it comes to social media, brands are turning into content creators; social channels aren’t just about advertising anymore, but about providing additional value to customers. Micro and nano-influencers with niche audiences will take the place of A-list celebrities who often feel insincere promoting products on their channels. While follower count used to be the impressive statistic, now engagement is the true metric of a brand’s social success.
Additionally, customer service will remain a key component for brands on social media. Staying on top of comments, mentions, and direct messages, maintaining an authentic brand voice, and ensuring customers feel heard and valued will be as important (if not more-so) than churning out content. In 2023, storytelling, emotive marketing, brand purpose, transparency, and customer service will remain top priorities for brands who want to cultivate a loyal audience.
2. Social media is the new search engine.
Move over, Google. Social media is the new search engine for everything from “makeup dupes” and “heatless curls” to “cryptocurrency” and “sheet pan recipes.” Apps like TikTok and websites like Reddit have gained popularity—especially amongst Millennials and Gen Z—as platforms that feel more veritable and less infiltrated by sponsored ads. Just like with Google, it’s critical for brands to maximize their SEO on social media channels. Utilizing accurate and strategic keywords and hashtags and understanding each platform’s unique algorithm will help ensure you don’t get lost in the sea of content.
3. Video is queen—but keep it short!
The success of TikTok has posed a threat to other social channels who have now adopted short video features (think Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts). As peoples’ attention spans seem to shrink (especially amongst younger audiences) and engagement remains key (i.e. watching videos to completion, view count, etc.), shorter videos garner a higher retention rate and perform better in terms of SEO. Our advice? Keep videos succinct and dynamic and save any extra (but still necessary) information for the caption.
4. Social commerce is the new shopping mall.
More and more social media platforms are launching shop features where users can make purchases directly in the app (rather than a link taking the user out of the app and to a brand’s own website). Social commerce benefits both apps and brands. Social commerce keeps users engaging with the app longer and also makes it more convenient for them to make a purchase from a brand they’re interested in. Last year, social commerce sales accounted for $958 billion dollars, and the 2023 outlook shoots up to $1,253 billion dollars. How can brands take advantage of this push towards social commerce? Optimize your in-app shops to ensure the most efficient shopping experience for both you and your customers.
While these predictions make sense based on what we’ve seen and experienced over the past twelve months, it is MOST important for brands to stay flexible and adapt to new technologies, trends, and preferences when it comes to social media. Holding on too tightly to any one modality is a surefire way to get left behind as the tides continue to turn. Our best advice? Explore and invest in those areas that make the most sense for your brand (see our blog What Social Media Platforms Does Your Business Need?) and target audience. And be open to the ebbs and flows of the ever-evolving (and ever-exciting!) digital landscape.