Social media marketing is an ongoing challenge requiring brands to react to shifting audience behaviors and proactively adapt to trends that are in constant motion. This year has been a transformative year in the world of social as we watched consumer trends fluctuate, new technology launches and emerging platforms grow. The rate of change across social media apps sees no sign of slowing, forcing marketers to brace for what’s in store in 2023.
While the marketing landscape is full of uncertainties, there are social media trends marketers can count on during the next 12 months – all based on consumer expectations, social engagement with younger demographics and current KPIs driving brand success. As we near 2023, we predict the following five trends are most likely to impact social media marketers.
The rise of the “customer influencer”
We’ve long been saying influencer marketing will continue to play a more important role in marketing campaigns and the data has proven this to be true now more than ever. Companies of every size have leaned in, cooperating with influencers to help drive brand awareness and substantially lift online sales. We watched the footprint of microinfluencers grow, but what about micro microinfluencers?
Authenticity is such a powerful force with customers. Brands don’t always need to pay out of pocket for materials that can make a real impact on their KPIs. In 2023 we will see more brands embrace word-of-mouth marketing, using social media as a vehicle to source user-generated content (UGC) from customers.
Marketers have seen UGC drive 29% higher web conversions compared to campaigns or websites that fail to leverage UGC. For brands, it’s a no-brainer to use the treasure trove of real-life testimonials. Not only does this save valuable time and resources (as content is plug-and-play) but it shines the spotlight on a brand’s most loyal customers while helping prospective buyers make informed purchasing decisions.
Brands will tap into emerging social platforms
Remember the Clubhouse craze? Part of social media marketing is all about experimentation. If you don’t try new formats, new platforms, or new trends, you’re already out of the loop. Not every test will work, but that’s exactly why it’s a test. With the success of TikTok and overall, Generation Z online behaviors, brands will become more confident in dipping their toe into emerging platforms.
BeReal is a great example of an up-and-coming platform with a lot of promise. Like TikTok, when the app debuted brands were skeptical. But for the early adopters, the effort paid off. We’re already seeing creative strategies with brands like Chipotle who are using BeReal to offer exclusive promos and discounts. This is just the start. More brands will look to apps like BeReal to grow their Gen Z community, taking an authentic approach to marketing.
Customers will turn to social for care
The pandemic forever changed the way customers interact with brands on social media. One of the most significant shifts brands experienced were the number of customers that turned to branded social accounts to address their customer service questions and needs.
Social customer care has always been a component of social media marketing but had previously remained mostly in the shadows. But with lockdowns and travel restrictions of 2020, the invisible cloak was removed as brands realized they were unequipped to meet customer expectations without a diligent social customer care strategy. Not only has this trend remained firmly in place for the last two years, brands also will increasingly see more customers turn to social media platforms for service-related issues.
In fact, a recent Emplifi survey indicated that two out of three consumers prefer to use social media during the buying process to ask questions, make purchases and seek post-purchase customer support. The report findings emphasize just how important it is for brands to harmonize the way customer support and social media marketing teams interact to provide the best customer experience possible.
In 2023, we predict brands will leverage new technology like live video streaming to deliver quality service to customers straight from social media apps. Customers will be able to receive the same expert advice they would get in-store from the comfort of where they are. Brands like Orbit Baby already have experienced success after integrating live-streaming into their social media care strategy. As more customers demand immediate responses from brands online, we’ll see this trend take root long term.
Video will (still) dominate
Marketers have been hearing it for years: “Video is the No. 1 content format brands need to leverage.” In 2023 this will still be the case, but fortunately for brands, it will be the scrappy, unpolished clips that attract audiences. Brands can ditch high-budget campaigns featuring celebrities. Instead, they will pick up a cell phone to record and edit their content experiences in-app. Instagram Reels are a prime example of less-polished, more authentic content paying off. Brands are publishing more Reels because they are seeing measurable results. According to a recent study, the interaction count for Reels was almost 40% higher than for traditional videos.
Even more enticing for marketers, the burden of video content creation doesn’t need to fall on in-house teams or agencies. More and more content creators are turning to platforms like TikTok to showcase products, giving brands an abundance of UGC to use in campaigns. With hashtags like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt growing to 32 billion views, it’s clear TikTok content has become a perfect fit for influencers and users to share their experiences in an engaging way. Brands will take this a step further in 2023 and get savvier about partnering with video-first influencers who can help amplify messages relevant to audiences while helping scale production.
Brands will invest more in TikTok advertising
Brand success on TikTok will not be isolated to UGC. The platform is doubling down on revenue generation with more digital advertising opportunities. As a relatively new platform, TikTok is seeing tremendous results owning the title of the world’s fastest-growing media app, and has experienced in-app consumer spending to the tune of more than $2.5 billion. Boasting nearly 30 million daily active users globally, it’s no wonder that brands are beginning to explore the TikTok’s potential – not only in generating brand awareness but in its ability to contribute to the bottom line.
The brands that have tapped into TikTok advertising are already seeing promising results. According to a recent study conducted by Triple Whale, brands increased their spending on the platform by 231% in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same time period the year before. And even more impressive, the same study found that direct-to-consumer brands leveraging TikTok were generating $1 million to $5 million dollars in revenue.
In 2023, we will see an increase in the number of brands and industries putting more of their digital advertising budget towards TikTok, which will in turn drive more innovations on the platform and lead to more TikTok marketing opportunities within the digital advertising space.
To be successful in 2023, marketers will have to roll with social media trends rather than fight against them. Authenticity will rule all aspects of marketing and serve as the primary ingredient that makes a good ad campaign great.
The rise of UGC and organic low-maintenance video will play an increasingly dominant role in the digital space as audiences shift away from flashy celebrity-endorsed campaigns. Instead, audiences will continue to gravitate towards real-life influencer content experiences, consumer reviews and customer testimonials.
Brands will be able to stretch their budget even further as a result, building stronger connections with audiences and gaining more reach across social platforms. The good news: Brands have ample opportunities to make their mark in the year ahead – it’s a truly exciting time to be a marketer.
Zarnaz Arlia is the chief marketing officer for Emplifi, the leading unified customer experience (CX) platform. She has a strong track record of building global businesses and bringing new products to market with the ability to link business strategies to customer adoption. Previously, Zarnaz held senior marketing leadership roles at Sitecore and Adobe.
Subscribe to SmartBrief’s free newsletter to get the latest marketing news and insights direct to your inbox.