The world of social media runs fast and evolves constantly. On the one hand, social networks are constantly launching new options and tools. On the other hand, brands and users have increasingly diversified needs. Understanding and being aware of all these changes is key to make the most of all the tools provided by the various social platforms out there. Read this article to discover the 5 social media trends to watch out for in 2023.
2023 promises to be a year full of challenges but also of important opportunities for social media marketers. Last year, most restrictions related to the pandemic came to an end and new economic dynamics emerged, but we also faced – and are still facing – a very delicate economic situation, marked by rising inflation, a decline in consumer spending, and shrinking labour force in major industrial sectors. This has made things precarious for companies of all sizes.
In spite of this climate of uncertainty, however, the trends we are about to present suggest that social media managers and marketing teams are still going to have many irons in the fire and several new opportunities to seize. The budgets available for marketing and communication seem to be sufficient to cope with the year ahead and professionals in these fields are more confident than in the past of achieving good returns on investment (ROI). Social profile management and planning software developer Hootsuite surveyed 10,643 industry experts from 109 different countries and 11 different industrial sectors to identify what will be the main social media trends of 2023. Let’s see what they are about.
Table of contents
New opportunities to enter the creator economy
In this climate of uncertainty, big brands are rethinking their marketing and communication strategies and their related expenses. As mentioned in the introduction, in 2023 marketing teams are expected to have sufficient budget to cope with the whole year, but they will have to decide where to focus their resources. One of the first items that will be dramatically reduced are partnerships with creators and influencers.According to Hootsuite’s survey, in fact, micro influencers said they are receiving fewer job offers than in the past from large companies. At the same time, such a decrease could give small and medium-sized companies a better chance to access the creator economy, although at the moment the content creator industry does not actually seem to attract smaller businesses.
Indeed, only 28% of small companies (1-99 employees) rely on creators. The larger the business size, the higher this percentage: 35% of medium-sized firms (100-999 employees) said they collaborate with creators; for companies with more than 1,000 employees, this percentage rises to 42%.
Respondents stated that costs and price volatility were the main obstacle for starting a collaboration with creators. The lack of price standardisation makes it extremely difficult to monetise the work of influencers. In order to cut some of these costs and have more leeway in negotiations, Hootsuite’s survey showed that less than a third of brands (28%) that collaborate with creators rely on third-party agencies or platforms.
Another aspect to note is that, contrary to what one might think, working with influencers is not that expensive: interviewees stated that most creators are paid less than $100 per post.
This is why the reduction in larger brands’ budgets for collaborations with creators, together with certain practices such as approaching creators directly without relying on external agencies, can enable small companies to enter the so-called creator economy in 2023.
Cross-posting may not be the right strategy
It is plain for all users to see that social platforms are continuously evolving to become more and more standardised, gradually losing their identity and the functions that made them popular in the first place. Take Instagram, for example. Originally created to share real-time snapshots (in 1:1 format) with one’s network of friends, today the social media owned by Mark Zuckerberg has almost completely left the photo format behind to focus on videos, namely Reels, copied from Chinese social media TikTok. The same can also be said of Stories (temporary content lasting up to 24 hours), which originated on Snapchat and were then repurposed on Instagram, Facebook, and even LinkedIn.
Such a continuous evolution and standardisation of platforms brings quite a few problems for social media managers who, in addition to having to constantly adapt to the new formats launched by the platforms, must also understand how to convey content in the right way. Because, while it is true that formats are the same on every platform, most users have on average more than one social account and do use each of them for different purposes. In fact, over 84% of TikTok users are also on Facebook and almost 88% of Twitter users also have an Instagram account. However, Facebook is used to stay in touch with one’s circle of friends, Twitter to keep up to date with the latest news, and TikTok and Instagram for entertainment and fun.
This is the reason why it is not only crucial to pay attention to trending formats, but also to capture the attention of users by offering them unique and diverse experiences. In other words, reposting the same content on different platforms is not the optimal strategy to engage the audience. However, only 18% of marketers create different posts to be published on each platform. More than 50% of the respondents to Hootsuite’s survey said they publish content on multiple social platforms with as few changes as possible.
Cross-posting saves a lot of time, but it does not necessarily lead to the desired results. Marketers are also aware of this, as they claim to be much more confident of achieving results when they create different posts for different social networks.
In 2023, social media managers will therefore have to focus more on creating content adapted to the peculiarities of each individual platform.
Social commerce is in decline but not over yet
A few months ago, we wrote an article about a phenomenon that seemed about to change the global e-commerce landscape: social commerce or livestream shopping. Also due to the pandemic and the impossibility of going to physical shops, in 2020 users started to rely on the main social networks and their favourite influencers to make purchases.
Although this phenomenon exploded in China, where sales exceeded $350 billion, it soon landed in North America and Europe as well, where in order to counter Chinese competition, marketers devised new strategies to make money through social media and platforms made new services and function available. However, contrary to expectations, consumers in Western countries did not show much interest in this technology. Meta thus decided to remove its Live Shopping function on Facebook and affiliate marketing tools on Instagram, whereas TikTok scaled back its activities devoted to the development of e-commerce functions, delaying the launch of live shopping options.
There are many reasons for this failure. They mainly concern scepticism about product quality, fear of falling victim to data leaks, and doubts about return and refund policies.
In contrast to consumers’ answers, at the same time, 37% of marketers surveyed stated that the main concern for users was the need to enter payment information on major social platforms.
If they wish to gain trust and overcome user scepticism, marketers will have to work to make return policies as transparent as possible, facilitate refund options, and offer sound after-sales assistance. Only once perceived as trustworthy and serious will they have a chance of turning users into buyers.
2023 will be a pivotal year in deciding the future of social commerce. Certainly, the backtracking by all the major platforms will discourage many companies from investing in their social displays. The retreat of most brands, at the same time, could provide the ones that decide to keep their shops active on social media with more space and visibility.
Social media as new search engines
When we talk about SEO and search engines, we immediately think of Google. Although there also exist Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and several more, for decades Google has been regarded as the safest and most reliable search engine to search for accurate information of any kind. However, things are changing and it is no longer the other search engines that compete with Google, but rather social media.
The new generations, in fact, tend to choose a restaurant to dine at or a place to go on holiday no longer by relying solely on search engines, but by surfing social platforms. The same goes for staying up-to-date in real time on what is happening in the world, but also for discovering new brands and products. Indeed, especially when it comes to discovering new brands and products to try, comparing prices, and making decisions on where to buy, statistics show that 50% of users aged between 16 and 24 use social media as their main search engine.
At the moment, this is only a small segment of the audience, as users over the age of 25 still prefer search engines to obtain information on brands, products, and services. The transition from the web to social networks will be a long, generational process. In 2023, it is therefore advisable that marketers continue to focus on all the opportunities that search engines offer while, at the same time, beginning to master the basics of social search optimisation. How?
- By optimising company profiles/pages and making them attractive to visit.
- By choosing clear profile photos and biographies that intrigue users.
- By using alt text to describe the content of their images, thus facilitating accessibility for vision-impaired users and helping search engines index the pictures.
- By adding geotags to their posts so that any content shared can be geolocalised.
Automation for good customer service
The pandemic has contributed to changing the entire sales process and the way consumers and companies interact. During the lockdown periods, in fact, for most companies the web was the only means to stay in touch with their customers and continue selling their products. For this reason, all efforts and resources in terms of money and time were devoted to offering excellent online customer service. With the lifting of restrictions and the return of most shoppers to physical shops, some brands have reduced (in some cases dramatically) the energies they devoted to their digital channels. However, even though we have returned to pre-pandemic normality, consumers, now used to high-quality assistance, feel neglected and demand first-class customer care – both offline and online.
Fortunately, the digital world comes to our rescue by providing us with automation solutions that provide great customer service through chatbots and artificial intelligence tools that can quickly handle consumers’ frequently asked questions (FAQs), without increasing headcount. In particular, social platforms and messaging apps are one of the preferred channels for consumers to receive immediate assistance.
Therefore, to be successful in 2023, companies will have to commit to offering a greater balance between their customers’ offline and online sales experience, using not only traditional services such as website forms, call centres, or emails, but also social media. However, according to Hootsuite’s survey, few companies (only 26%) are currently using social networks and instant messaging apps as their main customer care tool.
Moreover, about 49% of companies entrust customer service exclusively to their marketing and communication departments, although only 21% of marketers claim to feel truly prepared to perform this task. In the current year, social media managers will therefore have to focus not only on optimising their companies’ social profiles, but also on enhancing their customer service skills, in order to provide potential buyers with an optimal all-round shopping experience.
Despite the delicate economic situation the whole world is facing, marketing is still considered a necessary activity for companies to continue promoting their activities, services, and products. Social media marketers will therefore have to work hard in 2023 to continue to prove that social media are no longer just simple tools used by people to share photos and videos and keep in touch with their network of friends, but rather actual corporate channels that allow improving brand awareness and sales.
Choosing the right content creators and influencers, exploiting social commerce features, reaching new potential customers through a good social SEO strategy, and providing excellent customer care service should be key points in their strategy for 2023.
What do you think of these trends? Tell us your opinion in the comments and ask us how we can help you create an effective social media marketing strategy!