From authenticity and sustainability to marketing and legal departments linking up, these social media trends are poised to take 2023 by storm.
Here, you’ll find:
- How social media content is evolving
- Ways to take advantage of the latest social media trends
- How authenticity is becoming more important than ever for brands
- What forms of content are going to be most popular in 2023
Few things make me feel more ancient than having to Google a meme or social media trend because I simply don’t “get it.”
It makes me, a humble millennial, feel like this:
As a millennial marketer, I’m pretty good at staying on top of the latest social media trends, but I have to admit that sometimes new memes and platforms (or the latest TikTok trend) leave me feeling clueless.
Such is the world of social media trends: They quickly go viral and then fizzle out. Social media managers need to keep their fingers on the pulse, and with so many social platforms to keep track of, that can quickly become draining.
But it’s also true that social media marketing (SMM) is a crucial channel for almost every business. As such, staying up to date with top social media trends helps give your business a competitive edge.
Let’s take a look at the top social media trends we expect to shine in 2023 and examine how they can affect your paid social campaigns.
1. Transparency and authenticity
The last few years have seen a rollercoaster of pivots in consumer behavior. Everything from the global pandemic to economic uncertainty changed how people interact with brands. And one social media trend we see across industries is that transparency and authenticity in your content help you connect with people.
In 2023, people demand utter transparency and authenticity from brands. Flimsy and half-hearted efforts won’t cut it. Social media users will see right through you.
The active users you want to engage with want the companies they buy from to address current cultural, environmental, and political issues. On the flip side, insincere efforts can be quickly exposed, with things like greenwashing receiving strong backlash from the public.
Your brand, therefore, needs to work harder than ever to focus your social media messaging on the current issues.
Previously, brands shied away from taking a strong stance on social issues for fear of alienating a particular audience. In 2023, more brands will take a public stand about the values and behavior they endorse, and this will help them connect with people who share those values.
Ben & Jerry’s is a prime example of a brand that addresses global issues on social media. Ben & Jerry’s social channels contain a wealth of information and creative content centered around its ethical programs and sustainability initiatives.
Not only that, but they also use social networks as a platform to shine a light on and share their stance on political and societal issues such as racism, women’s rights, and protecting the environment.
Document the ways that your brand is moving toward more ethical business practices. But avoid making over inflated claims or exaggerating the impacts of your actions.
Create behind-the-scenes content about your business. This could be your production process, examples of creating a more sustainable workplace, or content centered around your employees and positive work environment.
Create content that takes a stand on issues that are important to your audience. People appreciate brands that draw attention to issues they care about.
2. Forget what you thought you knew about Gen Z marketing
Gen Z is becoming an important audience for many brands, but many need to learn how to market to them. One of the major social media trends we hope to see in 2023 is brands throwing out their Gen Z playbook and looking to build deeper, lasting relationships with this audience.
But how will you do that? By gaining a deeper understanding of what’s important to young consumers, you will become empowered to launch carefully-crafted social media campaigns that really make an impact, boost engagement and gain lasting, loyal customers.
Some things to think about when creating social media content for Gen Z are:
- Gen Z’s favorite search engine is TikTok. You can use this platform to create informational content to build brand awareness.
- The return of long-form content. We always hear attention spans are getting shorter, but according to Google, Gen Z loves long-form content — especially video.
- The rise of the micro-influencer. Social media personalities with smaller follower counts (between 1,000-5,000) have strong connections with their audiences and a lot of influencing power.
- Welcome to ‘edutainment.’ Educate and entertain — this should be the key goal of your content. We dive deeper into this in trend 5.
Magnolia Duell, a lead strategist at HawkSEM tells us, “[TikTok] is a channel that not many brands are actively testing, which allows for major cost efficiencies for advertisers, especially in a testing period when you want quick, statistically significant results.”
Focus on creating informational content that provides valuable insights, answers questions, and goes into detail about the topic. But Duell urges us to keep in mind, “If brands don’t have content creation capacity and aren’t willing to push the needle with their creativity, this is not the platform for them.”
Put your social media influencer marketing budget towards collaborating with smaller influencers with higher engagement over larger ones with greater reach.
3. Short-form video still reigns supreme
While Gen Z is loving long-form content, short-form is still the gold standard. From TikTok vids to Instagram Reels to paid social ads, videos are everywhere across social media. And it’s not only IG and TikTok that are video-focused. Facebook, Pinterest, and others also have their own video features.
The global average for video consumption is 84 minutes per day. That’s a big chunk of time. And when you get your social media video strategy, you can carve yourself out a piece of it.
YouTube is the latest social media network to get on board with YouTube Shorts.
According to Sprout Social, 93% of social media marketers who use video say that it’s an essential part of their social media video strategy. It’s important to know that short video is 2.5 times more engaging than long-form video. Plus, you don’t need a huge budget or Oscar-worthy resources to create your own video content.
You can create a bulletproof short-term video strategy that doesn’t dip into your marketing budget. Building on the authenticity trend, you can make your videos on a phone and include employees rather than investing in a massive production.
Follow these 5 steps to get started creating good short-form video content:
- Build your plan
- Leverage free or budget-friendly software and tools
- Determine the goals of your content
- Create a video strategy
- Analyze the video metrics
4. Social selling will continue to grow
Over the past couple of years, social selling has started to grow – because it works. According to Optinmonster, 78% of salespeople engaged in social selling are outselling their peers who aren’t.
The social selling approach means marketers and sales reps can now view social channels as sales channels, too.
People no longer need to go through a complex journey to get to the checkout from your social media page. Most platforms allow their users to make purchases straight from inside their app.
Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest have refined and enhanced their shopping features over the past few years. In 2023 we expect to see even more releases and updates that will further entice both brands and consumers to use their apps as ecommerce platforms.
Today, social commerce has shifted from Facebook and IG to other platforms like TikTok. Influencers create sponsored videos, and users leverage hashtags like #tiktokmademebuyit, which has more than 8 billion views as of this writing.
Take advantage of TikTok Shopping, which allows people to browse, select and purchase items securely without ever leaving the app. The seamless ecommerce integration is already making waves on the platform and will be a great way for you to up your social sales.
5. “Edutainment” content is worth exploring
Duell adds that educational entertainment (aka edutainment) is one trend that should be on your radar and possibly part of your digital marketing strategy.
While the term may sound like just another buzzword, it’s actually a very valuable form of content creation that will help you establish trust with your audience and show them you are an authority in your subject matter.
Edutainment is all about merging education and entertainment. It’s especially great for brands that center around rather dry topics that can be difficult to create engaging content for, as it takes stereotypically dull subjects and makes them entertaining to learn about or interact with,
For example, The Drum reports how brands in the fintech space are seeing great success from edutainment content on TikTok that is increasing financial literacy.
Remember: you’re combining education and entertainment. Don’t focus too heavily on one or the other. You’ll want the content to be informational, but not boring or dry. Consider new ways to articulate your brand’s personality into your content and engage with your audience.
6. Social and legal is the iconic duo no one saw coming
Social media and legal teams don’t typically team up. After all, it’s usually the legal department shutting down an outside-the-box idea from the social team after deeming it “not compliant” or outside of the guidelines.
But if you want to make the most out of social media in 2023, you’ll need to foster an excellent working relationship between your social and legal teams.
Social media content continues to build on existing intellectual property. This will continue complicating social media management and making consulting with your legal team important. It will make meme content harder to create. It may also put a damper on your user-generated content (UGC) strategy.
It’s not the most exciting social media trend, but it’s an important one to pay attention to.
Have regular meetings with your legal team to review and update your social media governance policy. You’ll want to focus on mitigating potential risk. However, you should also be able to let your marketing team push back, as they know the channels and will be able to see where you can make allowances.
7. Micro-influencers are gaining traction
Micro-influencers (those with 10,000 or fewer followers) tend to generate higher engagement than macro-influencers with larger audiences do. They also often cost less while providing access to smaller segments of your target audience.
Along with friends and family, most people trust the opinions of the influencers they follow. And they also appreciate the transparency of knowing when an influencer posts an ad vs. when a paid partnership isn’t clearly stated.
Many brands continue to take advantage of the effectiveness of these partnerships on social media to grow their audiences and foster brand loyalty. Micro-influencers are becoming more effective since they are more accessible to both the audience and the marketer.
Use our handy influencer guide to find relevant influencers in your industry. From there, you can reach out to a handful and see if any are right to partner with for a social campaign.
8. Social audio is still evolving
Clubhouse’s time may be coming to an end, but there may be social media platforms coming to take their place in the social audio space. Twitter Spaces and Facebook Live Audio Rooms are seeing some success because they’re social platforms people are already on.
According to Hootsuite, LinkedIn plans to get into the audio game with two new products, LinkedIn Audio Events, and a podcast network. These are developments we should all be watching closely.
9. Keep an eye on augmented reality and virtual reality
Virtual reality may seem like a trend for gamers, but it continues to increase in popularity. And while the Metaverse may not have taken off the way Zuckerberg had hoped, augmented reality is a huge part of social media channels in other ways, enhancing everything from photo and video filters to improved shopping experiences.
Augmented reality (AR) isn’t just for your sister’s social media posts. For instance, Snapchat offers advertisers ways to make their Snaps more shoppable with AR.
As consumers continue to spend a significant part of their days on social media, platforms are catering to their demands through new features, convenient tools, and more ways to post.
By taking advantage of the newest developments, technologies, and trends, it’s possible to stay ahead of the competition without hurting your budget.
This article has been updated and was originally published in June 2020.