The real trends in social media marketing for 2023

Social media marketing trends are constantly changing. Both as a user and marketer, you have to try very hard to keep up with all the developments. Otherwise you will miss the boat. In this blog, we will discuss the real trends in social media marketing landscape and update you on the developments in influencer marketing. Read along!

1. Authenticity above all else

Kim Kardashian doesn't eat Beyond Meat 'meat' after all. The internet was in an uproar. She promotes a product, but is not an avid user herself. That's a big mistake. If you come across as inauthentic and don't share your sincere opinion, you will be punished as an influencer. Nowadays, authenticity is a requirement if you want to run a successful influencer marketing campaign on social media. That sounds like an open door, but it clearly isn't.

Many brands are also moving away from a picture perfect Instagram feed and instead going for a feed that is a bit more "loose" and looks more human and natural. The drive for humanity on social media is also manifested in the rise of the platform BeReal. Called "anti-Instagram" by its creators. Users are notified once a day at a random time 'to be real' and must take a picture within two minutes of what they are doing at that moment. 

To inspire you, we have another fun video clip for you: the updated version of 'You are beautiful' by Christina Aguilera. Here the cry for authenticity comes through clearly.

2. Short form video

96% of marketers agree that the optimal duration of a video is less than 10 minutes. But when we talk about short form video trend in social media marketing, the duration  runs down to a few minutes or even mere seconds. Years ago, we saw the short form videos already on Vine: videos of only 6 seconds with the goal of making people laugh! 

Today, we see short form videos on all major social media platforms. TikTok left a lasting impression and put pressure on other platforms to keep evolving. Not much later, Instagram rolled out the Instagram Reels feature, and YouTube too has "Shorts" these days.

To reinforce this, YouTube shorts - like regular videos - are also monetizable, and creators can receive 45% of ad revenue. To capture the attention of your audience, though, you have to be of good cheer. Short form videos are extremely "scrollable" and users will scroll right past your content. 

3. Gamechanger: TikTok as a search engine

Tiktok only for videos? Yes! And no. Although TikTok is particularly known as a place to share and watch videos, there are also features that help users find specific content or users in the app. The common denominator with "traditional" search engines, of course, is that users find the answer to a particular question. For example, how to crochet stuffed animals or what is an effective workout routine. 

The most important component of answering a search query is relevance. Using hashtags or keywords will go a long way on TikTok. Users can also use the "Discover" feature to browse through popular accounts within a given category. Obviously, you cannot 'rank' on TikTok using the same SEO techniques. 

Ranking on TikTok

Not to worry, of course there are techniques to attract more traffic to your TikTok account or website. 

  • Make use of relevant and descriptive hashtags. TikTok uses hashtags to index and categorize your content. You'll make your profile more visible with the right hashtags. 
  • Follow the big trends and hook in. For example, use trending audio to base your videos on or translate viral videos to your own brand.
  • Add a link to your website on your profile. This way you can direct users from your profile to your website.
  • Use keywords in your video titles and descriptions. As in SEO on YouTube, this is also best practice on TikTok.
  • Interact with your audience. This creates positive associations with your (personal) brand and helps you attract a larger audience because your profile is more often introduced to users. 

In addition, the advantage of TikTok is that content is presented to users based on interest. So as a user, you are more likely to come across new content that you may also find interesting. Unlike Google where you as a brand are limited by the keywords your target audience does - or does not - use.

4. Customer service on social media

Social media has everything you want from customer service: direct contact with an employee in a quick and simple way. Whether you have a chat open on a website or on social media doesn't matter much to brands. For customers, it's nice to know they can just contact you through their preferred medium. According to the Microsoft Global State of Customer Service report, 54% of consumers were more positive about companies with customer service through social media.

Furthermore, social media as a customer support channel is very cost-effective. Compared to telephone departments, you need fewer employees to provide the same amount of support. In addition, customers know how to find you faster and you can reach a large audience because of the number of users of social media. Within your organization, though, the division of labor must be clear to monitor employee satisfaction. 

5. The rise of audio

Besides short form video, audio is also making a solid rise as a trend in social media marketing. We are talking about music, podcasts and again TikTok. TikTok caused quite a stir in the music industry. In short, TikTok is on the one hand the platform to discover new music and on the other hand a creative outlet for record labels, music marketers, artists and other creators who flood the platform with songs. In addition, brands such as McDonald's and Pepsi are also making entering the party: because they are bound by copyright, they create their own music to use on TikTok.

The years-long rise of podcasting should not go unmentioned either. We cozy up en masse to the hosts to listen in on conversations about anything and everything. With the advent of the 'gig-economy', podcasts about self-development and self-made entrepreneurs exploded. This makes it immediately interesting for B2B companies that have a supply of B2B Thought Leaders richer and easier to reach their target audience.

6. Social commerce is a must have for brands

With each new channel to reach your target audience, the customer journey increasingly deviates from what you envisioned on paper. The customer journey is anything but linear. The possibilities of social commerce are rich and bring you close to your target audience on the channel where they spend much of their time - AND money. Social commerce is a side branch of e-comerce. Social platforms have a native shops feature where e-commerce brands upload their product catalog to a virtual storefront. Users thus never have to leave the platform to make purchases. According to research by Sprout Social, 98% of consumers plan to make a purchase through social commerce. 

Paid, earned and owned media take on new meaning with the rise of social commerce. Separation is a thing of the past. Namely, you create your own shop on a channel you don't own (owned media). At the same time, you can push your products directly onto the timeline of your target audience with paid advertising (paid media), but also reach a large audience organically through the shareable nature of social media (earned). Ór paid by partnering with influencers. Perhaps your own website will become obsolete to the newest demographic of buyers: Gen Z. 

7. Augmented Reality as a social experience

With the growth in popularity of social media platforms, user demand for richer experiences is also growing. While the adoption rate of Virtual Reality (VR) is still low consumer, Augmented Reality (AR) has been immensely popular for years. Snapchat and Instagram offer rich opportunities for brands and creators to create filters for their target audience. 

Such filters are especially interesting in the SEE and CARE phase to appeal to a new target audience on the one hand and to strengthen the relationship with your existing customer base on the other. Many brands also use AR filters in the THINK phase: for example, by 'testing' different lipstick colors before you buy it. In addition, integration with the "real world" is a perfect way to boost your retail store. Like Airwalk did with their AR pop-up store!

8. Community building is as important as brand building [H2]

Loyal and engaged customers. What brand doesn't want that? Brands with online communities will celebrate great successes in 2023. They get to know their target audience through and through, know what their motivations are, learn what kind of content they prefer and what their target audience values. 
The result: perfect responsiveness to the needs of your target audience. And that has all sorts of positive side effects. For example, loyal customers are less price sensitive and they spread the good word about your brand. 66% of consumers say they are more loyal to a brand when they are part of a community!

To build a community around your brand, you need to create the right conditions for it. 

  • First, determine your goals: do you want high engagement, more loyalty or more leads? Bring focus! 
  • Then you choose a platform. Think YouTube, Discord or Instagram, for example. Of course, you can also build multiple small communities and ensure cross-pollination across your channels. 
  • Next, it's important to continuously engage with your community. You are in the lead here. Start discussions, respond to questions and comments, and share relevant content!
  • Strengthen the relationship with your community through online and offline events and rewarding active members.
  • To make the community feel like a safe place, you need some ground rules about what kind of content you don't want in the community (hateful etc.) and what to do when problems arise.

Well-known examples of brands with active communities are LEGO, Harley Davidson and Sephora!

9. Influencers are business as usual 

Influencers have become an integral part of the marketing mix. And we are no longer talking about celebrity endorsement, but creators who have become known because of an expertise, not because they are actors or can sing beautifully Influencers have almost completely taken that place and are therefore indispensable in marketing strategy. As a result, 90% of marketers report that influencer marketing is an effective tactic. 

Playtime is over 

In the Gartner Hype Cycle, influencer marketing is already in the "Slope of Enlightenment" (see chart). Influencer marketing has matured and become business as usual. More and more companies are riding this wave: some 73% of Gen Z and 70% of Millennials see creators and brands working together on a daily basis. 57% say they bought products as a result of an influencer's endorsement.

10. AI: the future of content 

Stock photos are a thing of the past. AI-generated content is hot. For example, TikTok already offers a basic text-to-image generator. It allows you to change the background of your video. Handy for creators! But, compared to Google's Imagen, OpenAI's DALL-E 2 and Midjourney's machine learning models, TikTok is still really at the beginning. The advanced ones create images that look like photographs or complex illustrations that look like they were created by humans. You enter a piece of text and get an image in return, like this bag:

To get an idea of the power of this AI, take a look at the phenomenon of "outpainting" with which DALL-E effortlessly integrates familiar works of art. Outpainting fuses multiple worlds together to paint a perfect picture for your story. You create a kind of Alice in Wonderland experience with just a few clicks. 

11. The Metaverse is here! 

Gartner predicts: 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse by 2026. That's kind of a big deal if you ask us. The metaverse is a term used to describe the collection of virtual worlds that exist within the Internet. Here you can play games, socialize with other people, work or buy or sell products. 

But, you can also do that in the "real" world, right? Yes! But for that real Alice in Wonderland feeling, you really have to The metaverse offers rich experiences for those who enter this world. Roblox already did this in collaboration with Gucci for the Gucci Garden. Want to know more? In our blog on influencers in the metaverse, we reported on this in detail! 

Is your target audience already on the metaverse? Then it's high time to invest in it. Luxury brands are already taking the lead and creating new digital experiences for young audiences in the metaverse. Community management is a crucial component. For example, in the metaverse you have the opportunity to deploy NFTs to increase your engagement. Think of certain perks for active members: meet & greets, free access to events and first access to new collections, and so on!

It's all coming together

Authentic storytelling, building active communities and a range of opportunities through new technology. From the metaverse to short-form video and AI-generated images to an established guard of influencers on new channels. These were the latest trends in social media marketing! How to apply these trends within your business? We'd love to help you out. Get in touch and we'll have a cup of coffee soon!

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