With 2022 in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to prepare new marketing strategies for the year ahead. We don’t have a crystal ball but we are going to put on the table some predictions that will affect the rules of the game in 2023.
Many trends have been gaining momentum since last year, such as Social SEO, which is becoming increasingly important as TikTok is the search engine of choice for the new generations. But there will be even more surprises this year, such as the future of Twitter.
Are you ready to succeed in social media in 2023? These are the general trends, and the specific ones for each social media platform that you should know.
Digital Trends: What are the Key Factors that Will Shape Brand Strategies?
The pandemic marked a before and after in the need to connect the physical world with the digital universe. The brands that best integrate a strategy that combines online and offline will be the ones that fit best in this new era. At this point, virtual reality, the metaverse and digital marketing will be the main allies.
Users value brands that translate their abstract values into concrete actions, demonstrating their commitment to society in a real and contextualised way, leaving aside any kind of “washing” (green, pink, etc.).
Less Social, More Media.
We are in the midst of a change of era, social networks are having a big transformation. The platforms have gone from being spaces aimed to create and reinforce social connections, to becoming channels of communication and entertainment. The brands that are committed to a solid content strategy are the ones that will survive.
More and more, social networks are acting as search engines, especially for younger audiences who turn more to Instagram and TikTok than to Google Search or Google Maps. Given the increase in traffic through image searches, and that Google is already including videos from social platforms in its search results, optimising the SEO of social media content (copies, descriptive texts, tags, etc.) will make a difference to brands’ digital strategy.
Social Media Advocacy.
Authenticity and credibility are going to be two fundamental ingredients in 2023. For this reason, one of the rising trends in marketing strategies is Employee Generated Content, the power of employees as brand ambassadors.
Video: The Star Format.
Video is the main format on which the different social networks are betting, especially on Instagram and TikTok, the algorithm is favouring video, so it will continue to grow and must be included in brand strategies. Quality over quantity, and creativity rather than investment in large productions. Moreover, as McKinsey experts predict, video entertainment in all its forms will be more immersive, gamified and personalised.
Before you start planning your influencer strategy, you should know the 3 profiles that your brand should take into consideration.
Firstly, there are the well-known macro accounts: “the Celebrities”, with whom you should be careful, as you should select those who show an authentic side and not a noticeboard of adverts. On the other hand, there are “the Micro-influencers“, those more local profiles (between 10-100k followers), which work more on interaction than notoriety and connect with specific niches. Last but not least, there are “the content creators”, which are those profiles that facilitate the production process and generate more “real” and credible content.
In addition, it is recommended that as far as possible, brands involve users as protagonists of their actions to foster two-way conversations, as Vicio does masterfully in all its communication.
Audio may not be the most important format, but without a doubt, this year it has established itself as a great one for brands Creating audio content will also be one of the trends that will be reinforced during 2023. Why bet on it?
First of all, it is a booming format that is increasingly integrated into the user’s consumption habits. On the other hand, a great advantage it offers brands is the possibility of creating content without a high investment, strengthening the relationship with the user at a good price. Lastly, it allows the brand’s voice to be stronger and to address relevant issues effectively.
The disruption of tools to generate visuals using AI (DALL-E, Stable Diffusion or Midjourney, among others) is a reality that should not be overlooked in the creation of digital content and communication. However, it’s also necessary to take into account the limitations or dangers related to intellectual property rights of this technology.
Trends in Content: How to Connect With Your Audience?
Natural Content: true and authentic content.
“Authenticity” is the new normal, as made evident by the BeReal boom. Brand content must go increasingly unnoticed in people’s feeds, as if they were just another user in the community. Using the codes of each platform and adapting to native formats to make an impact in a less intrusive way will be key. Quality content is appreciated, when it isn’t without being excessively promotional.
Fast Content: immediate and trending content.
Real-Time Marketing continues to be a fundamental pillar in the content matrix of brands. The formula is to create a balance between publications that convey the brand’s strategic messages (70%), and those that are part of current affairs (30%), as long as they are justified by the brand’s purpose.
Shoppable Content: content that is tailored to users’ interests, needs and desires.
The constant improvements in the integration of e-commerce in social networks or the growth of live shopping will continue to facilitate the integration of digital strategy with sales through social platforms.
Trends in Each Social Network: What is the forecast for each platform and how to make the most of them?
- Stagnation: Faced with a general decline in the platform’s usage and an increase in the number of inactive users, the platform’s content strategy should focus especially on a mostly senior audience (Gen Zen).
- Metaverse: There’s still a situation of uncertainty about whether brands should immerse themselves in this virtual space. However, Meta wants to offer a new virtual space for people to want to be in, and therefore for brands to want to be in. The integration and promotion of avatars in the platform will be the first step. Many brands such as Nike, Zara and Gucci are already riding the wave. Generation Z will be the most likely to join in.
- More recommended content: Facebook will increasingly show more content from recommended pages and people that you don’t necessarily follow. This may represent an opportunity for brands to improve the performance of their posts and increase their potential audience.
- Spending time on the platform: one trend is to reward users for spending time on the platforms, which is a response to the detriment of external link promotion. Content that encourages participation and retains the audience’s attention will be the winner.
- The algorithm is betting on quality and interaction: Informative, useful and authentic content, as well as posts with higher engagement will be favoured by the algorithm.
- A state of flux: After 3 years with a stagnant number of users and with the arrival of Elon Musk as the new CEO, the future of the platform is uncertain.
- Change of direction: Some of the main innovations implemented by Musk are a monthly subscription model and a new verification system, intending to authenticate real users and put an end to bots (Blue Tick – personal accounts; Grey Tick – government accounts; Gold Tick – official brand accounts) to achieve greater transparency and freedom of expression.
- New rules within the platform: Musk is considering integrating options for longer tweets and videos, to retain users’ time and prevent them from jumping to other external pages.
- Is it a strategic channel? Despite the multitude of users declaring their intentions to abandon Twitter after the new measures were adopted, for the moment, there is no noticeable negative impact on the volume of users on the platform. Twitter will continue to be a strategic channel for brands aiming to have face-to-face conversations with Gen Z, including Real-Time Marketing as one of the main communication strategies.
- The algorithm favours interaction and popularity: Content from accounts with which you interact frequently, as well as current publications from your network of contacts (linked to trending topics or What’s Happening), are the most favoured content by the algorithm. Furthermore, everything suggests that tweets from verified users will have greater visibility and will occupy a higher position than those that do not subscribe.
- Update status: Currently, Instagram is focusing on keeping up with the latest trends and adapting to consumer habits, by including the star functionalities of the other platforms in a single app. After widespread criticism of its latest updates (prioritising video and recommended posts), its director Adam Mosseri announced his intention to re-evaluate their plans. The lack of “originality” compared to other platforms such as TikTok could penalise its user growth.
- Constant new features: Instagram is constantly launching new features inspired by other platforms. Some of Instagram’s latest innovations are a feature similar to BeReal (Candid),notes in status mode, collaborative collections of publications and private group profiles.
- The future lies in Reels: The growth of this format, similar to TikTok, suggests that by 2023 it will continue to be particularly relevant, not only when it comes to creating organic content but also paid content.
- New forms of content creation: The metaverse may favour the incorporation of new tools to create content directly through Instagram, including Augmented Reality possibilities, 3D publications, NFT, among others. A range of possibilities for brands to include new interactive formats to advertise and attract new audiences. Live Shopping could be another of Instagram’s trends in 2023, given the success it has had in other markets and emerging platforms.
- The algorithm focuses on video and relevance: The boom of the Reels format has also been reinforced by a better performance of this type of content, which allows brands to increase the potential audience beyond the community of followers. In addition, interests are in charge of adapting the content that best suits each profile, as well as current and trending topics.
- Growth and consolidation: It has become the social network revelation of the year, not only for Generation Z but also for a more adult generation. The key for brands is (and will continue to be) to look like just another profile, adapt to communication codes (memes, trends, tutorials, etc.), take advantage of native formats (typography, voice-over, duos, filters, etc.) and tell stories that connect with users. In addition, TikTok knows that in order to consolidate itself as a strategic platform for advertisers, it must continue to improve its analytics, its great Achilles heel. For this, the incorporation of Audience Insights in TikTok Ads Manager is the first step and in 2023 it will continue to improve.
- Personalisation: A differential aspect of TikTok is that there are specific and easily identifiable communities through their interests or priorities. It could be said that there are as many micro-spaces as there are types of people, a possibility for brands to segment their content as much as possible.
- The importance of creators: People transmit closeness and connect in a much more real way with users. The relevance of the content, based on the interests shared with other profiles, is what really matters (useful information, knowledge, practical advice, curiosities, etc.) and brands must enter this loop. We can all be creators as the number of followers does not determine the impact. TikTok is also strengthening monetisation opportunities for creators such as the Creator Marketplace and everything points to the fact that 2023 could be the year of live shopping integration following the trend in Asian markets.
- The power of resources: TikTok has multiple pages focused on offering all kinds of resources to creators and brands. The Creative Center to support the creation process, the Ad Library to have the pulse of the content that is working best in each sector or the Ads Academy to guide in the development of campaigns, among others. Brands must take advantage of all the clues.
- The algorithm boosts native and valuable content: The platform learns from the content that is interacted with, and favours those trends and content that breathe the essence of the App. For this reason, the number of followers is just that, a number. What is really important is the content itself. Brands have a new opportunity to “go viral” with every piece of content published.
- Continuity of the situation: The professional social network par excellence continues to add value to a quality database at the service of both job seekers and recruiters. However, there is a trend towards posting non-professional content, more focused on the personal sphere, which may lead to a deviation in the main focus of the platform.
- New features as a complement: from the native tool for scheduling publications to Link Stickers or templates for publications, there are small built-in functionalities that do not change the platform’s rules of the game. All the signs are that LinkedIn will also jump on the video bandwagon by adding more advanced options to complement its events features, through Zoom-like meetings, live streaming or processes to connect job seekers directly with employers.
- Opportunities for the future: If Elon Musk’s direction for Twitter does not convince the more corporate profiles (entrepreneurs, managers, etc.), LinkedIn could benefit from more influence and activity by concentrating on personal brand building.
- The algorithm favours quality and connections: The algorithm makes a first ranking based on quality (spam, low or high), followed by early engagement and showing content from close connections first rather than followed pages, groups or hashtags that only show interest in a certain topic.
Conclusions: The Digital Cheat Sheet for 2023
Without any doubt, 2023 started strong and your brand can’t stay behind the latest trends. In short, these are the highlights that your brand strategy should take into account this year:
- From quality content to relevant content: The key to audience retention is not only to adapt your content to each platform, but to understand your target audience and create content specifically for them.
- From generic to specific: The micro-segmentation of audiences through the interests on each social network is a perfect opportunity to adapt brand content and achieve a more real connection.
- From connections to entertainment: Social networks are no longer so social as they are gateways to evasion, fun, information and experimentation.
- From influencers to creators: People are increasingly looking for profiles that are authentic, real and native to identify with. Brands must integrate “creators” into their content strategies to expand the brand universe and strengthen the link with their community.
- From heterogeneous to homogeneous: The differences that made each social network special are increasingly blurred, as there is a trend towards the unification of functionalities and algorithms. Brands must be able to adapt to each channel without losing sight of their specific objectives.
- From impressions to views: The visualisation of audiovisual content is becoming the new measure of notoriety, since video is the reigning format.
- From impact to engagement: Impressions will take a back seat, and efforts will focus on interactions and Engagement Rate (%).
Here’s to a 2023 full of waves of trends to surf and navigate!