OPINION: 4 social media marketing trends to watch out for in 2023

Samantha Monk

Samantha Monk, Director of Global Enterprise Solutions at Meltwater

What can happen over the course of a year? Well, quite a lot. The past few years have taught us a lot about the importance of agility, both in life and at work. With new technologies breaking new ground every passing day, there is no room for complacency and the only way forward is to be proactive. It is no different for the world of marketing. As we step into a new year with new challenges and opportunities, it is a good time to touch upon a few key marketing trends that deserve your attention this year.


1. The meteoric growth of TikTok

Short-form video hosting platform TikTok, largely driven by Gen-Z, a generation whose lifestyle choices have considerably been shaped by social media and influencer culture, has consistently been ranked as one of the world’s most downloaded apps since 2019. As a platform defined by its dynamicity and versatility through its sheer range of content, TikTok allows marketers to create snappy content which instantly catches attention and also to guide its users’ purchase decisions. This can be done traditionally through means of advertisements but also through influencers, given their immense popularity on the platform.

In the previous year alone, TikTok rolled out several new tools and integrations including a WooCommerce integration to help businesses create and measure their advertising campaigns, interactive add-ons for in-feed ads designed to drive engagement and the contextual advertising program Pulse, to enable marketers to place ads adjacent to trending, highly-engaging and relevant content. As video content continues to maintain its position among the top trends, Tiktok is all set to dominate the space in 2023. It’s the fastest growing social media channel, with 81% of its users leveraging TikTok to discover new brands, products, and services. TikTok continues to attract advertisers and individuals alike, with 47% of participants stating that they plan to use the platform in 2023.


2. The rise of social commerce

Social commerce or the use of social media platforms as a marketing tool to sell products and services, is projected to hit $1.2 trillion (accounting for 16.7% of all e-commerce sales) in sales by 2025. Social commerce also supersizes impulse buying, a consumer behaviour in which consumers make purchases spontaneously or without hesitation. Social buying apps and features, while already successful in China and India, have faced its share of scepticism and hesitance in the West, catching up there at a slower pace. That said, new integrations and updates look promising when it comes to accelerating adoption internationally in 2023, opening up limitless opportunities for marketers worldwide.

In order to make the transition from browsing to check-out a frictionless experience, Tiktok, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Meta had all announced integrations, updates or test features of their own by the end of summer ‘22. YouTube’s shoppable shorts and Meta’s in-chat purchases and payments for Instagram are interesting examples.


3. Making strides in accessibility

Consistent efforts in making marketing resources more accessible to everyone by implementing higher accessibility standards can be seen as a reflection of companies embracing their DEI efforts. To a great extent, the subtitle-embracing Gen-Z can be attributed to the increasing omnipresence of subtitles across Instagram Reels and TikToks, which both began offering auto-captioning features in 2021. In 2022, auto-generated captions were made available for in-feed videos on Instagram, while TikTok rolled out the option to toggle auto-captions on and off. LinkedIn, on the other hand, began offering time captioning for the platform’s Audio Events. Twitter is set to introduce image description reminders for social marketing and is exploring expanded alt-text and captioning features, along with a closed captions toggle in the works.

In-person experiences are not exempt from accessibility efforts and therefore marketers should pay special attention to the accessibility of spaces by making good use of the opportunity to get creative with multi-sensory experiences where consumers have the chance to interact closely with the products. As consumers are increasingly demanding more inclusivity and representation from marketers, it’s needless to state the importance of ensuring that solutions are proactively implemented to aid accessibility, and moreover, by not embracing this, marketers may also miss out on gainful opportunities.


4. Here to stay: Social Listening

Having been around for more than fifteen years now, social listening has certainly emerged as a must-have in the marketing tech stack today. Initially what was largely focused on readily available Twitter data has now been changing to include a much wider range of data sources available in social listening platforms. For instance, Reddit and Twitch are two platforms that enjoy immense popularity that can be analysed through third-party social listening tools. As a case in point, having access to rich data from well established platforms and services will prove immensely useful for international brands entering local markets as it can provide valuable insights into the attitudes and behaviours of the target consumers in geographically and culturally diverse areas.

With the intervention of AI, it is now possible to automatically analyse online images to describe their overall content with a high degree of accuracy and is no longer limited to identifying brand logos. The possibilities don’t end there- AI can also help analyse the content of audio formats, including podcasts, so that you can not only detect when your brand is mentioned but also understand the context of the discussion.


In conclusion

A thorough understanding of what’s hot and what’s passé will put marketers in a better position to stay up-to-date with the constantly evolving interests and attitudes of the digital natives. Applying insights into actionable plans in a way that resonates with the audience is the most reliable way to higher conversion rates and nurture brand value. It’s an exciting year for marketers and indeed a fascinating one for consumers, with no dearth of compelling options, all vying for their attention.

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