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What to expect from social media marketing in 2023

Social media marketing is an ever-changing landscape – there’s always a new trend to tune into. Each year offers emerging platforms, fresh opportunities, and algorithmic changes for brands to get their heads around – and 2023 is no different.

Read on to discover what might be in store for social media marketing this year, based on some of 2022’s highlights and stand-out moments.

Are consumers still listening?

Average human attention spans are declining rapidly. Some studies now clock them in at just over 8 seconds.

This provides brands with an increased challenge – not only must they capture a fickle and easily distracted audience, but they must also use that short time to convert users to action – whether that’s following, purchasing or some other response. 

But capturing attention isn’t just about getting to the point quickly. With so much content thrown at them daily, quality is key to getting noticed by today’s social media users.

Short-form video content is at the core of this. Keep your media quality high, and your message concise to capture and retain attention long enough to turn it into engagement.

Will AI take over our feeds?

AI seems to get smarter by the second, and 2023 is set to be a big year for seeing the technology revolutionise social platform experiences.

Facebook and Instagram are already planning to implement AI to drive increased user engagement. This will mean we see more recommended content on our newsfeeds soon, in a move that mimics the TikTok user experience. 

While Instagram Reels was initially met with resistance from users when it launched in 2022, the feature looks set to stick around and even expand in 2023. With experience, the platform will be looking to strike the perfect balance with AI-recommended posts to avoid alienating loyal audiences.

We can get a further sense of the future of Instagram and Facebook’s AI use from Mark Zuckerberg’s goals. He wants to see 40% of the content in your feed come from pages you don’t already follow – much like the suggested content we already see on TikTok.

For brands, this represents an increased opportunity for reach and engagement – if they play their cards right. We’ll just have to wait and see how capable social media AI algorithms become at predicting the right content for the right user.

Are we entering the era of BeReal?

It’s not news that authenticity is in… but how will it interact with the growth of AI? How can brands balance consumers’ desire for personalisation with their rejection of the inauthentic?

BeReal is a platform that boomed in popularity during 2022 due to its delivery of instant, unfiltered content, which as the name suggests, demanded them to ‘be real’. Other platforms played copycat, with TikTok – for example – rolling out TikTok Now. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Marks & Spencer explored the potential of marketing AI with the launch of their very own virtual influencer. The launch was met with a mixed reaction – many questioned the place of an artificial brand representative in a world where consumers are increasingly demanding more diversity of ‘real’ humans in marketing material. While consumers remain suspicious of the inauthentic, it remains to be seen whether AI technology will ever truly replace the real thing.

One thing we can say for sure is that authentic human connections are not going out of style any time soon. One way brands can create authentic connections is by giving their people a more active presence on their social media accounts. Nothing beats human interaction when it comes to crafting a strong relationship between social media users and your brand – just take it from Superdrug and Aldi.

Will shopping become social?

E-commerce seems more and more embedded into social platforms each year. With features like the TikTok Shop and the proliferation of ads across other platforms, some say we’re in a new era of social commerce.

E-commerce has continued to grow since its 2020 pandemic boom – but does 2023 represent its peak, or an opportunity for technological developments to keep it growing?

In China, live-stream shopping is already proving a big earner for TikTok, but the Western world is comparatively slow on the uptake. Determined to make it work globally, the platform has been pushing this content to users. Keep your eyes peeled for shopping live-streams in your feed. The feature is dubbed to be promoted much further in 2023.

Other platforms are heading in a similar direction. Facebook Shops allows business accounts to create a ‘shop’ complete with shopping cart and product listings, which integrates seamlessly with Messenger. With the help of algorithms, users could soon be shopping in-app, creating a revenue boom for Facebook.

Elsewhere, Instagram is also experimenting with live-stream shopping, while Pinterest is testing a full-screen live shopping tab in its app. 

The full spectrum of social media platforms seem keen to integrate an ecommerce element into their offering, indicating that the age of social commerce is just beginning. It’s now up to brands to decide whether they want to blaze a trail as early adopters, or play it safe and wait for a tried-and-tested formula to be crafted.

Is the age of the influencer over?

With preference for authenticity and ‘real’ representations of products and experiences, macro influencers are no longer the beacon of relatability they once were for social media users. 

Micro and nano influencers have already been stepping into the gap, representing a more attainable lifestyle and a less polished personal brand.

Despite having smaller followings, these more niche creators foster tight-knit online communities, achieving high engagement rates by interacting directly with their followers. This makes them an ideal choice for brands looking to deliver authentic experiences to their consumers.

In 2023, savvy brands should look to engage with consumers in the communities they’re already a part of. This will make finding and connecting with the right micro and nano influencers an essential social media marketing resource. 

Will we stop skipping ads?

As already mentioned, attention spans are shrinking. That means we have less patience for ads that disrupt the content viewing experience. So what’s the solution for digital marketers looking to catch attention with their ads?

Interactive ads could be the new way to attract and retain consumers. These allow users to actively participate in the ad experience, giving them less reason to skip or block. This has the added result of creating a more memorable positive experience for the user.

On top of this, interactive ads promise to deliver a better ecommerce shopping experience, making them a win-win for sales and brand awareness. 

Click-to-message ads on Messenger and Whatsapp have been highlighted by Meta as a growth area for the coming year – the next test will be whether consumers like to engage with brands via their DMs, or would rather stick to the click-through ad experience.

Finally, will the bird really be free?

Elon Musk is known for his controversial statements and unusual business moves, but when he tweeted ‘the bird is freed’ after taking over Twitter in 2022, he caused a real ruckus on the platform. Since then, Musk lost his own poll on the platform, resulting in users voting him out of the CEO role.

However, before being booted, Musk managed to propose some revolutionary changes. He planned to monetise the platform by making it subscription-based, hoping to boost revenue and banish bots. Another idea he wanted to kickstart was charging packages for add-on functionalities and tools. Many questioned who would foot the bill – users, brands, or both?

The idea of being charged to use a social media site that has become part of everyday life for millions of users – thanks in part to being free –  created an outcry. Some even claimed the move foreshadowed an accelerated decline for the entire platform.

Elon Musk may not have had the time to put any of these ideas into motion, but it remains to be seen whether his replacement will follow his lead or pave a new path. We’re pretty sure Twitter won’t be abandoned completely anytime soon, but 2023 will be a year of massive change for users and advertisers on the platform regardless. 

What do you think 2023 will bring for the social media marketing world? Gain real-world insights with the help of the L’Attitude network. Get in touch today.