Three Social Media Trends to Watch in 2023

Advancements in tech are constantly changing social media. Here’s how brands can keep up.

Across the B2B industry, social media is both a way to connect with and learn about current and prospective clients and customers. Brands can learn what their audiences like and don't like, and from this, build and retain an engaged, online community.

So how do brands keep up with unbounded social trends? Where is social media going in 2023, and what impact will technology have on how brands use social to engage with their online audiences?

At WE Communications, we always have a finger on the digital marketing pulse. Digital Associate Director Ross Walker, Social Senior Account Director Filipa Hilario and Digital Senior Account Director Mirelle Hadad share where they think social media is heading in the next 12 months, how technology will play its part and where clients should be looking to maximise investment.

Trend One: Three ways AI is advancing how we use social media in business

Ross Walker, Digital Associate Director

Over the past 18 months, I’ve been keeping a very close eye on conversations around Web 3.0. As the next evolutionary phase of the internet, Web 3.0 is built to solve problems related to privacy, security, ownership and governance of data using blockchain technology as the underlying infrastructure.

AI, a defining feature of Web 3.0, is already making big waves across the industry. Developments over the past year have given us marketers the tools to make extremely sophisticated and time-consuming changes to how we do our day-to-day work.

Here are three ways in which AI is already changing how social media is being used at scale across the industry:

Using AI for social copy creation – No doubt, you’ve heard the buzz around Open AI’s newest software update, ChatGPT. It’s been hailed as the most sophisticated AI bot ever released to the general public and has already amassed a huge user base in just over a month. Copywriters are already utilizing this tool (and others like it) to produce multiple social posts simultaneously — or at least, as a foundational building block.

Using AI for more accurate social analytics – Social analytics tools, such as TalkWalker, have now layered AI technology into their functionality for more accurate listening capabilities, such as sarcasm and irony detection for a much more detailed sentiment analysis. As reporting tools continue to develop in 2023, I see AI playing a critical role in how we accurately measure success for our clients.

Using AI to better inform creative strategy – Traditionally, marketers would only be able to test the impact of their work by posting first and analysing engagement after. Now, using AI tools such as Dash Hudson, we can tap into visual intelligence software to understand what creative work will have the best impact upfront, before publishing. This will save time and optimize social content to ensure it’s getting the best engagement possible.

Trend Two: Social media is the new search engine

Filipa Hilario, Social Senior Account Director

A few months ago, The New York Times published the story of Ja’Kobi Moore, a high school applicant who used TikTok’s search bar to find out how to ask a teacher for a recommendation letter. Like Moore, many Gen Zs are reporting using TikTok’s search bar for straightforward how-to’s. This reflects a preference for visual searches and quicker, more passive ways of consuming information — through video and imagery. Whereas a search via search engine primarily present lines of text, TikTok provides short, easy-to-scroll vertical videos.

Many social media apps have embraced and accelerated this shift by building in-app browsers and shoppable features, so that when you click on an ad it opens a webpage or shopping cart within the app itself. These in-app browsers are deliberate decisions, which allow keeping users within the channels, without the distraction of wandering off, as well as collecting valuable information about users’ likes and dislikes.

Today, younger generations use social media channels to stay up to date with trends, find new products and discover the hottest new restaurant. Whether it is in the B2C, B2B or better said B2H space, we must rethink our approach, especially when targeting Gen Zs. Brands need to meet their audiences where they are, and so must take this shift of search preference into account when building their marketing strategies.

Trend Three: The hunger for authentic content and the power of online communities

Mirelle Hadad, Digital Senior Account Director

TikTok’s sudden and rapid success a few years back might have come as a surprise for some, but others have attributed its success to the pandemic and it providing a temporary escape from bleak reality. Many predicted that the novelty would eventually wear off. However, today the platform is still attracting new daily new users and has proved to be the catalyst for many new trends. Brands are leaning into the success of the channel more than ever; through influencer partnerships, clever community management tactics and sponsored ads.

TikTok continues to drive success amongst niche communities, where like-minded people with a common interest and passion around certain topics can come together. Book-Tok and Plant-Tok are some of these niche sub-groups. People within specific communities and interest groups continue to seek each other out on the platform, such as aficionados of Dungeons and Dragons, cryptocurrency and kombucha brewing.

In contrast, the rise of closed communities has also seen a sharp increase in the past year. Social media fatigue and the hunger for a more unpolished outlet resulted in the sudden success of private photo-sharing app BeReal in 2022. Whilst the app’s daily users count has seen a dip in the past few months, peoples’ quick move to the platform indicates the need for a sense of belonging and an outlet for authentic content.

Other platforms that allow for open and direct communication with like-minded individuals are channels such as Reddit and Discord, which allow users to have anonymous and unfiltered dialogue with people with similar interests.

Discussions around trends and brand preferences on these channels provide brands with not only useful research into perception on their own brand, but also a way to research how to speak to their existing audience, and how to reach new ones.

Finding these niche online communities and tapping into them will likely become more and more intrinsic to digital campaign strategies. More robust and detailed paid strategies are necessary to drive resonance, relevance and ad recall. In addition, direct dialogue with customers and consumers online is another avenue to drive awareness and consideration in 2023.

The year ahead

The way we connect with each other online is constantly evolving. If brands can keep up with and understand rising and falling social media trends, they can stay connected with their current audiences and gain new ones. AI advancements in content creation and analytics, the use of social media platforms as search engines, and the desire for authenticity and community are all vital trends for 2023 and must be considered when building strategies for the year ahead.

March 15, 2023

WE Communications