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2023 Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch

Authored October 2022 by Tim Campbell-Smith

2021 saw some massive changes to social media marketing, from the boom of TikTok to Instagram Reels, Pinterest idea pins and more. Then, 2022 looked to be quieter (despite settling into The Metaverse, the rise of short form video and continued competition between TikTok and other platforms). These two extremes frame an interesting question: What can we expect in 2023 in social media marketing?

For this question, I lift up six (6) suggestions on the future of social media marketing. Let me share where they come from, what they are and what small business owners can do about this:

Tim Campbell Smith holding a cell phone at Innovation Guelph

Trend 1: Influencer Marketing will become the norm, for all businesses and industries.

Trust is at an all time low in business, media and government. Who do consumers trust? Each other, and people we consider to be our friends. Interestingly, there's a few studies (my favourite cited here) have found that consumers perceive influencers to be their friends. Most consumers don't realize influencers are content creators who then agree to be brand ambassadors, solidifying their place in the marketing world. With their rise in popularity, we're going to see influencer marketing apply to small business (becoming more accessible), big business, B2B (business to business) and every other industry.

To capitalize on influencer marketing, small business owners should be open to working with influencers of all sizes (don't discount your micro influencers with a few thousand followers: their audiences tend to be the most engaged) and at all price points. 

Trend 2: Consumers will interact with content less...but buy just as much (if not more).

Consumers are getting smarter at detecting ads, and are inundated with them. The result? They interact with ads and advertising less. But, consumers also expect businesses to be available on social media when we need them: either for help, purchasing or customer service. The result is awkward silence for businesses as people interact with content only when we need it.

To this end, businesses should be prepared to have lower reach and engagement on posts, but keep measuring sales as numbers should remain steady. 

Trend 3: Ad results will continue to plummet (but, there's hope for the future). 

As consumers demand more privacy, protection and choices, restrictions continue to be put into place. Restrictions are coming from all angles: like Google removing cookies to Facebook changing how real estate is listed, to California changing laws around social media, changes are everywhere that mainly target paid advertising. 

Frankly, there's not much business owners can do about this, except plan for innovation. Historically in business, adversity has fostered innovation, so we can only hope we'll get cool new ad targeting options in the future. 

Image of a man selling coffee at a farmer's market

Trend 4: Social Proof from consumers will become necessary for survival in business.

Trend 5: Rivalry against TikTok will increase. 

When people's trust in business is in decline, we turn to each other: this is social proof. We don't want to hear you say your business is the best: we need to hear it from other consumers, directly.

This means small businesses will have to focus on collecting peer facing reviews, like on Google, Facebook and Trip Advisor. The number of positive reviews and comments will have a dramatic effect on business.

A new first in the social media marketing world was set by TikTok: the platform stole market share from other social media platforms. When we have competition based on new features or on current benefits, we are seeing more and more social media platforms compete on the benefits TikTok offers. This is why we're seeing a rise in YouTube shorts, Instagram reels and more.

Translation in business: be prepared to see more TikTok like features on all social channels. 

Trend 6: Social media platforms will only compete with each other on current features. 

Further to Trend 5, we're going to see all social media platforms continue to compete with each other based on features. This is why Twitter Spaces continue to dominate, why YouTube is enhancing features on shorts, and Pinterest is prioritizing videos. 

Businesses here can specifically be ready to play with new features. Historically, users who hop on new trends tend to get more followers and engagement, and this we can learn from. 

Comment and let me know - do any of these surprise you?

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