It would not be an exaggeration to say that most people spend a significant portion of their days on social media. In today's world, no way.

People's lives and daily routines have become inextricably linked to social media. Some people are so addicted to it that the first thing they do when they wake up is checking their social media feeds.

Given the importance of social media in the lives of consumers, marketers and businesses flock to social media platforms in the hopes of connecting with their target customers. However, there is a lot of content on social media, and the competition is fierce. It can be difficult to stand out if you do not have a clear social media marketing strategy. Keeping up with the latest social media trends can help fuel your strategy and set you apart from the crowd. Meanwhile, here are 13 of the most important social media trends to be aware of in 2023.

1. Social Media Crisis Management Will Be Required

According to a PWC survey, more than 95% of businesses anticipate a crisis within the next two years. The issue is that many businesses still do not have a crisis response team or a crisis plan in place.

Social media platforms have evolved into a vehicle for rapidly disseminating information. This includes both minor and major issues. When left unaddressed, a seemingly minor issue can grow into a much larger one, causing significant damage to your business, including financial and reputational harm.

According to a Twitter-commissioned poll, 61% of respondents believe that brands should be able to recognize crises as they occur through their advertising and communications.

Furthermore, using social media as a crisis management tool can assist businesses in regaining their audience's trust. According to 81% of respondents, social media has improved business/accountability. According to the same report, 89% of people believe that a business can regain its trust if it is transparent, which means that it takes steps to admit its mistake and what it will do to address the issue.

Because of the way social media is used today, not only by users but also by businesses, it has the potential to be a powerful crisis management tool.

2. Brand Authenticity Will Prevail

It's no secret that consumer behavior is constantly changing. Consumers nowadays expect authenticity from brands, with 86% saying that transparency is more important than ever. Aside from transparency, today's consumers expect businesses to foster genuine human connections and to create an emotional connection with a brand. One way brands can foster authenticity is by empowering their leaders to be more proactive on social media.

Transparency, in addition to fostering long-term trust, can help consumers continue to do business with a brand even during a crisis. Millennial consumers in the same survey, for example, want brands to be more transparent on social media, with 69% wanting a company's CEO to have a "personal presence" on social media channels and 71% believing that CEOs have the power to make a positive impact when they're transparent.

Furthermore, when brands work to develop more authentic relationships and deeper connections with their customers, they are more likely to reap a slew of benefits, including improved brand reputation and higher sales figures.

3. The use of social media as a shopping outlet will continue to be popular

We saw the steady rise of social commerce in 2022, which allowed social media users to buy products directly on social media. Social media platforms are expected to remain popular shopping destinations for consumers in 2023.

Furthermore, global social commerce sales are expected to reach $6 trillion by 2026, with the United States having approximately 108 million social buyers by 2025.

According to a HubSpot survey, 36% of social media users purchased a product directly from Facebook, while 24.5% of consumers used Instagram to buy products on social media.

This trend is quickly catching on on social media platforms. For example, Facebook has launched its "Facebook Shops" feature, which allows businesses to create a "Shop" complete with product listings, the ability to let users add these products to their shopping cart, and the ability to purchase such products directly from a dedicated checkout page. Furthermore, once a business has established its Facebook Shop, it can integrate it with its Messenger account, providing its audience with a more seamless shopping experience.

However, social commerce is unlikely to have a smooth ride. Despite the fact that it presents a significant opportunity for growth, social commerce may not be a viable solution for all brands. Before jumping on the social commerce bandwagon, you should conduct extensive research on your target market and preferred platform to determine whether or not they are capable of supporting social commerce initiatives and whether or not that platform is capable of scaling with your growth.

4. Social media platforms will be dominated by short-form and bite-sized content

It is expected that video content will dominate online content in the coming years. Given that 86% of businesses are already using video as a marketing tool, this prediction is relevant. The emphasis, however, will be on short-form and bite-sized content. Aside from potentially increasing audience engagement, they can be invaluable tools for marketing and education, as 73% of people prefer to watch a short video to learn more about a product or service, according to the same report.

Brands can still drive engagement with bite-sized content, such as short-form videos, even if today's audience has a shorter attention span, with the average human attention span now clocking in at 8.25 seconds. Twitter, for example, introduced Fleets, a feature similar to Snapchat Stories in which posts or videos disappear after 24 hours.

This is not to say that brands should sacrifice quality when creating bite-sized content. Despite shorter attention spans, high-quality content can still cut through the clutter and keep your audience's attention.

5. The Removal of Third-Party Cookies

It is expected that third-party cookies will be phased out by 2023. While third-party cookies enable brands to provide more personalized experiences to their audiences, they are facing a backlash as privacy concerns grow. Furthermore, consumers are becoming increasingly frustrated with this issue and are looking for an immediate solution.

What implications does this have for brands and social media platforms? Measures such as the development of dependable first-party solutions are expected to be implemented in the coming years. Furthermore, as laws and regulations similar to the GDPR are developed around the world, brands and social media platforms will have to prioritize consumer privacy and transparency.

6. Decentralized Networks Will Replace Mainstream Social Media Platforms

In the coming years, decentralized social networks will become a viable alternative to mainstream social media platforms. This is due in part to issues such as user censorship and lack of control. As consumers demand more control and better data privacy measures, we may see such decentralized platforms gain traction in the coming year. Such platforms are already appearing. Minds, for example, is an open-source alternative to the popular social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, while Mastodon is quickly becoming a Twitter substitute. LBRY (a YouTube alternative), Diaspora (a Facebook alternative), and Signal are some other decentralized platforms to look into right now (WhatsApp and Messenger alternative).

7. The environment and sustainability will become more important

Environmental buzzwords are quickly becoming obsolete. Consumers today don't want to hear words like "sustainability" or "eco-friendly" they want to take action to make a difference. Furthermore, they expect brands to take action on environmental issues, with 82% of consumers preferring companies to prioritize the two Ps people and planet over profit. It is expected that by next year, brands will be taking action to improve their market performance.

8. AI Will Be Important in Post Recommendations (Facebook and Instagram)

AI will have an even bigger year in 2023. More content on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, will be recommended by AI to increase user engagement. For example, Facebook is implementing measures such as displaying more recommended content in a user's newsfeed.

9. Social Media Platform Integrations May Play a Greater Role

According to Andrew Hutchinson of SocialMediaToday, integrations will continue to gain traction on popular social media platforms. Facebook, for example, is developing digital avatars to encourage engagement, particularly in the metaverse. According to Hutchinson, Instagram will also rely on integrations for creating various content forms in order to support creators and empower them to create content in the metaverse. Other social media platforms will most likely follow suit.

10. Interactive Ads Will Gain Popularity

AR and VR, as examples of extended reality technologies, have created new opportunities for user engagement. Filters are a popular application for such technologies. They can, however, be used to provide better shopping experiences to a brand's audience, for example, through interactive ads. This type of advertising allows users to participate in the ad experience rather than blocking it with ad blockers or skipping it entirely. Allowing users to take part in such an "experience" increases their likelihood of engaging with a specific brand or product. Aside from increasing audience viewing time over traditional ads, the use of interactive ads can help drive brand awareness.

11. Nano- and micro-influencer marketing will become commonplace

Influencer marketing is more than just famous people on Instagram or TikTok. While they may have amassed an army of followers, their influence often comes at a high cost, making it difficult for smaller brands to collaborate with them. Furthermore, given the volume of their followers, engaging with them can be difficult.

Furthermore, today's consumers are increasingly drawn to more authentic experiences and are willing to engage with brands and influencers who provide both value and authenticity. As a result, more brands will collaborate with nano- and micro-influencers in the coming years. Nano- and micro-influencers frequently have higher engagement despite their smaller following. Nano-influencers, for example, have a higher average engagement rate of 3.69% than macro-influencers.

We can expect to see nano- and micro-influencers take center stage in the coming years as more brands opt for a more "community-led approach."

12. The Human Touch Will Be More Prominent

In 2022, brands such as Daniel Wellington and Dove encouraged their audiences to participate in their campaigns or create their own content featuring their brand. This trend is expected to grow even more in the coming year, with brands leveraging the power of the human touch to foster authenticity and drive engagement. As brands become more interactive, we might see a more "casual" approach to audience engagement. Instead of the usual carefully curated image that audiences are used to seeing, brands may begin using more conversational tones or taking steps to make their image more relatable and accessible to their target audience.

13. Gaming Will Compete with Social Media Platforms

By 2026, the gaming industry is expected to be worth $321 billion. According to G2A.com co-founder and CEO Bartosz Skwarczek, its growth is attributed to factors such as people finding new ways to entertain themselves during lockdowns while maintaining their social connections. The increasing popularity of AR and VR games is also a major driver of industry growth.

While it is unlikely to replace social media anytime soon, the gaming industry provides ample opportunities for brands to drive social interaction and community engagement. While nothing is certain at this time, we may begin to see brands capitalize on the gaming industry's potential to drive social interactions.

Finally, keep in mind that social media is a fast-paced and competitive environment. What worked in the past is not guaranteed to produce the same results in the future. So, stay up to date on the latest developments in these areas and apply them to your social media initiatives.

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