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Episode #41: My 2023 social media trend forecast

2023 is almost here! As a business owner, it's important for you to stay up-to-date on the latest trends on social media and how they influence your business. In this blog post, I break down the 5 trends I expect will shape the social media space next year.


As always, if you prefer to listen to the podcast episode instead of reading it, then click on the player below. Follow my podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, and all the other platforms to get notified as soon as a new episode becomes available!


Since the new year is creeping up on us I already wanted to have a look at what I think will be trends in the social media space in 2023 and, most importantly, discuss what that means for you as a business owner!


1) More e-commerce integrations on social media:

A first trend that I see slowly evolving on social media platforms and that I think will be much bigger in 2023 is e-commerce and e-commerce integrations on social media apps. What that means is that you will be able to scroll through an app and buy products directly from there.


To a certain extent, you can already do this on Instagram with Instagram shopping but there is much more potential. An indicator of that is that TikTok has recently advertised jobs on LinkedIn for a global fulfillment center in Seattle (more on that here). This means that you will be able to consume content, purchase recommended products directly in the app and have them delivered by TikTok rather than the individual business.


For you as a consumer, this would mean shorter delivery times and potentially also reduced prices. For you as a business owner, this would mean that TikTok acts as a wholesaler that buys stock from you and then delivers it for you rather than you having to deliver it to each individual customer.


TikTok is now already a big driver for purchases with hashtags like #tiktokmademebuythis or #tiktokfinds. Shopping in apps and especially also during live streams is already incredibly popular in the Chinese market. There are certain influencers in China who hop on a live stream that goes on for hours and hours - think classic teleshopping but then on a social media app - and sell millions of products. To give you an idea of the scale of live shopping in China, there is a woman called Huang Wei (known as “Viya”) who manages to attract up to 37 million viewers to her live streams – that is more than the Game of Thrones finale or the Oscars. In every single live stream, this person sells millions of dollars of products, mostly cosmetics and clothing but also food, appliances, and even houses. On Singles day in 2020 which is one of the biggest shopping events in China she sold products worth more than CN¥ 3 billion - that's $670 million NZD or about $418 million USD. If you're interested in knowing more about this trend, read this article here.


I'm not sure if the live stream shopping trend is going to be as crazy in the western world as it is in Asia but e-commerce is definitely going to be an important one in 2023.


2) Growing importance of creators:

Let’s stay in the world of creators for a moment. Already in the last year, we have seen that platforms like Instagram and also TikTok have put a strong focus on pushing creators. For example, they have both established a creator marketplace & fund.


Why are they doing this?

Social media platforms are moving more into the "entertainment" direction rather than the "social" one. I'll talk about this later on still but for now you need to know that creators are becoming more and more important, especially for brands. The younger generation loves more real and authentic content – more on that later as well - and it is much easier for brands to reach this audience by working together with content creators. I think that in the new year brands will focus even more on collaborations with content creators, they will outsource certain tasks to them and have content created by them. If you already want to hit the ground running on this trend, read this blog post here where I talk all about how to work together with influencers as a business.


3) More AI-recommended content:

Talking about content: we will also see more AI-recommended content in the future. Yep, I'm sorry to tell you this but it is pretty obvious that most social media platforms, if not all, are going in this direction. What this means is that algorithms (TikTok’s one is the best example here) focus on showing you content from all users based on your interests & interactions rather than showing you what your friends are posting. Facebook and Instagram are keen to work on this more as well in an attempt to catch up with TikTok.


For you as a business owner this is actually really good news because, if an algorithm focuses on interests and interactions on a platform, it is more likely that you will be discovered by people who haven't heard of you before. It's great for brand awareness and for increasing your audience size. For you as a private social media user it might be a step in the wrong direction because you will see less of what your family and friends are posting and more of what creators and brands are. That being said, Instagram has recently introduced the Following or Favourites feed where you will only see content from people that you're following.


Less "social", more "media"

This trend also goes along with the fact that social media platforms are becoming less social and more media which I quickly touched upon before. In the next few years, we will probably see a shift from classic social media platforms that have the main goal of connecting people and keeping people up-to-date to media and entertainment companies (more on this here).


The main difference here is that, with a classic social media platform, people open the app to stay up-to-date with friends and family whereas with an entertainment platform, you open the app to be entertained. For the platforms this is obviously a smart move because you only have a limited number of people that you usually follow and private users don't post even nearly as much as creators or businesses. This helps the platforms to keep you on the apps for longer which then in turn helps them to generate more ad revenue.


Even though TikTok has been branded as a social media app they have never called themselves that. They have always called themselves an entertainment platform.


4) TikTok first vs Instagram first:

As you can see with many of these trends, TikTok is the main innovation driver. I think that we will see a switch from Instagram/Facebook first to TikTok first.


Let me explain what I mean by that:

Even when TikTok became more important for businesses, businesses have still always created content with Instagram in mind and then repurposed videos that they had on there for their TikTok accounts. What we will see in the future is the opposite though. Brands will create content with TikTok in mind and repurpose snippets from that to all the other platforms.


One of the main trends that will contribute to this shift is the rise of video content. I'm not going to go into the video trend in this post because we have already seen it happen in 2022.


5) Unfiltered, real content:

Since TikTok is and will be the main driver for social media trends in the new year and beyond that, we will also see a bigger shift towards unfiltered, real content rather than a curated, aesthetic one. We already see this shift happening, mainly on TikTok but it has also already swapped over to other platforms like Instagram. What I mean with unfiltered, real content is basically the opposite of what Instagram has always been known for: nicely positioned products, professional photos and videos that might have been created by a video company for your business as well as feeds that have an ongoing theme. All in all, a very curated experience. Tiktok has completely changed the game because the feed itself is not really important to them - the actual content matters. I'm not saying that high-quality photos and especially also videos are not important anymore. Quite the opposite: they will be more important than ever but TikTok also shows us that videos filmed on a phone can perform very well.


What does that mean for you as a business owner?

I have already talked about the concept of content that only you can make in the last post but I want to give you another example of this. Imagine that you are a digital marketing agency and you have four employees that work for you. Traditionally, you would make a post about each one of them to introduce them. What you will be doing more of in the future with this unfiltered, real content is taking a different angle. For example, you could ask each one of them to document their day at work, cut it together into a video and upload that. Or you could ask them one question that each of them has to answer that somehow relates back to your business, to trends in your niche, or the work that you do. This way of promoting your business is much more subtle and also more authentic.


I'm curious to see what 2023 will bring and can't wait to review these trends at the end of the year. For now, I wish you a fantastic time over the holidays!


Talk soon,

Hanna

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