As we approach the end of 2023, the social media landscape has evolved dramatically. Its impacts go without saying.
Per Forbes, the number of global social media users has swelled to an estimated 4.9 billion, undoubtedly transforming the way we communicate, connect, and consume content.
This year has seen significant shifts in user behaviour, platform-specific trends, emerging content formats, and their impact on digital marketing. So, what have we learnt? Let’s break it down.
Solely using trending audio is out. Brands and creators started their own “trends” by using popular audio but putting their own unique spin on it. Our social media space is constantly replicated and recycled, so offering digital audiences original content keeps them more engaged. It also works to humanise your product or message as opposed to following the same rigid formatting we see time and time again.
Authenticity is valued more than ever. Audiences appreciate genuine content and transparent communication. Brands and influencers are learning that building trust is a key factor in maintaining a loyal and engaged following. Authentically matters, really.
Short-form video content, popularised by platforms like TikTok, has continued to gain traction. The success of this format has prompted other platforms to integrate similar features, emphasising the importance of concise and engaging content.
Instagram Reels, short-form videos, gained significant popularity and dominated images on Instagram, providing a more engaging and dynamic user experience. Also, TikTok continued to be a popular platform for brands to connect with their audience, particularly younger demographics. The app has been downloaded more than 4.1 billion times worldwide. Who can’t help but see that with Mr Krabs money eyes?
All up it means businesses are investing in short-form video production more now than ever before. TikTok has over 1 billion active monthly users (and keep in mind that there are 5.3 billion people online).
Short vids aren’t the only change, though. The rise of audio-based platforms, such as Clubhouse and the audio features on Twitter and LinkedIn, indicates a shift in how users consume content. The popularity of podcasts and the interactive nature of live audio discussions have contributed to this trend.
Ephemeral content, such as Instagram Stories and Snapchat, has become a significant part of social media strategy. The temporary nature of this content encourages more frequent and spontaneous sharing, creating a sense of urgency and FOMO (fear of missing out).
This niche-ness and VIP quality is echoed by recent moves by brands to target micro-communities and just relate to social media users as intimately as possible. Brands and marketers are recognising the value of niche communities and micro-influencers. Smaller, more targeted audiences can lead to higher engagement, and collaborations with micro-influencers often feel more authentic.
Niche social media posts are cool, but what’s even cooler is having an interest so niche that you need a new platform altogether. Well, maybe that simplifies things too much, but indeed a rise in social media platforms with niche intentions has been seen in 2023. There’s a soapbox for virtually anyone these days.
Continued awareness around privacy issues and data security has been a recurring theme. Users are increasingly concerned about how their personal information is handled by social media platforms, leading to calls for enhanced privacy measures and transparency.
Discussions about the impact of social media on mental health have gained prominence. There’s a growing awareness of the potential negative effects, such as social comparison, cyberbullying, and the pressure to present an idealised version of one’s life.
Social media remains a powerful tool for social activism and raising awareness. The year may have seen various movements gaining momentum on social platforms, illustrating the impact of online communities in driving real-world change.
Social media platforms regularly update their algorithms, impacting organic reach. Brands and content creators have had to adapt to these changes, emphasising the importance of diversifying content and engagement strategies.
This is especially important to sellers as social media platforms have increasingly become shopping destinations. Features like Instagram Shopping and Facebook Marketplace have blurred the lines between socialising and shopping, creating new opportunities for businesses.
But the best marketing doesn’t feel like it, so these online businesses want to target you, but naturally. So, grasping the delicate balance between organic reach and e-commerce potential has never been tougher.