|Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.|
5 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2023
The new year always brings new trends and trend predictions in every industry. “Trendspotting” is a common and useful part of social media marketing. While marketing and research firms might highlight many different trends to watch, a number of them are mentioned more often than others.
Here are five social media trends that could have an impact on how you market your company on social networks moving forward.
1. Emphasis on Social Customer Service
The immediacy of social media conversations has put pressure on companies to address customer service issues in a more rapid manner. These days, consumers have an expectation that if they complain about a company, product, or service on a social network they will hear back from the company in question with a remedy.
Understanding consumer expectations is part of managing customer service as well as avoiding a social media communication crisis. A social media communication crisis is when a person’s complaint is amplified by others on the same social network and a negative post becomes “viral.”
Pay attention to the chatter online related to your company. While it is easy to praise the positive comments online, don’t shy away from responding to the negative in a non-defensive way. Look for ways to bring the conversation offline, on a phone call, or in private messages or email. Look for ways to better leverage customer feedback on social media such as tracking sentiment positive, negative, and neutral comments and analyzing what issues are more prevalent so you can address them.
Get to know your customers and prospects who follow you on social media by putting out a questionnaire that will give you greater insights into their needs, behaviors, pain points, and opinions. The more you know about who is following you and who is commenting on your posts, the better you can serve their needs.
2. The Bigger Rise of User-Generated Content (UGC)
With the demand for fresh social media content continuing to grow, looking for ways to augment your content production can be a way to save time and money. Leveraging the content generated by consumers on social networks can relieve some of the never-ending need for new content. Some ways you can tap into UGC include:
Whenever you are asking consumers to contribute content, make sure you get signed releases from them and explain how the content will be used. If no money is exchanging hands, specify this. If you are providing a product or payment, be clear about the expectation moving forward. Check with your legal counsel to make sure you are covering all your bases so you can use the content across multiple platforms and formats.
3. Building Lists with Password Protected Content
While your email list technically is not considered “social media,” sending messages directly into people’s email inboxes can be very effective when it comes to grabbing their attention and getting them to click links to take further action. Building your email list helps you bolster your direct contact with consumers.
One way to get more people to give you their email addresses and permission to contact them is to publish exclusive content on your site that is password protected. This type of content publishing is called “gated content.” Marketing agencies frequently use gated content that leads to reports where they compile findings from surveys they conduct. If you publish white papers, e-books, or other long-form content of value, consider putting it behind a form to request people’s contact information before giving them access.
4. More Partnering with Creators
While Influencer Marketing and Micro-Influencer Marketing have been around for a while as tactics for getting third-party endorsements for your brand, social networks are now embracing influencers as a potential revenue generator. For example, TikTok and LinkedIn now have Creator programs where they provide support to influencers and content creators on their platforms with special tools, promotion for their content, access to brands, and more.
As a small business looking to work with influencers, these Creator programs could give you a more managed and manageable way to work with independent content creators. The fees you’ll pay for this access would fall under advertising on the social network. If you decide to work directly with an influential content creator, they will each have their own rate sheet and prices. Shop around until you find ones in your budget who can help you reach a niche target audience.
5. Experimentation with Artificial Intelligence
A more complex trend that affects aspects of social media marketing is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) for content creation. Over the last few years, chatbots became popular, using AI to respond to inquiries from customers, particularly within Facebook’s Messenger app.
Now there are two main areas where AI is being applied: content creation and image generation. AI content creation tools such as Jasper, Anyword, and ChatGBT claim to be able to generate “smart” content that can be used for blog posts, social media messaging, and other forms of marketing content. While these tools seem to possess an uncanny ability to generate text in different voices and styles, they are often only as good as the prompts and inputs they receive. If you plan on trying one of these tools to generate messaging for your social media posts, you’ll still need to carefully review them for accuracy, syntax, and overall appropriateness and relevance.
In terms of making graphics with AI, there is a multitude of tools popping up such as Craiyon (formerly Dall-E mini), Dall-E 2, Synthesia, and even image creators in Jasper and the popular site Canva. There are even AI tools that generate videos. While AI-generated images can be compelling and the tools can prove useful, be aware of potential copyright issues if imitating or drawing from someone else’s actual art.
If you are marketing in a strategic way and on-brand, not every social media trend will be suitable for your company or your target audience. You do not need to adopt every popular trend to be successful with your social media marketing efforts. Choose the ones that make the most sense based on your goals, resources, and desired outcomes.
Read other social media blogs by Aliza Sherman