5 social media trends to watch in 2023

By Sophie Madgewick
9th January 2023

January is a time to reflect, set resolutions and explore new trends to refresh your new annual marketing plans. As we head into 2023, social media is predicted to evolve in many exciting ways and we can’t wait to see these come to fruition.

Organic social can, and should, be used to build authentic and strong relationships with target audiences and 71% of businesses see organic social playing a more important role in driving business and marketing strategy in 2023.

In this post, the Wolfenden social team share their thoughts on the top social trends to watch in 2023, from authenticity and TikTok SEO to nano-influencers.

1. Authenticity takes centre stage

In 2022, we witnessed the rise of BeReal, a social media platform powered by realness and authenticity. The first social network of its kind that encourages people to spontaneously share their real life by sending a notification to post at a random time every day.

Social media has often been criticised for representing lives through rose-tinted glasses, with perfectly curated content in oppose to real life. BeReal comes at the perfect time, with a focus on unfiltered photos and encouraging people to embrace every day – no matter how exciting or boring it may be!

TikTok has since jumped on the authenticity train by introducing “Now”. Now offers a daily photo or video experience enabling users to share their most authentic moments. The key difference with this feature is that you can record a 10-second video, as BeReal only allows photos.

“When a new social channel comes to light, it’s always a mix of excitement and hesitation. I know when BeReal first launched many people said it was a phase and would disappear within a year. However, now it appears it really is here to stay.

The focus on realness is something which other social channels lack, so it’s exciting to use a channel with real life and authenticity at its heart. This type of social media platform is long overdue, and I look forward to seeing how it may develop in 2023. Instagram is testing a new feature called “candid,” so it appears that other channels are taking a leaf out of BeReal’s book already!”

 – Georgie Wood, Social Media Executive

2. Video goes full screen

Over the past couple of years, we have seen full screen vertical videos gain momentum. Instagram followed TikTok’s lead quickly, introducing reels to compete with the video giant. Last year, Instagram announced that it was ditching IGTV, and other video types and every video would be published as a reel which offers more full screen viewing.

Not too long-ago Facebook also rolled out reels, aligning with the 9:16 aspect ratio.

Studies have found that vertical videos have 13.8x more visibility on Facebook, enabling brands to increase audience reach and awareness online. Both YouTube and Twitter are rumoured to be trialling new features to embrace the full screen video trend also.

We predict huge strides for vertical full screen videos in 2023 across channels. This will mean brands can repurpose video content across channels for increased reach with ease!

“What better way to captivate audiences than to make the screen bigger and better!

Social platforms, like TikTok, are using full screen vertical videos to offer a more immersive way for users to view videos. Based on my experience with TikTok and Instagram Reels marketing, users engage with relatable and personable content the most.

By enlarging the screen it allows viewers to feel more involved which in turn makes the video seem more personable. It is only a matter of time before other platforms adjust to this form of viewing.”

 – Georgie Wood, Social Media Executive

3. The rise of TikTok SEO (and more new features)

The term “going viral” has seen a resurgence and it’s all due to TikTok. Whilst there is no sure-fire way to “go viral” on any social channel, implementing good SEO practices can help increase reach and video views.

TikTok isn’t technically a search engine, but many people use the channel for inspiration, advice, and reviews. In fact, 40% of young people primarily use TikTok and Instagram for search, giving brands even more reason to take SEO seriously within social channels.

What’s more, videos from TikTok and other social channels now show up in SERPs.

“As a user’s search behaviour moves to alternative platforms outside of the traditional SERPs – and Google’s subsequent attempt to reintegrate these results into their own engine – it is important to evolve our strategies to target additional opportunities and capture a wider audience.

Although it is still in its infancy, core search principles around keyword relevancy and post engagement represent a clear crossover between traditional SEO, and TikToK SEO.”

 – Tom Corless, Head of SEO

In addition to SEO, we suspect that TikTok has a number of unconfirmed features and updates in store for us in 2023!

“As a team, we are finding SEO tools are becoming increasingly important to understand search behaviour and how that translates to social media. However, as TikTok SEO tools don’t currently exist, we still find that searching directly in the TikTok search bar is one of the best ways to understand trends.

One thing is for sure, SEO and social are becoming even more closely aligned.”

 – Emily Dean, Social Media Executive

4. UGC-generated culture continues to grow

The demand for authenticity and realness on social media has impacted influencer marketing, as many people search for content creators they can relate to.

As user-generated content (UGC) isn’t brand sponsored, many users perceive it to be more trustworthy. According to a recent survey, 55% of consumers trust UGC over other forms of marketing which explains why more brands are incorporating it into social media strategies.

TikTok continues to evolve its user-generated culture, the app is full of real-life customer reviews and videos helping to build brand trust and loyalty.

This has led to a new type of influencer, known as “nano-influencers” who have between 1K and 10K followers.  Nano-influencers are real customers who share reviews of products online. These posts often aren’t polished or carefully curated but they have a significant impact on consumer behaviour.

“In the past, large influencers, with hundreds of thousands or millions of followers, have ruled Instagram. However, now, more and more of the social community are searching for influencers who focus on niche topics.

This has seen a boom in the popularity of smaller influencers, known as nano-influencers, who only promote products or services they truly believe in.”

 – Emily Dean, Social Media Executive

We expect to see more brands using nano-influencer content as a means of building trust and generating higher conversions this year.

5. A boom for social audio

Audio forms an important element of any video. Many, if not all, of the trends that went viral in 2022 were fuelled by songs or sound bites, think of the Beyonce Cuff It dance trend which now has 2.6M total videos on TikTok!

As a team, we’ve experimented with a range of songs and sounds for clients this year and have seen higher engagement rates on videos that include trending audio.

The rise and fall of Clubhouse left many doubting the future of social audio. However, it is looking bright for 2023.

Last year, Instagram released a feature which enabled users to add music to static images using the in-app editor. This new update would further suggest that social audio will experience a boom in 2023.

There is no doubt that audio is important on social media, and we look forward to seeing any new updates or features that social media platforms have in store!

To summarise, we predict the demand for authenticity will continue grow. This demand will be visible in the influencer marketing industry as people engage with nano-influencers and the user-generated culture only gets stronger. More channels are expected to embrace full screen video as they look to make user experiences more immersive. TikTok SEO and social audio will continue to be integral to increasing reach, views, and engagement.

If you need some help getting your strategy ready for these trends, then make sure to get in touch.

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