When it comes to social media, 2023 is set to be a year of 'authenticity', according to customer experience platform Emplifi, as brands turn to 'customer influencers', user-generated content, and emerging platforms such as BeReal and TikTok.
Emplifi, which has one of the largest social media databases across the world, works with 7,800 brands across a number of industries, including retail and consumer goods firms.
It has identified five key social media trends that are likely to dominate retail and FMCG marketing strategies over the coming year.
1. User-Generated Content Is King
According to Emplifi, campaigns and websites that implement user-generated content (UGC) deliver 29% higher web conversion rates compared to campaigns or websites without it. This will likely push brands to ramp up their UGC initiatives, galvanising customer participation and engagement.
“Authenticity will be key going into 2023, and what could be more authentic than shining the spotlight on your very own customers?" says Emplifi chief strategy officer Kyle Wong. "Expect brands to encourage customers to share their content and experiences."
2. The Rise Of The 'Customer Influencer'
Allied to the rise in UGC will be the emergence of what Emplifi describes as the 'customer influencer.
Marketing campaigns can be costly, and even more so when influencer marketing is added to the mix. According to Emplifi, brands spend more than $100 (€92) on average per content piece created by an influencer. In contrast, UGC is free, provided the brands secure the right permissions to feature images on their website and social media pages.
As Generation Z continues to grow their purchasing power, more emphasis will be placed on a brand’s authenticity. In fact, 82% of Gen Zers surveyed claimed that they put more trust behind brands that leverage images of real-life customers in their marketing versus those that do not.
3. Short-Form Video Continues To Dominate
The rise of TikTok has indicated heightened demand from consumers for short-form video content, which has been reinforced by the success of Instagram Reels, which outperformed all other post types on the Meta-owned platform last year.
Notably, 80% of brands that have a presence on Instagram published at least one Reel in the third quarter of 2022. This is a significant increase since 2021, when only 41% of brands on the social media network were posting Reels content.
"With other video content formats coming to rise such as Instagram Reels, marketers will face the challenge of readjusting their current content strategy to adapt to the evolving trends and invest more of their budget in video," says Emplifi CMO Zarnaz Arlia.
4. Social Platforms To Offer More Support
Recent studies have shown that two in three consumers prefer to use social media during the buying process to ask questions, make online purchases and seek post-purchase customer support. However, many cite negatives from the experience, such as slow response times and a lack of round-the-clock customer service.
Among consumers, 52% expect brands to respond to customer service inquiries via digital channels within an hour, with 22% expressing a preference for social media, 19% for email, and 16% for website chat.
"Social customer care has always been in the shadows, but with lockdowns and travel restrictions the invisible cloak was removed," says Arlia. "Brands quickly realised that they weren’t equipped to manage customer support efforts via their social platforms without reconsidering their social care capabilities.
"This trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. We will increasingly see customers turning to social media platforms more frequently to connect with brands about service-related issues."
5. More Investment In TikTok Advertising
TikTok boasts around 30 million daily users, meaning it is likely to become an evermore lucrative arena for marketing investment during 2023. Indeed, data from Q2 of 2022 found that brands increased their spending on the platform by 231% compared to the same period the previous year.
"Boasting nearly 30 million daily active users globally, it’s no wonder that brands are beginning to explore TikTok’s potential - not only in generating brand awareness but in its contribution to the bottom line," says Arlia.
With TikTok product discovery gaining momentum, brands are more frequently using the platform to showcase products. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt gained nearly 31 billion views, demonstrating just how effective the platform has become for influencers and users to share their experiences in an engaging way.
In summary, as Emplifi notes, authenticity is set to rule all aspects of marketing on social media over the coming year, and will be a 'powerful ingredient' that can turn a 'good' marketing campaign into a 'great' one.
According to Arlia, "The rise of UGC and organic low-budget video will play an increasingly dominant role in the digital space as audiences shift away from flashy celebrity-endorsed campaigns and, instead, gravitate toward real-life reviews and testimonials from customers and influencers."