Social Media Trends 2023

As we approach a new year, it’s a perfect time to take a look back at the significant shifts in social media throughout 2023. The digital landscape has seen some noteworthy change, and understanding these trends provides a valuable perspective as we prepare to navigate the social media landscape in 2024. So, let’s take a moment to reflect on the key developments of the past year and consider how they shape and contribute to our online experiences in the year ahead.

 

Key Trends

  • Everyone, Please Welcome AI to the Team!
  • Mastering The Algorithm
  • Searching Beyond Google: Captions That Connect
  • Resourcefulness: Work Smart, Not Hard

 

Everyone, Please Welcome AI to the Team!

AI has been present for many years, but its widespread integration into society occurred in 2023. Despite some hesitancy towards adopting this advanced technology, with concerns about its functionality and a preference for sticking to traditional methods, it is important to recognize that ‘scaling back on its use now would be like reverting from computers to typewriters’ (Hootsuite, 2023). While questions and concerns about AI’s credibility and sources are valid, from an agency perspective it is crucial to understand that AI can be a valuable tool for speeding up low-level tasks, such as drafting context appropriate responses to customer questions and reviews, or streamlining the monthly content planning and posting process . This allows marketing professionals to dedicate more time to high-value, experience-based work for their clients. 

What does this mean for 2024? 

As AI becomes an integral part of the social media landscape, the conversation is evolving from the simplistic approach of identifying whether content originates from humans or AI. Instead, we must ask ourselves if the AI-generated content we identify holds value, and if it seamlessly blends with the brand’s existing persona. Ultimately, in 2024, it’s less about who made it – humans or AI – and more about asking, “Was this content created with intention, keeping the brand’s identity in mind, and does it hold value?” 

 

Mastering the Ever Changing Algorithm

Social media algorithms are notoriously mysterious and constantly evolving. There is frequent online speculation about how the algorithm is generated, and right when users believe they have mastered it, it evolves again. Throughout its constant evolution, one thing remains the same. The key to conquering the algorithm is engagement. This means actively engaging with your audience and community and striving for high engagement on your posts, particularly within the first few hours of posting, both via feed and stories. By prioritizing engagement, you can increase the visibility and reach of your content, ultimately maximizing its impact and effectiveness. 

It’s also essential to recognize that video-based content holds a special place in the algorithm’s heart. Video content not only maximizes engagement but also aligns seamlessly with algorithmic preferences, making it the preferred choice for increasing visibility, reach, and overall impact. So, as you strategize for success in the ever-evolving digital space, giving priority to video content is a surefire way to maximize your social media effectiveness.

 

Content Style Shifts:

Authenticity Over Perfection: In 2023, there was a noticeable shift away from “picture-perfect” content. People now associate credibility with relatability, which is why we see a rise in content that is less staged and more user-generated. This content is honest, often humorous, or includes a behind-the-scenes element. As a result, it performs much better than high-production content. A stellar example is our client in the industrial sector who embraced this trend, focusing on genuine behind-the-scenes content throughout 2023. The result? An impressive 909% increase in engagement in just 8 months, showcasing the remarkable impact of authentic, user-centric storytelling in today’s digital landscape.

UGC: Brands are focusing on more natural and user-generated content (UGC)-style campaigns, de-influencing, and authenticity. Instead of relying on celebrities to promote their products or services, brands are now leveraging influencers and UGC to establish a sense of relatability. A standout illustration is our tutoring client, who embraced this approach and witnessed a remarkable 345% surge in engagement over the course of 8 months by collaborating with micro-influencers. This showcases the impact of user-generated content and strategic influence partnerships hold in establishing a deeper and more authentic connection with the audience.

Shadowbanning: Another revelation has come to light regarding creators being shadowbanned. While this is not the sole reason, it can be considered an important one. Cross-posting watermarked video-based content is a primary cause of shadow banning. This refers to posting a TikTok watermarked video as an Instagram reel, and vice versa. The solution? Edit using other free platforms such as CapCut or iMovie.

What does this mean for 2024?

People want more than just the polished content – they’re curious about what’s happening behind the scenes. It’s time to show the real workings of your business, the day-to-day grind, and the people making it happen. This is a chance to create a variety of content that’s not just about looking good but really connecting with your audience. If getting behind the camera is outside your comfort zone, consider teaming up with micro-influencers or exploring user-generated content (UGC). 

Whether it’s pulling back the curtain on how you operate or collaborating with creators in your industry who understand what your business is about, the goal is the same: creating content that feels real, strengthens connections, and captures relatability and authenticity.

 

Searching Beyond Google: Captions That Connect

Younger generations spend the majority of their online time on social media, so why assume they will switch to search engines like Google to find out information? Well, the stats now speak for themselves! “In the past year, TikTok surpassed Google as the primary source of information for Gen Z. **** Almost a quarter (24%) of consumers aged 18-54 already go to social media first to search for brands. This shoots up to 36% among Gen Z.” (Hubspot, 2023) So, what does this mean from a marketing perspective? It reinforces the idea that social media cannot be neglected going forward and that your captions should be written with strategy and keywords in mind!

What does this mean for 2024?

In an era where authenticity is valued, people are increasingly turning to content that provides genuine insights and practical guidance. Incorporate keyword language, such as “reviews,” “advice on,” “pros and cons,” “alternatives,” and “best option,” into your content. By integrating these specific keywords, you not only enhance the discoverability of your content within search algorithms but also directly address the search intent of your audience.

 

Resourcefulness: Work Smart, Not Hard

If you are working with limited resources, either time or budget, you should assess which platform you perform best on. The platform that provides the best ROI varies depending on the industry. Now is the opportune time to invest more in your top-performing platform. At Marwick, our monthly performance analyses allow us to pinpoint platforms that align seamlessly with our clients’ objectives. A testament to this approach is our Aerospace client, experiencing an impressive 837% surge in LinkedIn followers within just 8 months. What makes this even more noteworthy is that it reflects a broader trend observed across the industry. The rise of LinkedIn in 2023 was experienced not only by our clients but also industry-wide. It highlights the platform’s increasing significance in the digital landscape. In an era dominated by AI and a growing emphasis on online authenticity, the surge in LinkedIn growth underpins how important it is for businesses to invest in platforms that authentically resonate with their audience.

What does this mean for 2024?  

Now’s the perfect time to glance at your yearly performance – spot those peaks and valleys. Where are you shining, and where might you need a boost? Use these insights to craft a killer 2024 social media strategy. If LinkedIn isn’t already part of your business playbook, 2024 is the perfect time to integrate this platform into your 2024 plans. 

brand confidence in social media channels

Resources:

Semrush 2023

https://lp.semrush.com/rs/519-IIY-869/images/Semrush_Social_Media_Trends_2024.pdf?version=0

Hootsuite, 2023

https://hootsuite.widen.net/s/mgqjjznhsx/hootsuitesocialtrends2024_report_en

Hubspot, 2023

https://www.hubspot.com/hubfs/2023%20Global%20Social%20Media%20Trends%20Report.pdf?hubs_signup-url=offers.hubspot.com/social-media-trends-report&hubs_signup-cta=Download%20Now&hubs_offer=offers.hubspot.com/social-media-trends-report&_gl=1*1tuxlis*_gcl_au*MjA3NjE0Njc3Mi4xNzAwMDc5MzU1*_ga*NTgwMDk5My4xNzAwMDc5MzU1*_ga_LXTM6CQ0XK*MTcwMDg3MjgxMC4yLjEuMTcwMDg3MjgzNC4zNi4wLjA.&_ga=2.187499306.306820055.1700872811-5800993.1700079355

Emplifi, 2023

https://go.emplifi.io/rs/284-ENW-442/images/Emplifi-Social-Influence-Study-2023_compressed.pdf

Christian Thomson
LinkedIn

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.

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