Twitter, Authenticity and Edutainment: Social Media Marketing Trends 2023
We are still in Q1, yet the social media landscape has already shifted dramatically this year. From the Twitter debacle to the constant push/pull between video and photos, at Hart, we’re on the lookout for how these issues are evolving and what they may mean for brands and small businesses.
For this latest installment in our Expert Spotlight series, Hart’s Social Media Strategist Cate Shaw shares the top trends and themes she’s seeing in social right now.
The Blue Check Verification Debate
One of the biggest trending topics in social media so far is abundantly clear: Elon Musk and Twitter. Recent Twitter news has heightened the stress on social media experts because of the uncertainty the seemingly non-stop changes have had on the platform’s potential.
While many of us are focusing on Twitter and its paid blue check verification model, we’ll also be keeping an eye out for how this latest shift in the social media landscape will impact other platforms. For example, Meta recently followed Twitter’s example and announced a paid account verification feature called “Meta Verified.” Whether audiences latch on to this concept or not, what will this paid option mean for credibility on social platforms, especially at a time when the spread of misinformation and distrust is at an all-time high?
Social Media Video Production vs. Photos
It may seem obvious, but videos on social media continue to be favored by audiences, as well as by the platforms themselves. According to LinkedIn, a social media video generates 1,200% more shares than text and image content combined. In 2023, we’ll see an even greater push toward short-form (10 seconds or less) and vertical videos across social platforms.
However, what we’ll be interested in watching is how platforms begin to reset the balance between video and still images based on users’ frustrations with the ever-shifting algorithms. Lots of people ask if you can add photos to an Instagram post. Well, yes! In fact, Instagram has recently said that to connect to its roots, it’s working to update its rankings by increasing the prominence of photos on the platform.
Social media audiences, primarily led by the influence of Gen Z, are becoming more critical of overly edited, branded or curated social media content. For instance, although it was launched in 2020, BeReal was downloaded more than 6.8M times in 2022, primarily because many said they “like the app, as it shows life as it really is.”
Unsurprisingly, transparency, authenticity and “casual” yet aesthetic posts are emerging as the new content pillars for social media. According to a recent study by Sprout Social, 45% of consumers identified transparency as the most essential characteristic of a brand’s social media presence. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be posting blurry pictures, but loosening the reins on highly produced visuals, specifically for organic content, will give your audiences a more authentic, almost behind-the-scenes view of your brand.
When audiences feel like they are getting a transparent look into your organization, they are likely to feel more connected to the brand – and when they feel connected, it raises the probability they will become loyal customers. In fact, the Sprout Social Index 2022 found that 77% of consumers are more likely to increase their spending with brands they are connected to.
As a brand, to capture (and retain) a social media following means you need to be offering some sort of value to your audience. Enter edutainment, the mix between education and entertainment on social. With nearly 490B views on TikTok under the #LearnOnTikTok hashtag, whether it's demonstrating a tutorial, explaining a difficult concept or showing a unique perspective that consumers may not otherwise see, these edutainment videos, especially ones that offer a slight sense of humor and give the brand a personality, are increasing in popularity.
To harness this trend, take a look at what your brand can offer your audience. Is it a recipe? A new way of doing a task? A day-in-the-life example of one of your employees? Providing educational content can help break up that self-promotional content many brands tend to focus on and instead offer audiences something new and valuable to keep them returning to your pages.
Interested in what these trends mean for your brand and how you should be leveraging social media to reach your target audience? Let’s talk!