In today’s hyper-digital world, consumer behaviour is evolving by the week, and brands are having a busier time than ever keeping on their toes and ahead of the curve on the latest digital trends. In our latest edition of the Social Media Trends Report, we partnered with Khoros to investigate 10 top trends that brands and marketers must watch in the year ahead. As we are about to enter 2023, I thought I’d cover a few of the trends that you absolutely must not miss.
1. Social media will meet a new social standard: Misinformation and disinformation is costly – not just for consumers, but also the businesses and governments that fail to regulate it. As deepfake and AI technologies proliferate, it’s important that more safeguards are put in place to enable the screening of all brand-related conversations. Publications such as the Times of India have already taken it upon themselves to establish a ‘Times Fact Check’ column. In 2023, one can expect increased demands that social media platforms and brands uphold the integrity and authenticity of their channels, so that consumers are able to trust the material they engage with.
2. Decentralised social networks will be the next big thing: There is growing concern around individuals’ lack of control over their social network information and activities. As per the status quo, this data is currently stored and managed by those that run the network, and social media users today want more of a say. This concern with privacy and control is driving more consumers towards decentralised social networks such as Phaver and Solcial, but it remains to be seen if this social network migration will be the final answer. In 2023, one can anticipate the bigger social platforms will address more of the privacy concerns raised by users and perhaps more control will be given back to users with regard to how their data is used and who accesses it.
3. Social commerce will rise and fall: Accelerated digital growth in the post-pandemic period and rising costs of living are driving an increased demand for affordability. In their search for a better bargain, consumers are expected to be more willing to explore new shopping channels such as social. This openness to shopping socially is uneven, however, since some markets seem more ready to adopt social commerce than others. In India, as with Southeast Asia, collectivist values seem to be spurring on the social commerce model and, in less developed regions, this is also helping to bridge an infrastructure gap. From FY 20-25, social commerce in India is expected to grow at 55-60% CAGR, taking the current market size from $1.5-2 billion to $16-20 billion, according to a recent report. Brands will want to plan ahead for the opening of new digital shopfronts, as more social media platforms look to integrate social shopping features.
4. Customer experience will get even more social: In the Age of the Consumer, customers constantly expect faster, better and more personalised experiences. In the haste for immediate attention and gratification – customer posts, comments, and direct messages on brands’ social channels are expected to become the norm. More customer experience (CX) teams will need to put in place dedicated in-channel support as a result, in order to enable the seamless and integrated delivery of a brand’s communication and solutions via social media.
5. Personas are over, you will think ‘communities’: As the customer acquisition race begins to cool off in certain sectors, more brands are turning to communities to bolster retention and loyalty. Whether it is Financial Twitter (#FinTwit) or otherwise, social media has conveniently become host to many groups that cater to the diverse and changeable interests and drivers of today’s consumer. Gone are the days of persona marketing – more brands today are working with influencers of all sizes, employee advocates, and even champion customers, to create authentic connections and consumer-centric content. In 2023, brands will need to focus on gaining deeper knowledge of their consumer ecosystems in order to understand who is driving and sharing brand-focused conversations.
While trends come and go, getting to the heart of the consumers’ needs and communicating with them clearly and consistently remains the fundamentals of brand success. The above trends are sure to keep marketing professionals on their toes next year.
(Views expressed are personal. ‘Think Through’ features perspectives of authors or entities that are not curated or edited by MediaNews4u.com. Content may be sponsored by the contributing organisations.)