2023 Social Media Trends: 5 Major Shifts Coming This Year and Beyond

As we reach the halfway point of the year, I’ve been looking back on the trends we’ve seen emerge so far. And with the help of HubSpot’s 2023 Global Social Media Trends Report, I’ve been considering the coming summer and beyond, too, reflecting on what’s in store for both my own performance marketing agency, Pixated, and the industry as a whole. Here are the 5 trends that stood out to me the most.

1) People are leveraging social media for customer care

In Q1 2023, 20% of customers reached out to brands via social media for support. This indicates a clear shift in communication preferences, from more traditional customer service channels like phone and email to direct message. This mirrors society’s increasing prioritising of convenience over human interaction.

Of course, the customer is always right—and brands have been sitting up and taking notice of this paradigm shift. 76% of social media marketers say their companies now provide customer service via social media.

2) Celebrity endorsements are so 2022—this year’s all about content creators

Who ever saw the day coming when celebrities would lose some of their glamour? Certainly not me. Of course the big brands are still utilising celebs in their ads, but this year the influencer marketing arena has exploded like never before. No fewer than 80% of social media marketers project a significant rise in collaborations between brands and content creators in 2023.

I believe this shift has also come about at least in part because more and more companies are recognising the unique value proposition locked away within niche creators. Certainly at my own agency we’ve been increasingly recommending micro-influencers, whose niche but dedicated followings represent the perfect expanded target audiences for the brands we work with.

More fundamentally, it’s also interesting to note that the change in the wind from celebrity-oriented marketing to ‘real’ people shows customers’ growing preference for authenticity and relatability in those they look to for product recommendations.

3) People are using social for search and discovery like never before

A remarkable 87% of social media marketers believe that by the end of this year customers’ inclination to browse brands on social media platforms will surpass their use of traditional search engines. Industry leaders are fully acknowledging this trend—in fact, even Google has conceded that it’s losing search engine users to platforms like TikTok when it comes to discovery.

…And TikTok isn’t sitting back and just taking the win, either. The platform’s got big plans: it’s getting ready to take on the paid search ads market—and positioning itself as a direct competitor to the giants of Google and Microsoft.

Grab the popcorn… it could be a fiery summer.

4) Short-form video’s popularity is transcending channels

Short-form video is, at least for now, the undisputed king of content formats, regardless of platform. Even just from my experience at my own agency I can attest that short-form video consistently generates high ROIs for clients while helping advance their business goals. This trend is certainly not new to 2023, but I definitely feel we’re witnessing the apotheosis of short-term video’s popularity right now—and that this is still only the beginning.

Of course, within short-form video we’ve seen fierce competition between TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels. All three capitalise with deadly acuity on social media users’ ever-dwindling attention spans and their heightened cravings for brief and poppy content. And underlining this change in content consumption are insights into Gen Zers’ and Millennials’ preference for learning about new brands through bright and succinct videos. I believe this represents a fundamental and semipermanent shift toward short and dynamic content as the prevailing ‘language’ spoken by social media users worldwide.

5) Platform personalisation is everything right now

The average marketer utilises no fewer than four social media platforms to boost brand awareness and engage with as wide an audience as possible. Of course there are lots of upsides to this, but it does mean creating content distinct to each platform to make the whole endeavour worthwhile.

Back in the days of yore (2022), social media marketers were less averse to just slightly repurposing content used on one platform for another. That practice just doesn’t cut it now, not least because the platforms are increasingly diverging and evolving their own unique content conventions, stylistic nuances and technical requirements. It’s therefore incumbent upon social media marketers to refine their platform personalisation more meticulously than ever. That’s the only way they can really maximise the potential of Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest—whatever platforms work for their brands. Certainly for the remainder of 2023 and beyond I expect to see increasingly refined and platform-specific content strategies—or at least, that’s certainly the direction in which I’m taking things for my own clients!

CE Banner (840x104) 3

As long as marketers know what’s driving these trends, they’ll stay ahead of major changes.

In analysing HubSpot’s 2023 Global Social Media Trends Report and reflecting on my own clients’ experiences, it’s clear to me that the realm of social media marketing is in an incredible state of flux right now, even relative to its general condition of perpetual volatility. Even with these trends in mind and all the data to hand, it’s incredibly tough to predict what’s going to happen in just one month’s time, never mind in one year. So it’s imperative that marketers keep an eye on this fast-changing landscape—if only to know what direction not to take their brands in!