- Social media marketing is here to stay and the proof is in marketing budgets.
- 2023 may be the right year for smaller businesses to explore their relationship to the creator economy, as bigger brands scale back dollars devoted to creators.
- It’s more important than ever to pair your message and methodology with the right social network. Users have different expectations on each app, and cross-posting ain’t gonna cut it.
- TikTok and Instagram are for more than entertainment, and Google is no longer the only game in town for search.
- Chatbots are going to be clutch, as social spending goes up and marketers struggle to tackle customer service expectations.
Social media management company Hootsuite has released its Social Media 2023 Trends report. Check out some notable takeaways.
Smaller companies should start to explore partnerships with creators.
Just as marketing budgets began climbing out of the pandemic slump, recession fears have started taking effect. Larger companies are spending less on creators, which isn’t great news for influencers, but Hootsuite posits a silver lining: smaller and midsize businesses can take advantage of a more open playing field.
According to the report, “72% of small businesses (those with less than 100 employees) don’t work with creators in any capacity, while nearly 42% of businesses with over 1,000 employees do work with creators.”
Cost is cited as a primary reason for the discrepancy, but Hootsuite notes the majority of “creators are paid less than $100 US per post.” At the high end, 12% of creators can make up to $9,999 per post; 2% of interviewees reported making between $10,000-$24,999 per post; and only 1% of them said they made north of $25k on a single post. Nearly a third are also compensated via products or other freebies.
Money spent correlates with confidence levels and ROI expectations.
Those who’ve put money on the line expect it to pay off. In 2021, 83% of respondents told Hootsuite that they had “some level of confidence” in social media marketing’s ROI. That was up significantly from 2020’s 68%. Hootsuite rephrased the question this year, asking about confidence levels related to the usefulness of social media for marketing or engaging with audiences; that garnered a 96% confidence rate.
Rolling with the (new-ish) punches.
In terms of what 2023 might hold for the social media networks’ new features? Well, Hootsuite hopes the copycat trend is on the way out: “Adding competitor capabilities to one network doesn’t change the perception people have spent years forming of what a specific network is meant for,” so Instagram Reels are unlikely to pull users away from TikTok. Hootsuite also posits that “stealing a competitor’s features may actually have a negative impact on the perception of a social network.”
For marketers, who can’t actually control this, Hootsuite advises to avoid cross posting and also “spend less time worrying about which copycat feature to start using next and more time exploring platforms that best reflect their business goals.” They name drop WaPo as an example of a company differentiating its social content effectively.
Don’t sleep on social commerce.
In the US, “social commerce sales [are] set to grow 34.4% this year to $53.1 billion” – and it’s already booming outside North America. However, there’s been a lack of enthusiasm and companies reacted accordingly: “Meta decided to shut down its live commerce functionality on Facebook and affiliate product tagging option on Instagram. TikTok has also scaled back its ecommerce plans, delaying the launch of live shopping.”
As Billy Joel would say, “It’s always been a matter of trust.” For survey respondents, that’s the problem: “Their biggest concern is that their purchases won’t be protected or refunded. They’re also worried about the quality and authenticity of products and sellers on social media. And the third most common concern stems from trust in the social networks themselves; people say they don’t want to share their financial information with the networks.”
But those who do make the leap are consistent. Insider Intelligence reported that social spend in 2022 is up 27% from the prior year, reaching $518 per buyer, and that’s expected to increase to $935 in 2025.
Social search is kicking Google’s @$$.
Well, in some demographics, at least.
The youth are searching TikTok and Insta to learn what to eat or buy and where to go to do it. Amazingly, Hootsuite reports that “40% of 18- to 24-year-olds are now using social media as their primary search engine,” per Google’s own research! Additionally, “more internet users aged 16 to 64 visit social networks than search engines on a monthly basis.”
However, TV and word of mouth are (so far) still beating out social in the world of product discovery.
Digital customer service matters. A lot.
Just because people have returned to brick and mortar doesn’t mean they don’t care how online transactions are handled.
Apparently, chatbots and AI help can go a long way to handle dissatisfied customers online. Automation can handle FAQs and fulfill orders, while keeping headcounts low and queues shorter..
As of 2022, “only 26% of organizations that said they use social as a primary customer service channel told us they use chatbots on social and messaging apps. And of the organizations that do use chatbots on social and messenger apps, more than half of them (53%) adopted chatbots at some point during the pandemic.”
And some of this is being handled outside the customer service team. Hootsuite says “49% of organizations said that social customer service was usually or exclusively the responsibility of the marketing team.“ But that doesn’t mean that most of them are confident in the role; “Marketers are neither trained to respond to customers, nor is there an incentive to if that responsibility sits outside their remit and with another team.”