A young woman sits on a plush gray carpet and waves at a ring light attached to a tripod. She's sitting on the floor of a wood-panelled bedroom; behind her is a bed and beside her are a couple of small stools, a cushioned chair with a base made out of wooden pallets and a wooden railing wrapped in a string of lights.
From a desire for authenticity to short-form video content, there are many trends that are popping up and gaining speed this year when it comes to social media. — Getty Images/MarioGuti

Social media is an integral part of most people's lives and shopping habits. In fact, many even get their news, entertainment, and social engagement via platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

Regardless of their industry or audience, every small business can leverage social media to expand its reach. Here are some social media trends small businesses should consider using or adapting to in 2023.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing involves working with a well-known creator in a given space/market to help promote your brand. While many believe influencer marketing is for larger brands and companies, small businesses can work with local or niche micro-influencers to access their tight-knit following. Find a micro-influencer whose audience aligns with your target group to drive the most sales.

Platform-specific focus

With ever-changing social media trends, social media managers often jump from platform to platform to remain relevant to their audience. However, in the coming year, the race to make or take the shiniest feature will slow down and businesses will zero in on the platform and features that make the most sense for their goals and audience. Rather than trying to do it all, focus your efforts where they’ll reap the greatest return on investment (ROI).

Authenticity

Regardless of platform, social media audiences — and internet users more broadly — are viewing posts and accounts with mounting skepticism. Audiences are looking for more authenticity from the people they follow — including brands. TikTok is successful partly because so much of its content involves people being themselves and showcasing the realities of everyday life. There is little editing or curation, and viewers feel like they are watching a genuine person share their real thoughts. Be genuine in your approach to social media marketing, and you’ll appeal to a larger audience.

Social commerce

Social commerce, or selling your products directly through social media, is the next step in maximizing your social media reach and marrying it with results. Many platforms have clamored onto the social commerce train, like Instagram adding shops and enabling purchasing directly through posts. Your customers can engage with your brand on social media while purchasing and checking out directly from your social channels.

Short-form video content

Shifting to short-form content isn’t new, but it is a persistent trend. This year, TikTok was so successful that Instagram created Reels, a similar short-form video feature — and even Youtube has added Shorts to mimic the popular app. Short-form, bite-sized video allows viewers to consume more videos in a shorter window and are extremely popular with Gen Z. These videos can range from anywhere between 15 seconds to two-and-a-half minutes long, depending on the platform's capacity.

Research shows 95% of businesses expect to face a crisis in the next two years. Social media allows for a quick response time when companies in the past would have needed to call a press conference and release a formal statement.

Augmented reality

Although social media audiences are looking for authenticity and transparency from brands, they are also curious about augmented reality. Once considered a sci-fi feature, augmented reality presents itself in the form of features like personality test filters or special effects. Brands can take advantage of this trend by implementing it into their products and services. For instance, a sunglasses company can create a filter that allows people to try on different frames before purchasing, generating more sales.

[Read more: Marketing Your E-Commerce Business in the Digital Age]

Responding to important issues

Instead of just marketing to a wider group of people, companies are expected to take real steps to make the world a better place. Whether it’s taking a stand on social issues or publicly sharing your plans to protect the environment, showcase your support and involvement as part of your marketing efforts. Even if you have a small business, consider what issues are important to not only you and your employees but also to your clients and target demographic.

Crisis management

Research shows 95% of businesses expect to face a crisis in the next two years. Social media allows for a quick response time when companies in the past would have needed to call a press conference and release a formal statement. For example, Peloton waited a month after one of their machines caused the death of a six-year-old when they could have immediately addressed the issue publicly through social media. Consumers expect almost immediate communication in times of crisis.

[Read more: How Local Stores Are Moving to Selling Online]

Privacy

Audiences are starting to think critically about their privacy in the Internet Age. Third-party cookies are becoming less popular and may even be phased out in 2023. Your business can adjust to the increase in privacy concerns by being upfront about and requesting permission for any of your data gathering. Consider focusing on surveys and reviews that can be mutually beneficial for you and your customers.

Gaming

In 2023, gaming has a chance to replace some social media traffic. Gaming community spaces like Discord and Twitch became even more popular during the pandemic as people found themselves stuck inside. Twitch streamers are already receiving partnerships with game-related brands, but the popularity of augmented reality and virtual reality can open doors to an unprecedented realm of digital marketing.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

To stay on top of all the news impacting your small business, go here for all of our latest small business news and updates.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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Published January 23, 2023