Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

The Top Social Media Trends of 2023

Shae Henrie

Content Strategist @ AdRoll

Marketing continues to see seismic shifts in 2023. Whether it’s the involvement of AI in streamlining processes for advertisers or de-influencing content taking root on platforms like TikTok and Instagram, trends on social media help dictate your marketing strategy.

Whether you’re a brand that relies heavily on influencer content or paid advertising, you want to pay attention to the following top social media trends of 2023.

SEO Continues to Play an Integral Role on Platforms

Discoverability on social media platforms is no longer tied to hashtags. Instead, it’s almost wholly dependent upon each platform’s algorithm. From TikTok to Twitter and Instagram, brands and social media users are often at the mercy of (mostly) unseen forces when putting your content in front of users.

Applying SEO best practices to your social media content is one way to help influence the algorithm. Do keyword research to understand which ones you want to be associated with — and which keywords your competitors use. Once you know which ones you want to target, optimize your profile for search. Incorporate these keywords in places like your name, bio, and other essential information.

Instead of merely choosing and using the right hashtags, make sure your content is relevant to the keywords you want to be discoverable under. 

Be descriptive. Instagram allows captions of up to 2,200 characters. While saving some space for essential hashtags is still a good idea, incorporate keywords into your actual posts. Don’t forget critical details like alt text and closed captions for video content. These key details help make content more accessible for all users.

Ensure you're consistently posting content relevant to your niche to increase social media algorithms' chances of tagging your account as relevant to users searching for your keywords.

Community Engagement (Including Employees) is Critical to Success

Building a community on social media has always been a winning strategy, but the people in that community will look a bit different. Your brand’s community should include those closest to the core: your employees. Employee advocacy can help overcome the hurdles of expensive paid ad environments and the decline of organic reach.

Your employees can be passionate brand evangelists who create and share meaningful content with your users. They need the right kinds of guardrails to ensure policy compliance and stay aligned with your overall marketing strategy and voice. Create goals you want to achieve and measure success with the appropriate KPIs.

Encouraging your employees to create content for your brand isn’t the only way to maximize your community. Satisfied customers and enthusiastic fans can also be building blocks for your social media strategy.

UGC is More Important for Brands Than Ever

How can your customers help? Encouraging the creation of user-generated content (UGC) can foster investment in your brand’s community. UGC allows you to leverage the community you’ve built on social media platforms and elsewhere. Take advantage of UGC by encouraging your customers to leave reviews and ratings. Feature content they’ve created and collaborate with one of your most powerful assets: happy, satisfied customers. Just ask permission before you reshare anything you don’t own.

From Social Networking to Social Marketplace

Social commerce —selling products and services on platforms like Instagram and Facebook — isn’t slowing down. Experts estimate that the global social commerce market will hit $1.3 trillion this year. You’ll want to capitalize on this growth by making it a cornerstone of your brand’s social media strategy efforts rather than later. That includes ensuring your existing e-Commerce solutions can connect with your social ads seamlessly.

Online selling is becoming more streamlined through social commerce, with Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest, now offering in-app purchases. Other apps you might want to leverage as a social marketplace for your brand are WhatsApp and Snapchat.

The number of steps consumers need to make until checkout are opportunities for them to abandon their cart. Before, consumers had to do online searches before shopping and meet countless distractions. These days, they can scroll through their feed, tap on what they like, and make a purchase without ever leaving the app.

Social media platforms are now social marketplaces. Marketers must make the most out of these features to significantly reduce (or eliminate) any friction in the buyer's journey. This may be one of the most powerful social media trends in 2021, especially for retargeting campaigns, as you can show shoppable posts to followers who previously expressed the intention to buy your products.

Emphasis On Brand Humanization

People like connecting with other people. When they're engaging with a brand, it's likely because they are not just showing their personality but also engaging back in a valuable and meaningful way.

Humanizing a brand is so crucial that 76% of consumers have said they choose brands they connect with over a competitor. Brands humanize themselves through social media communication, both on public posts and private messaging.

You can communicate your brand story in more creative ways than ever before. Audiences don't just welcome behind-the-scenes peeks and companies that show vulnerability; they expect it. Even admitting mistakes adds to brand humanization. It shows audiences that you value transparency and are authentically connecting with them.

Show off your employees and your office space. Include previews of how your company works or how you make your products into your social media calendar. Let them see that you're not just a faceless brand but also a team of dedicated and passionate people.

You can also start official online communities to engage your most loyal customers. Make sure you take the time to interact with them when you do so, and — as we mentioned above — let your employees get in on the fun with employee-created content.

Increasing Concerns Over Privacy

With brand humanization and transparency, people are increasingly concerned with how brands collect and use their data. 3 in 10 consumers say that they're apprehensive about how social media companies use their data.

The more people remain online and depend on social media for interactions with brands and other people, the more they will be concerned with their privacy. If brands are not proactive about their audience's privacy concerns, their customers could stop engaging with them on social media. And when your market doesn't share or engage with you on social media, you won't be able to use social listening to personalize their interaction with your brand.

Another wrinkle in the privacy puzzle comes as device manufacturers reconsider how much information they (and their users) allow social media companies to harvest from user devices. Updated privacy settings on the iPhone, for example, severely curtail the amount of data ad companies like Google and Meta can use for ad targeting.

Posting About Social Responsibility is Changing

Customers appreciate transparent brands about their environmental sustainability efforts, but there’s a fine line between saying too much and just putting in the work. As companies see backlash to greenwashing, some brands take a more under-the-radar approach called “green hushing.” 

Consider properly vetting corporate and social responsibility posts with your company's public relations and customer service departments. Ensure accurate information and identify risks before they become viral callouts.

2023 and Beyond

Digital marketing trends make social media an exciting, constantly shifting marketing tool, but the ones that emerge this year aren’t just a flash in the pan. They’re an essential part of your marketing strategy and the tactics you’ll rely on to continue growing.

While using SEO strategies and focusing on UGC can give your brand a leg up in terms of social media marketing, what customers respond to in the end is:

  • Transparency

  • Authenticity

  • Social responsibility 

When you create a brand identity that puts people first and use social media strategies to convey this to your audiences, your marketing efforts will succeed in 2023 and beyond.

Still have questions or concerns about social media marketing? Check out our social media resources below!

Because social media trends change year over year, there will always be questions about them, but the ones below pop up fairly frequently.

How have social media algorithms changed in the last year?

Social media algorithms change frequently, and sometimes it’s not always easy to tell how they change. For example, Twitter prioritizes the most relevant tweets for your interests and interactions. It also places high profile users’ tweets in your feed. Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes updates from friends over publishers. Instagram seems to be highlighting video posts and reels over static images. 

Influencers have a heavy hand in creating trends, especially if they have a wide audience. Influencers can create memes, use audio in their videos (especially on TikTok), and even create viral challenges.

What are some upcoming social media features to watch out for?

As more companies try to compete with TikTok, short-form video will continue to become more of a priority. Companies will also try to create AI functionality. Paid verification—spearheaded by Twitter’s recent changes to its Twitter Blue program—is already being piloted by Meta for its Facebook and Instagram platforms.

Explore Next