What’s Emerging and What Should Brands Be Doing About it?
Last year, we published, “13 Social Media & Influencer Marketing Trends to Look For Now,” many of which are still relevant for 2023. So, what new trends are emerging now, and what’s changing? Most importantly, what should brands be doing about it?
1. Social Media is More Deeply Intertwined with Life, as People Share Everything
While people have long used social media to share life’s fun (and sometimes not so fun) moments, posts were often carefully curated and edited.
Social media is now becoming increasingly entrenched in people’s lives, as people share everything in the moment, on the go. Users are sharing every second via video on TikTok, SnapChat, and BeReal in ways that are less pre-planned and polished than typically seen on Instagram. On the popular Netflix show “Emily in Paris,” the protagonist livestreams her visits to popular tourist destinations – free of edits. The Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau posted where to find the main locations in the series to help people see the city through Emily’s eyes.
For Pro Juventute, we organized a campaign against cybermobbing in which three TikTokers, including Kris G, authentically shared their experiences with cyberbullying along with tips on how to deal with offensive comments and messages.
The Takeaway: Create brand content and select influencers who embrace this instant authenticity people crave.
2. Moving Even More Toward Everything Video
In our 2022 guide, we noted that video is increasing in relevance and importance, leaving other formats less likely to be noticed. As platforms adapt, they’re converging on video, specifically on-the-go storytelling. Sprout Social predicts that businesses will put more money behind video production.
PPCexpo states the video is, “The single most important content marketing strategy today.” Both video and authenticity continue to grow in importance. Social Media management platform Later notes video content is already shifting towards casual, off-the-cuff storytelling. “Even video editing is becoming more about telling a story, like using multiple apps to create clever edits.”
The Takeaway: Allocate sufficient budget to video production and select influencers with proven ability to create engaging videos. Also consider innovative use of your influencer video content with Kingfluencers “Influencer TV Spot,” a new exclusive advertising format that we launched last year, to take storytelling to a whole new level.
3. Performance Marketing Grows in Importance, as Brands Focus on KPIs
Many brands are still struggling to figure out how to monetize their social media presence. Brands want to ensure their initiatives, including IM campaigns, pay off, but tracking KPIs can be challenging.
As 2023 progresses, IM will be more tuned into sales and focused on conversion. Kingfluencers’ Head of Creative Strategy, Larisa Topalo, stated, “Conversion will begin to overtake awareness as the key goal.”
Eric Amstein, Kingfluencers’ Chief Strategy & Digital Influence Officer, stated, “Brands need to use every digital communication channel more and more strategically. Getting ahead of the narrative across all stakeholder interaction will be crucial to stay relevant and commercially successful. These investments will drive stronger results in digital brand building, digital reputation, positive eWOM, driving better performance of marketing activities and ultimately conversion rates.”
Fohr, influencer marketing agency and platform provider, also predicted, “Brands this year will be highly focused on ways to track conversion and their return on ad spend (ROAS).” In addition to a prioritization on conversion, Fohr predicts a rise in multi-touch attribution models that follow a longer customer journey.
The Takeaway: Allocate some of your campaign budgets to performance marketing (boosting organic content to reach even higher KPIs). Establish specific campaign goals and closely monitor quantitative KPIs, in addition to nuanced measurement with qualitative analysis. Consider multi-touch attribution models and use every channel more strategically.
4. IM Content Gains More Ground
According to a study from eMarketer, “Influencer marketing spend is projected to grow 23.4% in 2023 and 15.9% in 2024.” But we don’t expect IM expenditures to be restricted to traditional campaigns.
Instead, IM content will continue to spill over into other domains and serve as the basis for performance marketing campaigns. Brands will use the power of that content to convey their value, get attention, and further capitalize on their IM investments.
Larisa said, “We’ll see more influencers, more content, more platform changes. Integration of influencers into traditional marketing activities will continue, for example PR events, capsule launches, product co-creation, TV advertising. There is a lot of room for creativity, and we’ll see even more unusual collaborations, viral campaigns, and clever integrations.”
Influencer marketing will also continue to expand beyond consumer products, impacting B2B purchase decisions and integrating the influence of corporate leaders. We expect B2B influencer marketing to take off, but it needs the requisite tools and processes. It can be time-consuming and difficult to find B2B influencers, making the support of agencies that much more vital. (And yes, Kingfluencers is already part of this take off!)
The Takeaway: Allocate funds for IM as an integral part of your marketing efforts. Yoeri Callebaut, Kingfluencers CEO, advises, “Take the time needed to strategize, plan, and allocate budgets. IM can’t be an afterthought at which you throw leftover budget. It’s important for brands to have a diversified and smart approach to social media and constantly reinvent how they communicate, spending more time on content to stand out. The storytelling train is moving fast. You need to get on now and come with brand stories, characters, and room for influencers to be creative.”
5. Social Media Platforms & Creators Continue to Innovate… Beyond TikTok
Platforms have long been accused of copying one another, which we expect to continue. However, some innovative channels are still emerging and growing as they target unique niches, such as Twitch.
Larisa expects IM campaigns to become more creative, complicated, and elaborate. GoPro demonstrated their trust in the unbridled creativity of influencers at the recent GoPro Creator Summit. The brand invited 42 creators to a four-day, all expenses-paid jaunt to Interlaken, Switzerland, an experience one summed up, “A brand threw me out of a plane.” GoPro didn’t give creators any specific assignments or content mandates.
In collaboration with Street Parade Zurich, we created an exclusive Kingfluencers VIP Stage and shared the experience with over 250 influencers. Under the hashtag #KingfluencersXStreetparade, the influencers shared the unforgettable day live with their communities. The creators published a total of 71 posts on Instagram and TikTok, achieving over 1.8 M impressions.
The Takeaway: While it’s important to stay informed of the latest platform innovations, brands must move toward a community-centric approach. Focus on your target community and build an approach that includes which platforms to use to reach them. Think beyond Meta (Instagram) and TikTok and include other platforms like Twitch (especially for men), Pinterest (especially for women), and YouTube. Kingfluencers will continue to help you stay informed with our new upcoming study coming out mid-March with insights into digital influence on Swiss consumer behaviors like inspiration searches, purchase decision-making, and platform usage.
6. TikTok Remains a Driver, as Platforms Strive to be More Entertaining and Engaging
Fohr thinks, “TikTok will stay as a cultural engine, as the platform matures, creators could bring their communities elsewhere.” The agency and platform provider has seen reports of slower follower growth and fewer views on creator content, which means new opportunities for YouTubers, bloggers, newsletters, or live streaming.
TikTok has been banned in government agencies due to cybersecurity risks in several US states. Fear of TikTok bans persist, but restrictions are likely to remain limited to government agencies or individual corporations.
“In my opinion, other platforms now see the entertainment approach is working, and are launching more features to make the platform both more entertaining and more engaging. Impacted by TikTok’s success, platforms are striving to create community feelings and engagement, stimulating interactions with features such as chat, video calls, groups, and audio rooms. These are big factors that make people stick to the platform, contributing to the success of social media,” said Yoeri.
"Sparking connections between people over what they find," is among Instagram’s priorities in 2023, alongside inspiring creativity, and discovering new things.
The Takeaway: TikTok remains a vital channel to connect with consumers, and don’t disregard the opportunities for engagement elsewhere. Entertaining content is great, but people stay when they can connect and interact in a community.
7. Focus on User Generated Content (UGC)
Nearly 80% of consumers surveyed say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions. Recognizing this value, brands are making increasing efforts to capture a greater variety of voices, such as consumers and employees. Through consumer advocacy efforts, they’re working to capture UGC and use it wisely, building a squad of voices to deliver a broad range of support.
Salesforce is one very impressive success case. The brand revamped their social ambassador program and turned 25,000 employees into social brand ambassadors in 21 months by leveraging Haiilo.
The Takeaway: Make plans to capture and leverage UGC. Don’t leave it to chance. Give your consumers creative freedom to showcase how your product can solve a key pain point of your community. The authenticity of such real stories makes IM powerful and can result in highly successful campaigns.
8. Scrutiny & Oversight of Platforms + Influencer Guidelines
Recent events at Twitter have unleashed many questions and increased scrutiny. Specifically, how do platforms really operate? How fragile are they? What impact do they have on democracy?
Social media is becoming a topic of geopolitical interest, amid growing concerns about the power and instability of platforms. We’ll likely see increasing demand for more oversight and regulation.
Greg notes that Twitter could become more interested in the creator economy to generate new revenues. While some brands have reduced their Twitter marketing spend, the platform still provides great opportunities. For example, Shakira sang about her ex Gérard Pique’s new girlfriend, “You traded a Rolex for a Casio.” Casio responded and has been having great fun on Twitter.
Anja Lapčević, Kingfluencers Co-CEO & Chief Influence Officer, stated that France is now another country that has planned to implement guidelines for influencers. “We will also focus on further developing the Code of Conduct and expanding the Conscious Influence Hub, in addition to recruiting more creators, agencies, brands, and individuals to work with association. We believe that as a community we can use the positive power of social media to strengthen digital togetherness."
Sprout Social wrote how brands talk about sustainability, specifically, will change, with many opting for a quieter approach amid fears of being called out for greenwashing.
The Takeaway: Contribute to social media as a force for good. Ensure public statements are always transparent and sincere.
9. Brands Will Hire Influencers to Run Their Accounts & Work Onsite
Shopify states, “If an influencer has a track record of going viral with their own accounts, chances are they can replicate the success for a brand.” In addition to their knowledge of what engages communities on social platforms, they also have friendships with other influencers that can further help brands extend their reach.
Kingfluencers manages Manor’s TikTok account, where our team also engages with their communities via the creators T-Ronimo and Ericwdrae. Another successful example is influencer lala who creates TikToks for the German grocery store EDEKA.
10. In-Store Influencers
Based on their global consumer study, the Qualtrics XM Institute has declared 2023, “the year businesses rediscover the human connection.” “But in the rush to digitize everything, and drive operational efficiency, many companies left their humanity behind. And now, they’re paying the price as consumers demand deeper, more human connections with the companies they buy from.”
Influencers can play a part in building more human connection. As published by Trend Hunter, “Brands are inviting influencers to their brick-and-mortar retail locations for more interactive and engaging partnerships. These collaborations are often realized as consumer-facing marketing resources, or a way for the brand to help influencers supercharge their social media content.”
Consumers are increasingly looking at influencers for insights into different products or services, as they are often shown in the moment or in use. Both, brand and influencers, ensure through in-store creator events to provide real, authentic experiences instead of putting the purchase decision in focus.
Some of our influencers participated in such a in-store creator event for the opening of the On Running flagship store in Zurich, together with other talented content creators. It was a fun (and sporty!) event, full of laughter, music, good vibes, and refreshing drinks.
Brands will increasingly focus on reviving brick-and-mortar retail experiences, especially with influencer opening events or visits, because that makes retail fun and more human-centric! Even employees can act as in-house influencers and become a crucial part of your branding.
The Takeaway: Consider enabling creators to manage your account or just take it over for a day. Give creators freedom to generate content for your brand. While influencers are often associated with social media, consider partnering with them for in-store collaborations.
11. Need to Compete with AI (Artificial Intelligence)
New use cases for artificial intelligence seem to occur on a daily basis. Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT is a chatbot that’s shockingly decent at creating unique content. Social Media Today writers suspect that many websites will use AI-generated content for generic overviews, helping cut down on SEO time. “The end result, then, is that people – like, actual, real humans – will be less and less engaged by the generic, which could open up more opportunity for better copy to stand out.”
AI-generated art has also been growing, with some unique results such as every country as a super villain.
AI may be progressing in creating text and imagery, but it doesn’t seem capable of making fun TikToks… yet.
Content, whether for SEO, email, or social posts, must resonate with people. As reiterated by many surveys we’ve quoted here, people crave authentic human connection. It’s crucial to share emotional, sincere posts from real people that consumers can relate to. AI can’t come close to achieving that vital depth of connection.
The Takeaway: Influencers will have to compete with AI in creating content. Brands should carefully vet influencers – especially writers – so you can be certain the content they’re creating is unique. Real people are needed for real human connection. But also consider including some fun, fascinating AI-generated imagery as a complement to your authentically human campaigns.
12. Preventing Burnout & Improving Mental Health Will Be Priorities
With all the new trends and innovations, it’s important to maintain a focus on wellness, both physical and mental. Behind every smiling face on social media is a person with doubts and problems. That’s why we’re introducing a new format on our channels: Monthly Mental Health Check-in. We at Kingfluencers want to bring attention to the topic of mental health and share very personal and close experiences. Our January topic was comparing yourself on social media and was extended in February with our #NoFilterFeb Challenge. In our 2nd part of the Mental Health Campaign, we highlight how social media distorts reality and provide tips and tricks.
Talking to The Media Leader, Phil Rowley, Omnicom Media Group’s head of futures, commented on the need for social media to positively impact mental health. "We love social media, but we hate it too, and we certainly can’t stop using it. So the only long-term solution is to find a model that scratches all of our itches but doesn’t make us feel terrible in the process.”
The Takeaway: Consider how your social media interactions will impact anyone who encounters them. Refer to the Conscious Influence Hub Code of Conduct for guidance.
Soon, But Not Now:
Live commerce is gaining ground worldwide, although it’s not yet common in DACH. The Drum reports a recent shift in understanding and engagement of live shopping in Europe.
Many platforms offer their own shopping features - with social commerce, brands can handle the entire customer journey within one platform - from the initial inspiration to the purchase of a product. This gives social commerce an advantage that traditional online commerce cannot offer and also increases the impulse of purchases. According to the Swiss Mail Order Association, which brings together more than 320 online retailers generating around 50% of Swiss B2C online sales, manufacturers and brands are investing heavily in their online format to increase sales and improve the customer experience.
Although the topic is still very young in Switzerland, it will become increasingly relevant and also be used more and more.
Metaverse and Web 3.0
Fastcompany says: “In 2023, the Metaverse is likely to grow exponentially, becoming more immersive and more expansive. With advances in technology, we are likely to see more realistic avatars—the figures that represent you in the Metaverse—that allow for more complex interactions in virtual worlds.”
At Kingfluencers, we expect the metaverse to grow significantly in 2023 both on the side of brands and users presence - although perhaps not at the speed sources like Fast Company predict just yet. In Switzerland and DACH, we assume that it might still take a little while and foresee the boom rather as of 2024-2025 for a number of reasons such as complexity for people to get involved in areas like NFTs (requiring NFT wallets etc) and general access to the Metaverse with multiple ‘Metaverses’ like Sandbox existing without any of them being the true leading one. We do believe that in the next 2 years clearer dominance of certain Metaverses will become apparent, which will help adoption as people and brands will know where to go - Metaverse-wise. Furthermore in order for Metaverse to become more popular and gain traction, access to Metaverse and Web 3.0 should be simplified and potential users need easily accessible guides and information or education concerning how to participate - from buying NFT’s to generation avatars and being ‘on the Verse’. Once how to gain access is more clear or simplified consumers and brands are likely to find their way to the world of web 3.0 a lot faster and the exponential boom can begin (much like it happened with social media in general).
The real trend we expect is that specialized stakeholders in this industry such as web 3.0 developers but also some leading frontrunner brands outside the web 3.0 technology zone will make access to the Metaverse and Web 3.0 easier or more attractive in order to stimulate adoption. This will be done for example by simplifying systems and procedures related to access and ownership of digital assets, so that more people will find their way to it without much ‘technology hassle’. Some of this will require real ‘reengineering’ of certain systems and processes related to these fields. Forward looking companies and brands will continue to invest in innovation in all areas as well as NFTs throughout the year and with good reasons.
Supporting Your 2023
If you have any more questions about the emerging trends listed or would like to chat about other trends on the horizon, feel free to contact us right away.
Author: Yoeri Callebaut, Kingfluencers AG