In early 2023, we published, “13 Social Media & Influencer Marketing Trends to Look For Now.” We’re looking back at 2023 to see some examples of these trends… and one where we got it wrong.
1. Social media platforms are experimenting
2023 saw no shortage of innovations in social media! The biggest of which is the metaverse. We’ve written a series of 4 articles now. One key takeaway: it’s still early days, but the metaverse is currently a huge green field with many opportunities. We’ve predicted that a critical mass of users is still three to five years away, but brands should start thinking now about how to engage communities there. The guidance of experts and support from agencies will be more critical than ever.
Users have been wanting more authenticity in social media, and the hot new app BeReal is meeting that demand. BeReal has been downloaded millions of times, held the No. 1 position in the App Store, and received interest from investors.
Social media platforms have long copied one another and BeReal seems to be the one to emulate. Instagram launched a new ‘Dual’ camera mode, and TikTok announced the expansion of their suite of creation tools with TikTok Now, “a daily photo and video experience to share your most authentic moments with the people who matter the most.”In July, NPR wrote that Facebook is making radical changes to keep up with TikTok. Despite efforts to copy it, TikTok continues to dominate.
2. Social Media Platforms Emerge to Target Increasingly Smaller Niches
Our second trend is the one we admit we got wrong. Some influencers are focusing on increasingly smaller niches, making nano-influencers effective partners for brands to connect with their target audiences. We did also see platforms, such as BeReal, grow and expand, but that app was founded in 2023 and while it has a unique appeal, it’s not targeting a small niche.
However, 2023 didn’t see the emergence of any entirely new platforms targeting a small niche, so we acknowledge that this prediction was inaccurate
3. Digitalization of everything, including growth VR/AR & metaverse
We wrote about emerging retail trends, some of which fuse the physical and digital. With the inclusion of social commerce and even AR, brands aren’t selling to distinct, separate audiences with isolated tactics. New retail involves connecting with your audience in innovative ways and merging the point of inspiration with the point of purchase.
According to Accenture, 39% of consumers have had a consultation in a virtual or augmented reality environment on topics from health and wellness to DIY projects.
4. More love for nano and micro-influencers
Lauchmetrics found that micro- and nano-influencers made up the most Media Impact Value (MIV) in beauty. At Kingfluencers, we added 98 new nano influencers in 2023 into our creators' community. Kingfluencers has run numerous successful campaigns with micro- and nano-influencers.
One highlight was Vacherin Fribourgeois. We ran a campaign to build awareness and create a sense of belonging to a community through the "Instants Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP." Our concept encouraged influencers to talk about their different traditions while eating fondue and the secret ingredients they use to make it an even better experience. Over 3 weeks, 5 micro and 1 mid-tier influencers made a total of 69 posts on Instagram and Facebook. Total impressions were 232K, 60% higher than forecast, with over 1.239K interactions and a total engagement rate of 4.81%.
5. Creator content will become more widespread
The domain of influencers continues to expand beyond social media platforms. Kingfluencers was part of the opening night of the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF). We welcomed the biggest Swiss content creators on the ZFF Green Carpet, including two of last year’s Swiss Influencer Award winners: Adrian Vogt and Brian Havarie.
As Fabian Plüss, our Co-Founder said, “We’re proud to see that the work of content creators is also recognized and respected by the ZFF. This shows that the festival has a diverse perspective on video productions of all kinds and thus welcomes the creators’ scene.”
For Pro Juventute, we organized a campaign against cybermobbing in which three TikTokers, including Kris G, shared their tips on how to deal with offensive comments and messages. The reach of the campaign expanded beyond social media, as it was also featured in an article on Watson.
6. Creator economy will boom as content becomes currency
Video is dominating
Video is one of the most important formats on social media. PPCexpo states it is, “The single most important content marketing strategy today.” Video has revolutionized marketing across all channels. Landing page videos are able to increase conversion rates by 80%. 92% of mobile video consumers share videos with their social network, and over 80% of businesses say video generates a good marketing ROI. The number of digital video viewers is expected to reach 3.48 billion in 2023. With video content dominating, YouTube is now the second most popular website in the world.
Short-form videos are also an excellent tactic for informing and connecting with your audience, such as the Pro Juventute campaign against cybermobbing. Pro Juventute offers children and young people a confidential telephone line to talk about their concerns, as well as helpful tips on its website 147.ch. Six influencers, including Kris G, talked about their own experiences with mental illnesses in a total of 6 TikTok videos. Impressions were more than 866k with a reach of more than 598k, achieving a 26.7% engagement rate and 45.13% growth in followers. The campaign was also featured in an article on Watson.
7. Influencers face increasing pressure to innovate
TikTok released its Year on TikTok 2022 which included many innovations, such as a song set to Tariq’s, aka Corn Kid, enthusiastic description of his tasty snack. Among the breakthrough stars, “#SpaceTok opens up to a new dimension, thanks to European Space Agency Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, who takes us on out-of-this-world adventures.”
Qualtrics spoke to more than 33,000 consumers in 29 countries to find out what businesses need to do to win their loyalty. The answer? Act more human.
Uster, the third largest city in canton Zürich, worked with Kingfluencers to emphasize the human impacts of littering. The campaign targeted young audiences to reduce littering in Uster and around Lake Greifensee. Comedy influencers communicated to their audience that littering is not cool under any circumstances. The curated content was very appealing to the audience, as shown by the immensely high engagement rate and the large quantity of positive comments. 3 macro influencers on Instagram and TikTok published a total of 12 posts (videos and stories) + 2 additional pieces of content. The interaction rate was 7.1%, and the engagement rate was 30.9%.
As influencers innovate, they must continue to be relatable and authentic. These attributes are what drive high levels of engagement. To their community members, an influencer can feel like part of their friendship circle. Partnering with influencers is a powerful tool for brands to build trust and connect to consumers, delivering exactly what consumers want - acting more human, and helping fuel growth.
8. Long-term partnerships between brands & influencers
Here at Kingfluencers, we’re thrilled to have ongoing relationships with influencers that are now stretching into their fourth year, including L'Oréal, Nestlé, and Mondelez.
Kingfluencers worked on campaigns to promote V6 chewing gum, a Mondelez brand. To highlight the unique health and well-being benefits of V6, the team chose influencers focused on health, nature, and an overall positive outlook. In one campaign, influencers shared a story in which they received the most beautiful compliment and why it made them smile, then encouraged their communities to share their own stories, achieving a total engagement rate of 3.9% on Instagram and Facebook.
Eyeglasses maker AFFLELOU worked with Kingfluencers on a campaign lasting 12 months, with the goals of expanding brand awareness in French-speaking Switzerland and generating new customers. Influencers were selected to inspire the audience with cool looks and give the brand credibility and familiarity. The campaign achieved a total engagement rate of 3.72% so far (the campaign is still running).
9. Heightened awareness of the risks of social media
Social media has had tremendous impacts that have reverberated throughout the year. We examined the complex issues around combating misinformation. Individual responsibility is vital. Stopping the spread of misinformation at scale is problematic. Algorithms haven’t proven effective at differentiating between criticism and advocacy.
As awareness of the potential downsides of social media increases, we’ve also seen a focus on the risks of toxic beauty standards. Governments have taken steps to combat toxic beauty ideals, while brands have actively promoted healthy attitudes toward beauty.
Unfortunately, no one is safe from fake followers, which can reduce your credibility on social media. Our article describes how to recognize them, how to remove them, and, above all, how to avoid them. Businesses of all kinds are aware of the many risks they’re facing. A PWC survey shows that more than 95% of businesses expect to face a crisis within the next two years. All of these issues reinforce the importance of crisis management, including ensuring your influencers know your contingency plans if things go wrong. While social media can be the source of a crisis, fortunately, it can also be a vital tool in managing one.
10. All about Gen Z
We predicted that the existing focus on Gen Z as a coveted demographic will continue, and recommended that brands should consider Gen Z in their campaigns. Kingfluencers is well-equipped to help our clients connect with Gen Z, as 37.5%* of our new creators are Gen Z (*of those Influencers who provided their birthday.)
But one trend that is not all about Gen Z is TikTok, as we wrote, Gen Z is not synonymous with “Gen TikTok.” Different generations use TikTok differently.
In the next article, we'll take a look at what trends await us in 2023 and also give the trends our personal Kingfluencers touch and evaluate the trends. Be curious and stay tuned!
Author: Yoeri Callebaut, Kingfluencers AG