How your brand can win at social in 2023

There is no doubt that social media has caused a few headaches over the last year or so. In a constantly changing environment there is a danger of feeling like you will never get ahead of the curb. But do not fear; this guide will highlight the top nine things you need to do to stay ahead of the ever-changing world of social media in 2023. 

How has the social media landscape changed?

Instagram launched in 2010 and, while Facebook was undoubtedly a key player already by this time, it is crazy to think how the landscape has changed in the last decade or so. Social media has grown into a powerful tool for people, businesses, and creators to tell their story, grow their audience, and connect with people from around the world. And it’s not stopping any time soon. 

In 2023 the global social media user base is expected to grow by another 300 million, with the total number of users rising to 4.89billion- that is over half of the global population. 

Why invest in social media? 

  • The recession. In a recession spending will drop which means building your brand is more important now than ever. Retaining a customer is 5-7x cheaper than acquiring a new one. 
  • Meaningful relationships. Social media is the best tool for building and nurturing organic relationships with your current and potential customers. 
  • Engaged audiences. The amount of time that the average person spends on apps is only increasing so investing now will help you get ahead. 
  • Purchasing journey. Social media is now a key part of the decision making and buying process for consumers. 

Your objectives 

Did you set social media objectives in 2022? How many of these were realistic? Did you have a strategy to help you achieve them? Did you achieve them?

Good looks different for every business so there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to social media objectives. However, in order to win at social media you need to know what good looks like for you. You’ll also need to know the why. Knowing why you are trying to achieve goals can help with motivation as well as keeping a wider business objective or value in mind. 

At Altum Media we always start with objective setting when it comes to working with a new social media client. We often get approached to start posting on social media from X date, but this simply isn’t feasible. We need to know what the client’s goals are, and what we are trying to achieve with each channel in order to produce content that works.

See more from our partners at Sprout Social on setting social media objectives.

A few questions 

When it comes to objectives, understanding what you are trying to achieve will determine the metrics that you need to track, and therefore your strategy. 

Your objectives could be:  

  1. I am trying to increase listings in supermarkets
  2. I need to recruit new talent
  3. I am launching a new product to a new market 
  4. I am trying to drive revenue

All of these objectives will require different social media strategies and need different metrics to track progress and success. An increase in followers and boosting engagement will make your brand more attractive to buyers, and building brand awareness and employee advocacy will get more people wanting to work for your brand. 

Social marketers top goals for social

The Brand Growth Funnel 

The Brand Growth Funnel

The basic idea of the Brand Growth Funnel is to move customers from having an awareness of your brand (the top of the funnel), to being someone who recommends your brand to others (the bottom of the funnel). 

  1. Awareness. People know about your brand.
  2. Consideration. Those who know about your brand but also consider making a purchase. 
  3. Conversion. Critical buying decision that disregards competitors in favour of your brand. 
  4. Loyalty. A positive experience with your brand means that people will return to make more than just one purchase
  5. Advocacy. People who would recommend your brand to others. 

It is important to remember that you will always have new people joining the funnel, and there will always be people at every stage. 

How to win at the Brand Growth Funnel 

Let’s go through how you can set objectives and attainable goals for each stage of the brand growth funnel. 

Awareness. During this stage, your reach is incredibly important. This means working on the number of views, shares, and followers that your content gets and is gaining. This will in turn improve your brand recognition.

  • Be bold, be different, be disruptive
  • Stay active in your niche community 
  • Create short form video that is appropriate for each platform 
  • Tell your brand’s story 

Consideration. Communicating clearly and regularly to your potential buyers what you can offer them. Make sure you emphasise your USPs and brand values via all social media channels as this will help you stand out from the crowd. 

  • Build customer personas to create content that speaks to and aligns with your core audience
  • Stand for something - don’t be a catch all and try to appeal to everyone 
  • Partner with relevant, established brands 
  • Talk about your values and USPs more regularly than you think you should

Conversion. Show off your products. Demonstrate how they work and why people should buy from you. Short videos by people who genuinely care about your products and believe that they work are best for this stage of the funnel. 

  • Make the journey to purchase seamless
  • Try live shopping 
  • Use offers and discount codes for loyal or new customers
  • Incorporate posts that send people to a landing page

Loyalty. Share content from the ambassador programme. Make sure you are replying, reacting, and engaging with everyone as much as possible. This is where you can stand out against your competitors to secure those long term customer relationships.

  • Use insights to name new products 
  • Manage your community, reply to all interactions and keep the conversation going 
  • Make stickers, quizzes, and polls
  • If something changes, tell your audience so that they feel seen, heard, and appreciated

Advocacy. You should be publishing all reviews and testimonials that your customers offer and, providing that you offer the service and products to the standards that you advertise, social proof is all you will need. Real world use of your products and people loving them is what gets people advocating for your products. 

  • Video case studies 
  • Focus on the impact your products and services have had on customer’s life 
  • Use influencers
  • Make sure people associated with your brand are well-aligned with your values

Evaluate your channels

How many channels is your brand on? Are you spread too thin, or have you not expanded enough? Most businesses that we talk to struggle to maintain three social media channels well. It is important to think about what is achievable with your team, resources, and budget. 

For a crash course on the best social media platforms and how to use them, check out our blog post here. Financial advisers, for example, might tap into the MoneyTok community on TikTok and simultaneously connect with business owners and professionals on LinkedIn.

If in doubt, do it less and do it better. 

A TikTok deep dive

Global TikTok monthly active users

As one of the newest and fastest growing channels, this article would be incomplete without a more detailed insight into TikTok. Quickly becoming the go-to place for short-form video content, TikTok is ruffling a few feathers over at Meta, causing Instagram to roll out changes in order to compete. 

It is projected there will be 15 million TikTok users in the UK in 2025 and that statistic cannot be ignored when it comes to winning at social in 2023. Currently with over 1 billion monthly active users, TikTok has overtaken mainstream social channels like Twitter and is catching to Instagram. Furthermore, with Elon Musk acquiring TikTok, who knows what will happen now that its future is in the hands of the richest man in the world. 

Why is TikTok so successful?

The time that we spend on all social channels is decreasing in the UK, apart from TikTok. Their powerful ‘For You’ page, and the algorithm that populates it, is what keeps people on the app for so long. As you scroll, the makeup of videos you're presented with slowly begins to change until it becomes almost uncannily good at predicting what videos are going to pique your interest. 

Personalised content is served to you based on your interests, moods, and actions. TikTok is where people are going to escape and be entertained, almost like TV in that sense. 

If you are part of the majority in thinking that TikTok is an app used predominantly by those under 25 then you would be incorrect! In fact 53% of TikTok’s users are over 30. Hopefully that has convinced you that you need to be seriously considering TikTok as part of your social media strategy. 

Statistics are taken from the TikTok Academy

If you are looking for inspiration on how your brand might appeal to TikTok’s short video style and audience, here are three brands to watch on Netflix: Little Moons, Ryanair, and Nandos.

Examples of brand TikTok accounts

What are the things these three accounts have in common? 

  • They post like creators
  • Entertainment-first 
  • Driven by audio, including but not limited to, trending sounds
  • Engage and interact with audience

Little Moons - viral story 

How did they do it? 

  1. They posted inspiring, engaging, and entertaining content that snowballed organically from there 
  2. Modest media buy - One Day Max In-Feed Ad - which displays natively in the For You feed among the first ads and posts a user sees 
  3. PR - journalists from mainstream media were contacted and invited to write about the developing phenomenon

Take a look at what Little Moons’ marketing director Ross Farquhar had to say about his marketing strategy here. TikTok has their own inspirational story of Little Moons’ success on their website that you can read here.

9 top tips to win at social in 2023

So, without further ado, let’s get into how you can get ahead of the competition with your social media strategy for 2023. 

1. Short form video reigns 

Consumers find short form videos 2.5x more engaging than long-form ones” - Sprout Social

Reels on Meta, TikTok, YouTube Shorts, Pinterest’s Video Pins and LinkedIn - short form video is all the rage right now. Short form video ranks number one for the lead generation and engagement for brands. 

30% of social media marketers plan to invest in it more than any other trend that came out of 2022.

Product videos show how customers will be able to use the product as well as giving evidence for the results. 46% of customers want to watch product videos before buying (Shopify). Makeup brand Bobbi Brown works with lifestyle and beauty influencer Lauren McDermott to create:

  • Real world, authentic video content that is useful for both audiences
  • Videos demonstrating products in action; how to use and immediate results 
  • Social proof from aligning the brand with well-respected influencers in the industry

2.  Social is the new search 

“Roughly 40% of those aged 18-24 reach for TikTok or Instagram over Google when determining their lunch plans.”- TechCrunch

Did you know: TikTok has ended Google’s reign of 15 years as the most used website. Young people are shifting to social media to search for products, things to do, places to go, and topics they want to learn about. Platforms are playing up to their new functionality and younger audiences’ hunger for digestible, relatable content. They enable users to search, discover and learn in one app, bypassing the need to search and research on Google, or other search engines altogether. 

If your business strategy targets Gen Z, you need to be rethinking your search strategy and making sure that social is part of that. 

How to get discovered in social search

  • Keywords - in your captions, in-video content, bio, profile name, handle, and links 
  • Hashtags - both searchable and clickable across all social media platforms
  • Geotags - tag the location in all relevant posts
  • Accessibility - alt text, captions

TikTok has recently increased the character limit in captions from 300 to 2,200, a 730% increase to help businesses and creators be discovered in their powerful search functionality. 

3. Platforms go all-in on audio

Audio is now a huge part of the social landscape. Twitter has spaces, Facebook has Live Audio Rooms, Clubhouse has Clubhouse. Now, LinkedIn is grabbing a seat at the table with its own audio feature, you can read more about that here

TikTok places huge importance on audio, unlike other video platforms, which have traditionally emphasised creating videos suitable for ‘sound off’ environments in order to maximise viewing opportunities. On TikTok, however, audio is crucial to the user experience, and marketers need to consider audio as an equally significant element as the visuals in their clips - if not more so in some respects. 

Instagram is even rolling out letting you add a song to your profile. See the update here. If you’re in your 30s that might remind you of another social media channel from back in the day - MySpace.

How to find trending music on Reels. 

Do you want to use trending sounds on Instagram Reels and TikTok but don’t know how to find them? We’ve got you covered. 

  1. Manual search, browse your Instagram Reels feed, looking for the trending arrow in the bottom left. Save the audio and click ‘use audio’. 
  2. Browse Instagram’s Weekly Trend Report, see account here
  3. Get inspired on TikTok, this is usually where the trends happen first. 
  4. Follow trending Reels Instagram accounts. 

4. Count on creators to lead the way 

If you haven’t already, it’s time to tap into the creator economy. Social partnerships are very effective when executed correctly. They are able to: 

  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Product compelling content
  • Inspire purchase decisions 

For further information about the creator economy have a look at Sprout Social’s article here

How to choose influencers for your campaign  

61% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendations - Business Wire

After years of filters and photoshop, consumers are yearning for the real. Choose creators whose authenticity shines through. The creation of authentic content and engagement can outweigh the influencer’s follower count. 

81% of consumers will unfollow creators if they post sponsored content more than a few times a week - Sprout Social

The North Face’s collaboration with Jimmy Chin, a National Geographic photographer is the perfect example of a brand-creator partnership.

Chin’s existing audience of over 110,000 followers and nature lovers is the perfect target for The North Face’s camping gear campaign. Micro-influencers with less than 15k followers are benchmarked to have higher engagement rates on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok, giving smaller brands a real opportunity to grow their presence. 

@jimmychin on Instagram

Check out TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, YouTube’s BrandConnect, and Instagram’s Creator Marketplace to find creators for your brand. 

Working with influencers and creators often generates a snowball effect of other PR opportunities; as other creators and brands get in touch. 

5. The power of community 

Community is the key to success on social media. Hundreds of micro-communities have found a home and a global following on TikTok. Just like in the real world, when you have a niche community of people who believe the same thing, you have a shared bond. There is a feeling of belonging and connectedness. 

TikTok drives culture and influence far beyond the borders of the platform itself. Brands looking to connect with audiences on this platform will do well to realise that digging a little deeper and learning about these thriving, perhaps more ‘unconventional’ TikTok communities, could help them engage and connect a lot more effectively with their audience. 

These communities can help brands better uncover exclusive insights surrounding culture and are instrumental in informing future strategies. Find your niche corner of the internet and become a genuine part of it. You get out what you put in! 

#moneytok #cleantok #mumtok

Maybe you’re a mortgage broker looking to tap into #MoneyTok, a homeware brand trying to capitalise on #CleanTok or a children’s retailer trying to get in on #MumTok. Whatever your niche is, there is a community on TikTok for you. 

6. Social commerce is set to dominate 

Tiktok shop

Social commerce is selling goods or services directly within social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Twitter’s new shopping development is set to enable new product cards within tweets that will better enable brands to highlight new products, and re-direct twitter users to their shop and product display listings. See the full story here.

Social commerce lets brands create visual storefronts that simplify online shopping experiences by meeting the consumers where they already are. This is happening on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and is fast developing on Twitter and YouTube. 

Your brand

Social media is no longer just an awareness tool. It’s for the initial research and consideration phase, right through to purchasing and the follow up customer service. It even feeds right back into your business. 

This is where your customers are researching, buying, reviewing, and advocating post-purchase with brands and communities around the world. Your brand has to be there every step of the way to win at social in 2023. 

47% of TikTok users say they’ve purchased something they saw on TikTok, and #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has 9.4 billion views and counting. 

It is no surprise that many products that generate buzz on TikTok are out of stock or completely sold out. It is rumoured that TikTok is planning to launch warehousing, delivery, and customer returns processing as a service. This is another attempt at creating the kind of super-app that pairs ecommerce with social media, which may have Amazon concerned. 

Live shopping 

TikTok has seen huge success with shopping streams in China, born out of the Covid-19 lockdowns where people couldn’t leave their homes. But its efforts in western regions, thus far, haven’t quite taken off. TikTok Live Shopping is actually nothing new. We know this form of shopping, having jumped media from TV to TikTok. 

Why does this work well? 

  • Live interaction with the hosts
  • Able to see the trying on of certain styles and sizes of clothing
  • Having questions answered about the products 
  • Being able to order products there and then 

Augmented reality 

AR has proven to be a massive hit on social media, allowing TikTok users to see what they are purchasing in real time, through more intelligent technology. For example, viewing hair dye colours, or glasses styles as types of filters. 

Branded filters gain a lot of traction, helping brands to build on their social persona in a way that is easy and interactive for users. Snapchat are currently the reigning champions of this, but TikTok could easily snap up the title very soon.

If you have a visual element to any of your products, this is an avenue that is very hot for 2023. 

7. Build your brand 

Credit: Sprout Social

Building your brand is so important in times of crisis. Find unique and memorable ways to connect with your audience and strengthen your brand on social media.  

What does your brand think and look like on social media? Set rules and stick to them with every piece of communication that your brand puts out. Be consistent. People respond to consistency.

Authenticity is a big word in marketing in general right now. As the line between the real world and the virtual world is increasingly blurred people are craving human interaction. When it comes to reviews and recommendations, we want to hear from people we trust, whether they are influencers in the right sector, specialists, or our friends. 

You will feel far more connected to your customers if you can create an authentic, consistent, transparent brand image online, which in turn will foster loyalty. 

Get Baked - case study

The Leeds bakery Get Baked produced a best selling biscuit that became illegal after an E-number in the sprinkles was banned in the UK. ‘Sprinklegate’ quickly became a viral sensation and Get Baked’s Instagram following rocketed from 4,000 to 68,000. 

While the controversy was what initially attracted the new followers, the founder’s commitment to Get Baked’s unique brand voice is what turned them into loyal fans who stayed following. Even in the height of the sprinkles scandal, the founder stuck with the dry, genuine, sarcastic tone that the brand built its original presence on. This raw authenticity was enough to endear the Get Baked community through the crisis and beyond. 

8. Customer care moves to social 

Say goodbye to the era of annoying hold music on the phone, endless email chains, and being passed between five different departments. Immediate and accessible, social media provides a much-needed direct line between buyers and businesses. 

Invite your audience to interact with your posts and make sure you are connecting with them in the comments as much as possible. This applies to complaints in particular. Every complaint presents an opportunity to build a one-to-one relationship and the possibility to turn it around. 

Customer care statistics

Engagement intent of social media users by platform
  • 40-50% of all customer interaction with brands is for customer care. Source. 
  • Zendesk reported that customer service ticket volume on social media increased by 20% from 2020-2021. Source.
  • 42% of 18-34 year olds expect to receive customer support within 12 hours of making a complaint. Source.

Customer service is a springboard for increased sales and brand loyalty. Companies that have a fast and caring response to customer complaints and enquiries tend to get a lot of public shout-outs which also serve as free advertising. 

Check out this article by our partners at Sprout Social on why you should be minimising your customer service wait times as a priority. 

9. Employee advocacy 

Some of the best advocates for your brand aren’t paid creators or influencers; they’re the people you see, in person or virtually, every day - your employees or teammates. These are the best brand advocates that you can harness.

With declining organic reach and the ad spend that comes with it, employee advocacy should be a key component of your broader social strategy in 2023. Gartner predicts that 90% of business to business social media marketing strategies will have scaled employee advocacy programs by 2023. 

Advocacy is your social superpower. 

You are able to reach beyond your core audience and tap into your team’s extensive social networks. The employee voice is three times more credible than that of a CEO’s. This can help you win the trust of prospective employees which is especially important since finding qualified talent is one of the most significant challenges marketers face right now. 

We are always telling teams to invest time in building their personal network and building your personal brand is a fantastic way to raise your personal profile and by extension, the profile of the business you work for. A personal network builds your personal brand awareness and reach, setting you up for speaking opportunities and thought leadership in your industry. 

Our top 5 actions 

So, after an in depth dive into our nine tips for winning at social in 2023, we’ve cut it down to five actions for you to take NOW. 

  1. Post your first short-form video this week, with trending audio.
  2. Select a creator to work with in Q1 next year. 
  3. Consider the Brand Growth Funnel and create content for each level.
  4. B2C - set up your social shops.
  5. Reply to everything.

Your brand has to be there for the consumer every step of the way in order to win at social media in 2023. 

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Abby Millar

Content specialist with experience in food & drink