This blog has a grand title, as if reading it will be the silver bullet your business marketing needs to succeed in 2023. It might well be, but it’s better to consider this post an opinion piece on where we are now. I’ve been working with social media in a business capacity since 2008 – there has been plenty of change in the following 15 years. In this article, I’ll break down some general advice I give on the many workshops I run.
We’ve come a long way since LinkedIn (2001), Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006) came on the scene. With a significant move to short-form video occurring, there’s a tendency to get swept up in the hype and start pivoting to TikTok when you may not need to.
The same decision-making applies in 2023 as it always has. While you will always be able to argue a case for starting a new account on a new platform, here’s what you should be evaluating when deciding where you’ll be going forward:
Ultimately, try to be led by what your research tells you but, by all means, spend time investigating new platforms and test the waters before making any commitment.
Platforms and people seem to prefer video. Considering why people use social media, the majority of platforms focus on individuals and their lifestyles. Even LinkedIn is less formal than it once was – whatever you think about that, this is the reality in 2023.
Research by HubSpot shows why people watch videos:
These top answers tell us that users of platforms like to enjoy video and that they’re primarily there to pass the time or be entertained (see below).
Despite their preference for content that isn’t exactly heavy in nature, users like to watch videos about brands and products:
The opportunity for businesses here, is to be present in the relevant feed with targeted advertising and messaging when the user is browsing the platform.
What type of videos should your business create? Take a read here for some ideas.
Think about your own habits online. What do you prefer? How can you relate that to your target audience and create video that captures their attention?
It can be challenging for businesses to lighten up sometimes. Yet we’ve seen above why audiences are using platforms. When feeds are busy and attention spans are short, boring isn’t going to cut it, I’m afraid.
While you need to be mindful of who will see your posts and need to maintain a level of appropriateness (‘coffin fail videos’ is not a category I’d expect an undertaker to get involved in, although it would be brave), adding an element of fun or surprise will help your posts be seen.
|A picture of the team||A carousel of the team in their favourite superhero outfit|
|5 benefits of [product/service]||5 ways [product/service] is better than cheese|
|The process of working with you||An animation of the different steps involved|
I know! I resisted this for a long time, so I understand anyone’s reticence in filming themselves dancing or lip-syncing, if that’s your impression of what TikTok and Reels means.
The reality is that this format is delivering for any business willing to give it a go. The content options are only limited by your imagination. The same principles apply to this format as any other: think about how to get someone’s attention, and keep it, so you can deliver your key message.
The good news is you don’t even have to be on camera to succeed with short-
This has been developing for several years now, with forever promises of it exploding as a mainstay of consumer purchase behaviour. In reality, this has been a slow burner, but we’re starting to see genuine uptake of shopping through social media platforms with TikTok being influential in facilitating it.
Facebook – If you have an ecommerce platform, then adding (integrating) your shop catalogue to the Meta Commerce Manager will allow you to add the Shop feature to your Facebook page, from where your audience can follow a link to buy on your website.
Pinterest – The home of ideas, there are several links within a pin which means, if your audience is inspired to buy, it couldn’t be easier. And, if they don’t want to buy now, they’ll often save and return later to do so.
Instagram – The set-up here is the same as with Facebook, part of the Meta family. We’re seeing younger audiences, in particular, share what they see on Instagram with their friends via direct message, or save an item to a collection and then return when they want it (like with Pinterest). We’re still waiting for Meta to introduce direct payment through Instagram. When that arrives, this will remove more steps to the purchase point.
TikTok – If you’re already set up for shopping with Meta, and you have a TikTok account, then it makes sense to set up TikTok shopping, too. As with Meta, setting up shopping will let you tag products in content and allow creators to tag their content with it too – helpful if you are working with the TikTok creator programme. In addition, if you so choose, you can apply for your product to be part of TikTok shop, which is more like Amazon, and a central location for TikTok users to buy products at a discount and buy within the platform.
I’m not a fan of the term ‘Social SEO’, but the reality is that increasing numbers of users of platforms are using the search capabilities to find answers to questions they’re thinking about at that moment. It’s just convenient to search within the platform and, let’s face it, they’re not short of content to match them with.
This means you should consider a couple of things:
Know your keywords – you’ve possibly already included words in your website copy. You’ve done the hard work. Try to make sure you include keywords in your captions (not the comments) to improve the search results. Please don’t get all 2005 and start stuffing your keywords into every post, your copy should still read well.
Create matching content – hopefully you’re doing this already, but when planning what you are going to post, base it on what you think your target market is looking for. Becoming a great match is going to be increasingly important to be seen.
It’s easy for someone like me to disparage AI tools; it’s in my interests to promote human writing. Having said that, and after doing extensive research into how AI can help with content, I can tell you that AI tools are here to stay. And they’ll improve.
Some tools include functionality to write social media posts. By and large they’re not bad. They can be particularly helpful if you are struggling with ideas or need some variation. They’re also decent for that opening sentence to hook someone in to click that ‘See More’ link and read the rest. That variation is also helpful if you need to create multiple ad variations.
What they’re not so great at yet is sounding authentically human. No, not even ChatGPT. No one sounds like your brand as well as you. That may change, but for now, my advice is keep any AI work on a practical level and always review, so you include your real, human tone of voice.
I’m conscious that I’m writing this in February 2023. By June, the landscapes could be entirely different. Keep up to date with all the latest here in the Learning Lounge or, better still, sign up for our monthly Learning Letter to get a summary of the ever-changing world of marketing.