AI, Urgency, Commerce, Community: What To Expect On Social In 2023

A new social media trends report highlights the importance of better customer experiences, new forms of digital commerce, AI-powered predictive analytics, and increased emphasis on social communities in 2023.

The report, from consumer intelligence company Talkwalker and customer engagement software provider Khoros, draws on Talkwalker's social listening and AI-enabled analytics capabilities to identify the most influential trends for 2023 and describe how consumers are driving these. The companies recently partnered, aiming to deliver deep listening and social media management through a unified experience.

The data indicates that customer experience will become more social in the year to come, with 75% of consumers saying that the pandemic has driven long-term changes in their behaviors and preferences, including a greater sense of urgency.

Brands should consider prioritizing customer experience by providing support, information, or solutions as fast as possible, leveraging social media as dedicated support channels ready to enable fast, efficient responses regardless of which platform consumers use to get in touch, advises the report.

Given greater emphasis on affordability due to the rising cost of living, consumers may be more willing to explore new shopping channels in 2023, including social. But social commerce is still somewhat unsteady, depending on the platform and region.

Nearly half of social media users in China have made a social purchase, compared to just 44% in the U.S. Not surprising, then, that China generated about 14% of all ecommerce in 2022, to the U.S.'s 5%, according to the report.

Still, given TikTok's reported plans to roll out live ecommerce in the U.S. and Europe, and Meta's recent launch of its Avatars Store to encourage digital sales, there is room for brands to expand their social selling capabilities in 2023.

And based on increases in mentions of social commerce in online conversations, the U.S. may present the biggest opportunity for growth. While Facebook is the leading platform linked to the social shopping trend. 

“Social commerce is a democratizing force for consumers and small businesses and has profound implications for marketers,” says Cheryl Guerin, executive vice president of brand strategy at Mastercard. “Two billion people purchased on social platforms last year, and this is growing three times faster than traditional ecommerce. The journey is led by spontaneous discovery and inspiration, not the traditional path.”

As for the trend toward more emphasis on communities rather than personas, 66% of branded communities are reporting that their group has led to increased loyalty. “Private social media platforms like Discord, Signal and Geneva will enable this,” says the report, “with genuine connections instead of streams of content." Some 9% of Americans now use Discord at least once per week, "so there’s demonstrated community demand.”

Brands will likely focus on gaining deeper knowledge of their consumer ecosystem to understand who is driving and sharing brand-focused conversations. 

Lastly, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence are expected to be more widely used by marketing and social media professionals as they seek to predict the evolution of a trend, topic, or campaign in coming months. 

Currently, just 42% of marketers say they have predictive analytics capabilities, but mentions of predictive analytics among social media audiences have increased by 20% so far this year, according to the report.  

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