Struggling to keep up with the latest social media trends? Trust us, you're not alone. Social media is one of the fastest growing, rapidly changing industries in the world – with over 4.74 billion users, it caters to more than half the entire globe.
In 2022, social media usage grew by more than 190 million users, making it one of the biggest marketing opportunities for businesses worldwide. With the industry forecast to grow to 5.85 billion users by 2027, we know that if you're not actively using social media in your marketing strategy, you should be – and you should start now.
In 2023, even the smallest company will benefit from a social media presence – simply put, it’s one of the best ways to make sure you’re consistently at the forefront of your customer's minds. But with trends constantly changing, we know how difficult it is to keep up with the competition, which is why our team of researchers pulled together a list of the biggest social media trends to watch in 2023, to make sure that you don't just keep up with the competition, but can get ahead.
Social media management tools like Planable can help you stay keep track of your posts, especially if you are active on multiple social media platforms. They let you plan and schedule your campaigns all in one place
Top social media trends in 2023
These are the biggest social media trends to watch in 2023, according to our independent research team.
- UGC and micro-influencer marketing will become mainstream
- Short-form video content will dominate and TikTok will rule
- Livestream shopping and social commerce will step into the limelight
- VR and AR social experiences will continue to grow
- Brands will turn their attention to social audio
If you're looking for ways to make running your social media accounts easier and more efficient, you can check out our guide to social media management.
1. UGC content and micro-influencers will become mainstream
The pandemic spawned a surge in online activity. With many aspects of normal daily life on pause, more people engaged in streaming content, shopping, and spending time on social media. Some companies hired specific roles to accommodate an increased demand for their products and services.
When the world came out of lockdown, this boom inevitably subsided, and companies who had previously benefited were faced with a major economic downturn.
In response, businesses began to reduce their costs by cutting back on staff and lowering their advertising spend — and this is where micro-influencers and creators have come in to help.
For resource-strapped businesses looking to grow their reach in 2023, micro and nano-influencers (creators with less than 10k followers) can drive brand awareness on social media within a tighter financial budget.
Less than a third of brands (28%) that work with creators do so through agencies or third-party platforms, and 70.7% of micro-influencers (1-10k followers) charge less than $100 per post, meaning that this could be a cost-effective trend for more businesses to back, in 2023.
“With the recession, with COVID, and just being more financially pinched… marketing dollars always get cut. When we’re strapped for resources, creators become a very appealing tool for marketers.” — Leah Gritton, Director of Integration Strategy, Energy BBDO
Individual influencers, while requiring more personalized management and relationship-building than general ad-spending, can target far more niche audience groups, and achieve greater returns on investment in many cases, when the partnership is well-matched. This is thanks to the personalized experience that influencers can create and the trust they can build with their audience, compared to broader ad campaigns.
89% of marketers agree that ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to (41%) or better than (48%) other marketing channels.
UGC (user generated content) will also grow in 2023. As of 2022, 86% of companies use UGC as part of their marketing strategy, with brands as big as Salesforce reporting that nearly half of the top performing marketing leaders in the industry rely on it.
According to everyonesocial, 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising, with an estimated 90% of consumers claiming user generated content holds more influence over their buying decisions than search engine results and promotional emails.
With an increasing demand for more relatable, ‘authentic' content, brands in 2023 will increasingly invest in micro-influencers and UGC content to build a more credible relationship with their audience.
2. Short-form video content will dominate and TikTok will rule
One corner of social media where UGC content reigns is TikTok. While the popular app only hit the global market in August of 2018, it has become one of the fastest growing social media platforms in the world, using short form videos of under 10 minutes.
For a brief period beginning in December of 2021, TikTok even surpassed Google to become the most visited website on the internet, although it now ranks outside of the top ten. TikTok generates more usage time than Facebook and it boasts more than one billion active users across 154 countries, as of 2022.
Every social media platform has tried to emulate TikTok's video success, with YouTube introducing Shorts, Meta turning to Reels, and every platform, including Meta, introducing “stories”, despite backlash.
Ultimately, the short-form video that TikTok has championed will continue to go from strength to strength on all social media platforms in 2023, as brands take advantage of viral challenges, enticing auto-play media and trending audio to boost user engagement.
But TikTok will remain the top dog. Already, the platform is prepping for a year of total social domination with new features designed to challenge its competitors at every angle, according to Social Media Specialist, Lotti Haxell.
“Tiktok isn't slowing down its sprint for world domination, and its coming for its competitors at every angle. Caption size has been increased to 2200 characters from 300, which is great for organic search and discovery. The platform is pivoting towards rivalling search engines such as Google and businesses need to make use of this. Detailed descriptions, plus extra added value content in captions will be the best way to optimize for results.” — Social Media Specialist, Lotti Haxell
87% of marketers claim video has helped them achieve a good ROI, nearly 40% of Gen Z turn to TikTok before Google, and the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hit 32 billion views at the end of 2022. More and more brands will be turning to TikTok and short video creation in 2023 to promote products and capitalize on this ever-growing trend.
If you’re looking to start on TikTok, there are plenty of guides out there about how to build your follower base, if you really want to devote yourself to it. You could also repurpose content created for other social media channels, if you’re pressed for time, as the app does accept videos first-created elsewhere.
As far as original content goes, small businesses are finding a lot of luck with content that shows their manufacturing processes. Watching something being handmade is a great trust signal for your audience, and falls under the banner of interesting, engaging content, which can also boost profitability.
3. Livestream shopping and social commerce will step into the limelight
Social commerce – the use of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, to sell products and services to consumers – has been on our watch list for a while, and with an estimated $992 billion sales made in 2022, its shows no sign of slowing down, whether it's through static posts or livestream promotions.
The global social commerce market is expected to hit $1.3 trillion in 2023, with a forecast to rise to $1.6 trillion in 2024, and $2.1 trillion the following year. Businesses who want to capitalize on its growth should make it part of their marketing strategy sooner rather than later.
Of course, if you’re in the business of selling physical goods and don't yet have an online presence, investing in a high quality ecommerce website builder is the best place to start, if you're looking to increase your sales. But, if you're looking to expand and reach a larger audience in 2023, social commerce is the next strategic move to build into your strategy.
Despite Facebook shutting down its live shopping experiments and TikTok struggling to scale up, the cut in business ad spend and shift towards UGC marketing suggest social commerce will make a comeback, with shoppable posts, platform storefronts and live streaming at the forefront.
If you’re looking to take advantage of this trend, you’ll want to stay on top of the ever-growing field of social media commerce. Different platforms are always coming up with new ways to sell. By staying aware of the latest developments, you’ll be able to jump on the opportunity that suits you best in 2023.
4. VR and AR will continue to grow
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) originally made our list of trends to watch in 2022, as two of the most exciting developments in the realm of technology within the last decade. The Metaverse was expected to be one of its main gateways.
While the Metaverse hasn't taken off as much as Zuckerberg might have had hoped, interest in VR and AR has started to grow. There are reports of WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Google all making plans to utilize AR more, to increase their advertising revenue.
In October of 2022, Meta announced a new way to share content from Horizon Worlds – Meta's flagship social VR app – to Facebook and Instagram Reels, along with a new Quest Pro VR headset and the promise that you'll be able to “join a Teams meeting from inside Meta Horizon Workrooms” in 2023. In other words, at least one major tech company is still fully bought in to delivering more VR and AR experiences.
If you're still unsure on the difference between VR and AR, here's a summary:
Augmented Reality (AR): Augmented reality is when a platform uses reality as its base, but overlays something fantastical on that base, like a Snapchat filter overlaid on your face, through your phone's camera. Apps that make you look older, or put a dancing hotdog on your coffee table, are using augmented reality.
Virtual Reality (VR): Virtual reality is the whole nine yards — the user is whisked away into another world entirely, like a zombie invasion or a spaceship, with all the elements you see being generated by a program, rather than coming from the space you are actually in. On the less whimsical side, you can be taken to a virtual house viewing, or a tour of a real life place, from miles away.
Both of these reality-adjusting technologies have begun to be implemented within the past few years, and social media companies are using them to refresh the world of marketing, despite a few setbacks.
Facebook took the leap into VR back in 2018, when it acquired the VR gaming platform Oculus (now known as Meta Quest) for 2 billion dollars, having seen the potential in VR as more than a gaming platform.
In 2021 it integrated Horizon – the home of Meta's metaverse platform – to provide more VR experiences, including for the sale of digital goods, virtual parties and touring far-off countries.
While a turbulent year of economic downturns, and large scale layoffs, saw Meta's priorities change throughout the year, and resulted in the consulting CTO for Meta's virtual reality efforts, John Carmack, choosing to leave Meta in December 2022, Carmack and Meta still maintain that “VR can bring value to most of the people in the world, and no one is better positioned to do it than Meta”, displaying full confidence in the technology.
You'd expect a platform as big as YouTube to be dipping their toes in the VR pool, to ensure they aren't left behind as the industry evolves, and they are certainly getting their feet wet. Using a VR headset, you can now use YouTube VR to virtually participate in all kinds of experiences, from concerts to mountain trails.
Just like with Facebook, YouTube's use of VR can also provide marketing opportunities, such as sponsored virtual events, showing off 3D models of products, or letting you see vehicle interiors from a first person perspective.
TikTok has thrown its hat into AR advertising, with plans to continue to scale in 2023. Videos of people talking to the camera can be layered with mascots or products, that can be interacted with. TikTok also allow for CTA buttons to be placed on videos, resulting in significantly more conversions for creators. And, it's not the only industry to see this.
In 2021, leading ecommerce provider Shopify reported that AR content had a 94% higher conversion rate than traditional content, proving that customers are interested in diversifying digital experiences.
In 2023, AR and VR content will continue to grow, with new and more advanced AR and VR technologies on the horizon. As online and in-person experiences continue to merge, it's a good idea to consider whether, given your budget, AR is worth the investment. Do you research though, and have a clear plan, as AR and VR technology isn't cheap (especially VR), so it might not suit your marketing method or your demographics. Still, if conversion rates are anything like 94% higher than traditional content, it might just be worth the risk.
5. Brands will turn their attention to social audio
The final social media trend watch out for in 2023 is social audio. Social audio simply refers to social media platforms that use audio tools like VoIP systems to connect audiences via voice chat.
Since Clubhouse launched in 2020, interest in social audio has been growing in background. In 2021, Facebook launched podcasts, Soundbites and Rooms to give audio makers more tools to work with, and Twitter's voice tweets and Spaces alongside LinkedIn's Audio Events suggest this trend is just getting started.
According to Hootsuite, more than 74% of businesses are planning to invest in audio-only content in 2023, and as an avenue with very little competition, it could be a great move for businesses looking to stand out.
From a business perspective, social audio is a great way to directly communicate with your audience, and to gather feedback from them, too.
Businesses looking to implement a social audio strategy in 2023 should focus on prioritizing user privacy, and sustainable relationships with creators and audience members.
How Much Has Social Media Usage Increased Per App?
Despite the struggle to return to pre-pandemic levels in most industries, social media usage continued to surge, with 2022 being its biggest reported year yet. Let’s take a look at how each social media app grew last year:
Facebook kicked off 2022 with a reported 4% year-over-year growth in daily usage, and over 1.96 billion monthly active daily users.
That figure continued to grow, hitting 2.96 billion users in the third quarter of 2022, making Facebook the most used online social network in 2022, despite stiff competition from TikTok.
Most of Facebook's users come from India, where is has 330 million users, but the US comes in second with 179 million users.
The average time spent on Facebook grew from five to 33 minutes in 2022, the longest average session duration by its users, according to BroadbandSearch, although other sources dispute this, putting TikTok at the top.
Zuckerberg's determination to build more connected communities appears to be working, but the Metaverse is still far from its one billion targeted users which could cause a change in its goals for 2023.
Much like Facebook, and also owned by Meta, Instagram was already a social media titan. However, the platform saw an even bigger jump in users than their projected trend. A total of 1.5 billion users were active daily in 2022, from around the world, a figure beaten only by Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp. Keep in mind that not all of these accounts are potential customers. Some of these will be brands, blogs, or other accounts that might not be interested in following your brand.
As far as usage goes, the average Instagrammer spends 29 minutes a day on the platform, up from 26 minutes a day in 2019. Instagram is the
Snapchat saw a healthy climb in users in 2022, averaging 363 million daily active users according to their Q3 summary, which is an increase of 57 million, or 19% year-over-year.
Just like the snaps themselves, Snapchat is used by its account holders in short bursts, with 42% of users opening the app multiple times a day, according to a 2019 study. But while users may not use the app all at once, they still spend an average of 31 minutes on the platform, daily.
Twitter has had a turbulant year, thanks to its takeover by Elon Musk.
While many users have left the platform for competitors such as Mastodon, user numbers still grew in 2022, totalling 368 million monthly active users worldwide by December of 2022, of which 237.8 million were monetizable daily active users (mDAU), up 15% year-over-year.
However, the number of users is forecast to decline by at least 5%, by 2024.
While the average user spent around 11 minutes looking at their Twitter feed in 2021, users are spending longer than ever on the platform now, with an average of 31 minutes spent on Twitter in December 2022, equal to Snapchat.
YouTube also grew in popularity in 2022, with global users spending roughly 74 minutes on the app daily.
YouTube saw a steady climb in users – indeed, they consistently gain 100 million users every year. While they’re not too open about their exact usage information, they tend to average a billion hours of content watched a day. You can guess that this number skyrocketed over the pandemic.
When you’re stuck at home, there are few better hobbies to keep you busy than home improvement, and few better places to find crafty ideas than Pinterest, which saw the platform flourish during the pandemic.
From a user base of 291 million people at the start of 2019, all the way up to 445 million during 2022, Pinterest has further established itself as a solid social media brand, although the number has dropped since the peak of the pandemic (478 million in Q1 of 2021).
People only tend to spend around 14 minutes on there, but that’s more than enough time to catch their eye.
Ever since Vine went down the drain, they left a big hole for a short video service, which TikTok swept in to fill. According to Statista, during the second quarter of 2022, TikTok had the highest engagement among social media apps, with users worldwide spending approximately 95 minutes per day on the app. Another source puts TikTok's daily time spent at 32 minutes. Either way, TikTok is the freshest and most exciting face on the social media scene.
To date, TikTok boasts over 3 billion downloads, with 1 billion daily active users worldwide – with 80 million monthly active users in the U.S alone.
Self-proclaimed “front page of the internet,” Reddit is a website that congregates content from across the world wide web.
Reddit last updated its daily active unique users figure in January 2021, here, where it reportedly had 50 million users. That's slightly down on the 52 million that was reported in 2020.
However, in a 2022 blog post, Reddit shared that it is home to more than 100,000 active communities around the world, 430+ million posts were created in 2022 (a 14% increase year-over-year) and as of November 2022 there were more than 2.5+ billion total comments, a 7% increase year-over-year, with 24+ billion upvotes.
Finally we come to LinkedIn, the social network for professionals. Rather than receiving any major boost, LinkedIn is steadily climbing – a trend which was healthy all the way through 2020. The company saw 17% year-over-year growth in revenue when comparing Q1 FY23 to Q1 FY22.
Finishing up the year with over 877 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is a great way to get a campaign out there to a more professional or B2B audience.
How to Keep Up With Social Media Trends in 2023
If your business doesn't have a social media presence in 2023, our advice is to get one as soon as possible. Social media marketing isn't going anywhere, especially with the success social media platforms saw in 2022. Staying on top of social media trends is one of the best ways to ensure that your business stays competitive, and there are a few things you can do to ensure that your strategy stays current.
- Identify the best social media platform for business your business, and focus your efforts on monitoring that platform. If your target audience is Gen Y or Gen Z, Instagram and TikTok will be the best platform for your brand. If your brand is more B2B, LinkedIn and YouTube will both be great bets. If you're new to social media, our research suggests it's best to start small. Focus on one or two channels and build out your platforms based on audience insights as you grow.
- Use analytics. Tracking keywords and trending topics on your social media channels will help you to stay ahead of the curve. Instagram, Meta, TikTok and YouTube business accounts all have their own form of analytics – use these to filter through hashtags, songs and monitor the latest trends to better understand how to target your audience.
- Invest in high quality social media management tools to help you organize, manage and plan your social media campaigns. Tools like Zoho Social and Hootsuite will allow you to manage all of your social media platforms in one place, allowing you to optimize and pivot your strategy as and when social media trends change.
- Keep a close eye on your competition. Knowing what your competition is doing on their social media platforms is a great way to ensure that you're one step ahead.
- UGC and micro-influencer marketing
- Short-form video content and TikTok
- Livestream shopping and social commerce
- VR and AR social experiences
- Social audio
Remember, the best way to get ahead of the competition is to monitor trends closely. Trends will come and go, so it's important to stay up to date and ensure that your strategy is malleable. With trends changing rapidly you'll want to make sure that you can pivot your social media strategy as and when you need.
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