Blimey 2023 has been quite the year for all things marketing! I made a few predictions for what the year had in store and, as I do each year, it’s time to reflect on those to uncover whether I was right or not! I’ll let you decide on that one. What I can tell you is there have been a few things I did not predict – and there are lessons in that!
Social Media Communities
I anticipated we would see more of a shift in the building of communities, and this has definitely happened. We’ve seen WhatsApp roll out additional functionality to create community experiences, we have channels on Instagram so that it’s now possible for those with larger audiences to broadcast messages to their subscribers, and the usage of Telegram has increased, again as this platform has been used to house communities. These developments allow us to circumnavigate the algorithms for organic posting on your social media channel of choice – which means monetisation of your community.
I also expected that there would be a trend around these communities being activated and if I’m honest, I’ve only seen this being done successfully by a handful of influencers. This really does need to change!
ROI From Engagement on Social Media
Honestly, I really thought we’d see more of a shift on this front. With the trends around short-form videos and the masses finally ‘getting it’ when it comes to creating content that drives organic engagement, I truly believed that we’d see more people investing in ways to garner leads from engagement. The truth is, I don’t think this has happened this year.
Yes – in the world of eCommerce and selling products in your feeds, there has been an increase in opportunity. And yes, reports would suggest that the public is open to buying; however, this still isn’t at the level I’d expected it to be outside of paid ads on social media. Also, I do not see business owners using engagement opportunities to serve up their lead magnets in the comments to take prospects one step further into their funnels. I don’t feel this is about a lack of education – I feel it’s more about a mindset of not having enough time, not having the lead magnets in place, and (and I hate saying this) there’s also a bit of complacency around this!
Social Media Marketing and AI
I literally wrote about four sentences on this. I knew AI would have an impact this year – however, I did not expect the impact to be as big as it has been! I thought AI would have a role in what we saw – not what we posted!
2023 has seen the biggest shift in AI with the growth of tools such as Chat GPT. Of course, there are obvious positives to this; however, there are some major negatives. I mentioned complacency in the paragraph above. Complacency comes from an overuse of ChatGPT and the undervaluing of social media as a marketing tool. ChatGPT writes something, and it gets posted and forgotten about. Social media marketing is not a tick-box exercise; unfortunately, AI is contributing to this approach.
Don’t get me wrong, AI has its place; it’s just that 2023 has seen the soul sucked out of the presence of several brands that were previously on track to see better results.
AI is making a positive difference in how it’s being used to manage what users see in their social media feeds. This is and will continue to be a good thing. As AI becomes more sophisticated, it will only improve further – we need to be mindful of what we engage in to teach it what we want to see and who from so that we don’t find ourselves exiting in an online echo chamber!
I was wrong about branding…
2023 was supposed to be the year many invested more in brand – from both a personal and business perspective. This was off the back of a couple of years of growth for many businesses. Unfortunately, the year has seen many struggle for business, so belts have been tightened, and those investments haven’t been made as I thought they would.
I’ve seen fewer and fewer people investing in building personal brands, mostly because they’ve had their heads down in the grind. Or, because of it being a tricky year, employers discouraging their employees out of fear of losing them or giving away trade secrets. This saddens me, and as the months have passed, I’ve become increasingly frustrated – although, at the same time, I get it!
Here’s what I didn’t expect!
I’ve already alluded to it. 2023 has been a struggle for businesses across the board. Businesses need results today, and there’s no time to waste. However, rather than seeing marketing as an investment and doubling down – it’s been seen as a cost, and budgets have been tightened, or worse, they’ve been pulled. I’ve heard consistent reports of marketing teams being reduced or axed, and it’s madness. A huge number of businesses made it through 2020 because they marketed through it and then had record years in 2021 and 2022. There’s a lesson in that, which seems to have been forgotten!
Marketing is an investment; the results come later – not immediately.
Did I get it completely wrong?
The answer is no, I didn’t. However, 2023 has packed many surprises, and I’d like to say that I’m usually way more accurate than I was this time!
I always feel uncomfortable when I’m described as an expert in social media, as things can change course daily! This year, that 100% happened. It shows that your social media strategy has to be reviewed and tweaked regularly to ensure you are in a position to maximise results. You need to watch what’s happening out there to see the opportunities and take them as they arise if you want to see success.