2023 social media predictions

Will Twitter be here? What's next for Instagram?
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Malte Mueller/Getty Images

· 3 min read

2022 was a wild one for social media, and I’m not just talking Twitter (but we’ll certainly talk more Twitter). Let’s talk about next year and prepare (as much as we can) for where the wild world of internetting is heading.

Twitter ain’t going anywhere

Listen, I don’t love Elon and truly feel like every change since he took over has made Twitter a worse place. But you should plan for Twitter being around. Considering the other major social networks’ focus on visual content, I just don’t see wordies flocking elsewhere. The other platforms aren’t positioned as well for real time either. For better or worse, Twitter really is the best place for conversation.

I’ve written a few pieces to help your brand decide how to tweet through the future:

Brands will ask for mild sauce

Boy, we’ve seen some unhinged brand tweeting this year. Pabst Blue Ribbon tweeted “Not drinking this January? Try eating ass!” back in January. Tampax just walked back its “You’re in their DMs. We’re inside them. We are not the same.” tweet. Both tweets went hyper viral, and both ended with the brands apologizing.

I think we’ll see big brands pull back on being spicy for spicy’s sake. Yes, those tweets do keep going viral, and because they’re mostly written content, they don’t cost almost anything to make, but the pushback’s coming because not every human wants snark from brands. I still think McDonald’s is the happy medium here, adopting “internet speak” without annoying anyone.

Instagram will try to become TikTok…again

TikTok users’ average time spent in app is almost 2x that of Instagram—the For Your page is a strong content recommendation algorithm, and seems to keep users in the app longer than networks that focus on your friends. Meta, and specifically Instagram are going to take swings at incorporating more recommended content into your feed.

A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby

Instagram tried it earlier this year, then had to walk it back when that “Make Instagram Instagram Again” post from the Kardashians went viral. As with every IG change, we watched CEO Adam Mosseri explain the news, explain the changes, but carefully caveat that the company will still pursue recommended content when Instagram figures out its algorithm.

That’s why…

The hook will matter more than ever

Before TikTok, organic brand social only had to think about owned media—brand content went to people who slapped the Follow button on the brand account. The aforementioned algorithm means every brand’s got incredible organic reach potential.

It will be more important than ever that content has a truly great, captivating hook. If you can’t answer within three seconds why a random person scrolling social should keep watching your content, you’re going to instantly lose them. Brands: Spend as much time on your hooks as possible.

New tech won’t help your social brand at all

I skimmed a few social prediction articles before typing this up and couldn’t believe how many focused on new tech like NFTs, AR, VR, Web3, and the metaverse. We’re not there yet. Your mom doesn’t know what any of that means. The most effective social marketing will come from the same ol’ content formats that’ve always dominated: videos, images, and text. Applying new tech to social remains a PR stunt, not a viable social strategy.

What are your predictions?

I kept it pretty top line here, but swing by my LinkedIn to read over 100 social strategists’ guesses to what’s coming in 2023.

A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby