5 social trends on the rise
Social media is a shapeshifter. With every day, new trends and many more new ‘-cores’ crop up.
oct 23, 2023
social - content - trends
by: darian ghaznavi
Remember when the pandemic was a thing and we all did TikTok dance challenges to stay sane? Or when Instagram was still a place for perfect pictures so we all created ‘finstas’ as a way to let our unfiltered selves shine? That was then. This is now: the 5 big picture social trends we see shaping the rest of 2023.
1. there’s a new wave of social apps
Instagram is more commercialized than ever. Twitter is caught in controversy. Countries are banning TikTok. With privacy concerns and rising scrutiny, people are turning away from social media giants. They’re craving the good ol’ days of social when it was fun, when it actually felt like you were interacting with your friends.
Clubhouse, BeReal, and Mastodon rose to the occasion. They hit the headlines as social revolutionaries, here to change the game. But they’re just the beginning. Many new apps are on the rise, prioritizing ad-free, authentic, inclusive, and more intimate experiences.
Here are three up and coming platforms with novel ways of connecting with others online.
A platform geared towards high school students. They answer anonymous, generally ‘uplifting’ polls about others in the school, and can pay to find out who voted. Think ASK.fm (iykyk).
A LinkedIn alternative designed to connect professionals outside the traditional 9-5 (e.g. speaking on podcasts, finding beta testers).
A livestream app for teens to meet each other by swiping to find friends with similar interests and having video chats. Like Tinder for friends.
With new social platforms comes new opportunities for brands to innovate how they interact with their online audiences.
2. viewers crave soft thrills
Social content is fast-paced. It moves in seconds. And it’s getting exhausting. In an age where there’s multiple videos stitched to play simultaneously, it’s no surprise viewers are feeling overstimulated by this attention-hacking content. As a result, people are craving slower, soothing content.
Enter soft thrills: content that calms while still keeping you entertained. While ASMR is a classic example, we’re seeing more renditions of soft thrills, like process videos from the viral pastry chef @amaryguichon and meditative content from @headspace. With over 127.6B views, #OddlySatisfying videos are another testament to this growing social content trend.
For brands looking to break through the social noise, taking it slow can be the way to go.
3. original content is the new meme
Trends used to be the path to virality. But with all the copy-and-pasting, people are craving content that feels different, quirky, and original. Whether it’s being absurd or poking fun at relatable human behaviors, it’s all about doing the unexpected and letting creativity fly.
That doesn’t mean trends are dead. Now, the challenge is for brands to be selective about which trends feel right for them but also remix trends in a way that’s unique and shows off their brand’s personality—like we did with the Wes Anderson trend for GoGo squeeZ, a children’s snack brand. Rule to live by: Entertain first, sell later.
4. everyone’s a main character now
‘Main character energy’ isn’t new. We’ve been romanticizing our life for the public eye since the dawn of social media. What has changed is that being the main character is now the new standard of social.
People want to see how others find magic in the mundane. Putting on a silly little outfit for a silly little task is worth capturing. Pouring a glass of wine just for you is the pinnacle of social cinema. Showing who you think is hottest in Succession is entertainment gold. Filming yourself lip syncing? Iconic.
Everything can be a main character moment, if you film it so.
The same rings true for brands. Cast yourselves as the protagonists, like the Duolingo owl. It’s about finding your personality, figuring out what makes your brand human, and leaning into it hard. Whether that’s working with creators who exemplify the brand or making little moments with your product feel big, it’s time for brands to rock their main character energy unapologetically.
5. social’s the new search engine
40% of Gen-Z are now “TikTok-ing” it instead of “Googling” it. They want to hear directly from other people. Just like word of mouth, it feels more trustworthy. Plus, Gen-Z grew up with the immersive, engaging experience of social. Why should searching be any different?
With all the Internet clutter, Gen-Z wants their information in bite-sized videos—whether it’s cover letter tutorials or the hottest new restaurants in the city.
For brands, this means two things. First, creators are your secret weapon. Secondly, using the right keywords, even if they’re not the snazziest copy, can bolster your content. Social media is no longer just a place for dance challenges and meme-y videos. It’s a home for editorial, educational, and entertaining content.
These trends will be as fleeting as the last. As culture shifts, so will social. Our challenge in advertising is to not just play catch up, but be the trendsetters ourselves. How? A pinch of creativity and a whole lot of scrolling.