Reality Check: These Social Trends Will Actually Shape Local Marketing in 2023

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For many of us in social advertising, 2023 brought giant headlines proclaiming shifting landscapes that demanded we reevaluate our social media strategies. And yet, as I sat down to write what changes in 2022 will truly be impactful in 2023, I found myself listing the less publicized announcements that barely hit most radars. These subtle, yet pragmatic, social trends will guide marketing next year far more than the bullhorn announcements that declare everything is different now.

The Rise of TikTok in Context

In many ways, 2022 will be remembered as the year TikTok demanded attention. And why not? It reached over a billion users for the first time and flexed some serious developer muscle by announcing a stream of new features. 

However, there are a couple of things to know before aligning your local strategy to the rising platform. Looking at overall usage data, TikTok still lags Meta, especially when you consider that Meta owns three of the top six social properties. TikTok is worth understanding and possibly testing, but bulk usage still resides in the more established platforms. It is also worth mentioning that TikTok is still navigating governance in some countries, including the US. And unlike its predecessors, TikTok appears to be struggling to calm security concerns

So, for marketers looking to reach the largest audience, Meta still rules the universe.  

What We See Beyond the Metaverse

One of Meta’s most notable additions launched so quietly many may have missed it. In mid-2022, the company formed a Local Enterprise Solutions (LES) team to focus on local activation at scale across brand advertisers, including a Local Enterprise Solutions hub

In a recent article for AdWeek, LES team director, Todd Glavinskas, said, “Specialists such as Meta Business Partners offer local businesses a way to maximize their resources and build campaigns that leverage best practices and target incremental audiences that their national brands may not be targeting.” 

Developments like the company focusing on creators and Meta’s short-form video enhancements were worth the headlines they received, but the creation of a strategic team focusing on local social proves the company is staying true to its roots as a community platform. Brands should look out for these local optimization opportunities. 

Influencers in the Local Ecosystem

Another theme heard repeatedly in 2022 was marketing through “creators” to drive awareness and influence purchasing. Case studies highlight the results of using influencers compared to brand-created content. 

It is a surprise to no one that individuals with volumes of followers endorsing a product would have more impact than a standalone ad. This new area of investment is further proof that brands must move closer into a consumer’s world rather than shouting over the top of it. 

This reality is even more pronounced when the product is sold indirectly. The direct relationship with the shopper often lies with the local business and their experience within the store. In an article for Forbes, Ross Graber, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, said, “Expanding focus to the full spectrum of ecosystem business models — build, influence, sell, service, and manage — will fuel the revamping of what is currently known as channel marketing into a partner ecosystem marketing function.” Within this ecosystem, the one entity that can do all those things in a single experience is the local partner in the market. 

There are few other interactions more important than the final moments when a consumer is in their local store making the decision to buy. Your local partners may not have millions of followers, but the attention they do garner from consumers goes well beyond likes. As we head into 2023, a brand’s ability to convert this network of influencers into brand ambassadors could be the difference in navigating the ecosystem or getting lost in it.

In short:

  • TikTok is growing but still has a lot of ground to make up
  • Meta is doing a lot of great things for marketers, especially in local social advertising
  • Your local partner may be the best way to personalize your message to a consumer.

While this list of trends for 2023 may not be as flashy or dramatic as many of the articles you have read in the last week, sometimes it is not the brazen launchpad but rather the subtle bend that leads to the biggest success. 

Donny Dye is SVP of Sales and Marketing at Tiger Pistol.

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