Four Lessons Brands Need to Learn from 2022 on Social Media as 2023 Approaches

December 22, 2022

I don’t mean to alarm you, but, it will be 2023 in just 10 days. We know; it still feels like 2019 to us, too. Before everyone breaks for the year, we wanted to take some time to highlight our biggest social learnings from the year and how we believe they’ll come into play in 2023.

This past year was nothing if not a whirlwind. We learned a lot from watching social media develop before our eyes. Memes like the corn kid and Julia Fox's "Uncut Gems" came and went, new platforms showed up and showed out (I’m looking at you, YouTube Shorts and BeReal) and Elon Musk purchasing Twitter had us all asking: “What’s next for social platforms?"

Despite all of this, there were four standout learnings from the year. These learnings won’t stay in 2022, though. We predict that these four learnings will move with us into the new year and continue to develop social channels as we know them. 

The top four social media learnings for brands in 2022: 

One: Brands need to build truly ownable communities that are platform-agnostic

Community is everything when it comes to your brand’s social presence. However, be careful to put all your energy into one channel because you could lose the platform, or your profile, at any moment.

Take TikTok, for example; there is a weariness that has surrounded the popular app for years because of the possibility of a potential ban from the FCC. Similarly, on Twitter, several journalists' profiles were suspended without warning or explanation.  While unfortunate for the journalists, it’s an essential lesson to brands that you can’t focus on building your communities on one platform. Instead, you’ll have more success growing your community if you create a cohesive look across multiple social platforms. 

Take Nike, for example. On Instagram and TikTok, specifically, Nike shines by sharing inspiring images and videos of people working hard to achieve their goals and dreams.

On Twitter, though, they focus on communicating with their audience and addressing pressing concerns. While each platform has its own messaging, by having a cohesive feel across multiple platforms, Nike is ensuring its community is platform-agnostic. 

Two: Brands need to partner with creators as long-standing brand advocates not one-off ad-makers

Audiences love creators because creators are perceived as people like themselves, a level of familiarity a brand could never reach on its own. However, by using influencers as advocates, your brand is more likely to achieve a more familiar level with audiences by default.

One of the best examples we can use to showcase how brands can create relationships with creators is Offbeat's own relationship with top creator, @Alanchickinchow. We worked with him for the first campaign with McDonald's and utilized him again for our second campaign we did later in the year. Because of the relationship we formed with him as a partner, he gave our campaign extra value by posting his video to YouTube Shorts to add 19M views to the campaign! 

@alanchikinchow when your boyfriend is always looking out for your @McDonald’s Spicy Crispy Chicken Sandwich 🥰🍔 #sponsored ♬ original sound - Alan Chikin Chow

Of course, the viewership and success that Alanchickchow all trickles down to his audience. Thanks to the community he built, his YouTube channel shot to the #1 spot in October. Activating long-term with creators like Alan only provides activations with added value, as their audiences feel more connected to your brand the more they see the product.  

Three: Don’t fear ephemerality, Gen Z is obsessed with things that are quick and don’t last forever

Life moves fast; Gen Z moves faster. While you want your brand to have longevity online, it’s important you don’t shy away from activations that are short-winded. BeReal is the perfect example of this. 

The app, which notifies its users once a day when it’s time to take a picture, lets users take it within 2 minutes and post it to their feed. The image lives for 24 hours, and the next day the cycle continues. 

To put the app simply, it’s fun, fast, and follows one of Gen Z’s highest values, authenticity. While you can “BeFake” and wait until something cool happens during your day, most don’t.

BeReal’s usage increased by 315% from 2021 to 2022, and its downloads increased by over 1000% because the concept is to catch what you are doing at the moment. Gen Z’s obsession with the authentic nature of BeReal has expanded to other platforms, only extending BeReal’s reach and adding to the buzz surrounding it. 

Four: You need to humanize your brands on social media further by inserting yourself in relevant culture 

Using influencers to help humanize your brand? Great, you’re on the right track. That isn’t the only thing you should be doing to connect with your brand on a deeper level. You can integrate your brand into the relevant culture by using gifs, memes, and AR filters to further grow your connection with your community and insert yourself into a suitable culture. 

We assisted The Cheesecake factory with humanizing their brand through the use of memes and gifs. Offbeat sourced talented artists to draw and create gifs to be uploaded on Giphy with trending hashtags and keywords.

One evergreen trend we specifically taped into was nostalgia, which naturally integrated into Gen Z’s longing for anything and everything in the past. The result of this activation? Integrating The Cheesecake Factory into relevant culture allows the memes and gifs to achieve more than 5M+ views and 213.9M+ views, respectively. 

What do each of these learnings mean for your brand going into 2023?

The social world is changing, and the more traditional ways of using social media are no longer working. Brands now need to have a more community-based approach to social that integrates them into the relevant culture of their audience members. With the new year approaching, now is the perfect time to take a step back and ensure you are implementing these insights into your strategy. 

Offbeat keeps our pulse on the top trends and turns our experiences into learnings for our clients to ensure our content is on top of social innovation.

Taking these learning and using them as your playbook to plan your social content in 2023 is the first step to success. Let us help you take your content further by putting it into practice to guide your social media management and planning. 

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