A key part of growth and sustainability for small business owners is the speed at which they can adapt to consumers’ wants and needs. In today’s world, what your customers value can evolve quickly. Staying competitive means evolving with them. With that goal in mind, we’re taking a look at digital trends to keep your eye on in 2023 to help you stay relevant in a constantly-changing market.
#1 Growth in User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is nothing new. The concept has been in play for years with companies finding clever ways to engage current and prospective customers to create content on their behalf. Hashtag contests with user content submissions to win a prize or service from a company have been effectively used on social media as brands leverage enthusiastic customer excitement to build sentiment.
The difference in 2023 is we’re now living in a “post-pandemic” environment. It’s created an opportunity to prompt user-generated content that previously seemed mundane. By encouraging your customers to experience your products in real life (whatever form that may take), you can successfully generate buzz for your brand. The reality is, we are itching to return to the “pre-pandemic” norm in as many ways as possible.
Despite some price inflation, the travel and tourism industry as well as the restaurant industry have all seen moderate to substantial growth from pre- 2020 pandemic levels. People are seeking to get out and interact and have real live interaction in high rates. You can capitalize on this trend by encouraging customers to engage with your brand in real life and capture the moments.
Here are three examples to consider:
- Start a sweepstakes with a product/service giveaway encouraging customers to give video testimonials talking about their recent experience with your company. Create a hashtag for the sweepstakes and have users submit content on your social media channels.
- Create a UGC online review and FAQ center. Encourage your existing customers to submit video reviews of your products and services in exchange for reward points or discounts. This content can then live on your website to supply a realistic review sentiment. This would give you the ability to moderate content during curation to avoid any untrue or overly negative product reviews.
- Make UGC reviews part of your standard customer service process. One way to do this is to create a review card that you can hand out on site or email to customers. The card would have a QR code with instructions or a link directly to your review platform (Yelp, Facebook, etc.). Encourage your staff to hand these out or create an email trigger, so that more customers have the ability to help build your online reputation.
#2 Educational Videos Explode in Use
We’ve all been there. You’re in the middle of trying to figure out something new. Whether it’s assembling a toy for your kids or installing a new product at your house, the provided instructions are often challenging to understand. You search YouTube in search of a video demonstration of how to complete the task, follow the steps and boom you are home free. Data shows that educational videos increase engagement and the ability to learn new concepts at a higher rate than other mediums. Given that fact, brands and their customers alike have increased their production of educational video content to fill the growing need.
Here are three educational video types you may want to include in your communication mix:
- Company-produced videos explaining new product or services
- Unboxing videos of consumers opening and using or activating your product
- Company-produced or user videos that show proper product assembly or use
These videos can be used on multiple channels (website and social media) by creating them in 9:16 aspect ratio formatting. This will allow your video content to scale and receive the most engagement possible.
#3 Gen Z Becomes the New Millennials
For Gen Zs, the internet has been around for their whole life. In essence, they are digital natives. As such, their expectations for online experiences are significant and constantly evolving.
If you have Gen Z customers – either in your existing or targeted customer base – here are three ways you can effectively build digital experiences and content that resonate with them.
- Meet Gen Z in their environment. Engage on social media platforms that they use in a meaningful way and experience the benefits.
- Be relevant and authentic in your communications. Generation Z values authenticity from brands at a heightened level when compared to previous generations.
- Create real experiences. Gen Z is growing up in a world where content and life are increasingly digital and real-world experiences are craved. By creating real-life events and tangible experiences that include or are tailored for Gen Zs, you can appeal to this emerging audience.
About the Author: Kalup Alexander is Digital Marketing Director for The Word & Brown Companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in New Media Communications and Marketing from Oregon State University. He has been at Word & Brown since 2014.