It’s estimated that 4.70 billion people, or 59% of the world’s population, use social media, spending an average of two-and-a-half hours daily consuming and creating content on a variety of sites.
    That represents an enormous reach and influence, which has only been steadily growing since major platforms like Facebook and Twitter burst onto the scene in the early 2000s. And as you well know, a striking number of users fall into the marrying age demographic, making social-media marketing a must for any successful boutique.
    But times and strategies change. What works well one year can fall out of favor as the Next Big Thing starts trending.
    Staying on top of these changes is practically a full-time job, considering the lightning speed at which platforms grow and develop. Fortunately, we have put together a list of outdated social-media strategies that you can ditch in 2023, as well as alternate, more effective approaches to replace them with. Use this as a guide to begin the New Year on the smartest possible social marketing foot no matter which site(s) you’re on. After all, many of these strategies overlap and can be applied on any platform – especially now!

1) Outdated Strategy: Using long-form video. It used to be true that the longer a video went, the better (within reason, of course). After all, more viewing time leads to more opportunities to showcase expertise, win over brides and promote your brand. But as new platforms like TikTok have grown, short-form video has exploded in popularity and, frankly, is dominating nearly every social site today.
    Technically speaking the cutoff for short-form video is anything less than 10 minutes. However, in reality, most short-form videos are considerably shorter than that: Instagram Reels are capped at 90 seconds, TikTok videos at 3 minutes, YouTube shorts at 60 seconds and Twitter videos at 2 minutes and 20 seconds. The “sweet spot” for video length is 60 seconds or less, per most studies, with a 2022 Video Marketing report defining the optimal length as 31-60 seconds.
    Why are short-form videos so popular? From a consumer perspective, they’re easier to digest, fun to watch and inspire a sense of connection with others. From a business perspective, impressions and engagement (your ultimate goals) are much higher because of how much they appeal to consumers. Additionally, short-form content is easier to create, allows you to showcase your creativity, and tells customers you stay on top of trends by participating.
    In 2023, the majority of your video content should be short form across all platforms. The only exceptions are if you have a YouTube channel, host a video podcast or offer an educational component like online seminars. There, long-form content is still OK, even expected, although it’s good to mix things up by including some shorter snippets as well. Boutiques posting long-form video of any type should consider repurposing short excerpts from those videos on platforms like TikTok to 1) promote their long-form content and 2) experience the best of both worlds.

2023 Tip: One of the easiest ways to create great short-form content is to take a written piece, such as a blog post or article, and make a list of three-to-five key takeaways. Present this list in video format (with proper credit of course), highlighting each point with fun graphics, eye-catching filters or trending moves.

2) Outdated Strategy: Single-item posts. This one is more Instagram specific, which is a platform almost every boutique is on. The algorithm, which used to showcase posts based on recency and user interests, now heavily favors the Reels format. This is because Instagram is trying to compete with TikTok, which recently overtook Facebook and Google as the world’s most popular web domain. However, this algorithm shift puts anyone who wants to showcase individual photos, quote posts or even carousels on Instagram at a disadvantage in terms of exposure.
    The answer isn’t to abandon photos or single-item posts altogether; it’s to be aware of this shift and make certain you are incorporating a Reels strategy too. You might alternate a photo post with a Reel every other day, or set a more flexible goal like four Reels posts and three photo posts a week.
    No matter your schedule, variety is key. There is still a place for gorgeous, eye-catching photography on Instagram – it just needs to be strategically placed amongst a sea of Reels.

2023 Tip: You can “trick” Instagram and take advantage of the algorithm shift by posting an individual photo or series of photos in the Reels format. There are a variety of templates you can choose from to make presentation easy, and you can even add trending music (which can be muted if desired), further boosting your odds of exposure.

3) Outdated Strategy: Focusing on influencers. It’s not that influencer marketing is dead; to the contrary, spending on this niche is projected to hit $4.62 billion in the U.S. by 2023 (up 12% from 2022). However, the problem is that influencer posts have grown so commonplace they’re beginning to lose effectiveness.
    In fact, 64% of 18- to 44-year-olds now say they don’t trust what influencers promote through their social channels, per Sitecore stats, with 73% saying they find influencers “vain” and “annoying.” Additionally, some influencers have faced criticism for partnering with brands that don’t align with their values, which lends to credibility issues.
    Today’s consumers are hungry for authenticity, uniqueness and relatability; in this environment user-generated content (UGC) is exploding in popularity.
    User-generated content is anything – text, photos, videos, memes, reviews, etc. – created by people rather than brands. The easiest way to use UGC is to search for and repost it (with permission and proper credit, always).
    Because this type of content isn’t created by a business, it feels more authentic to the people viewing it. In fact, studies have shown that 55% of consumers trust UGC over other forms of marketing and 84 percent of millennials report that user-generated content has some influence on what they buy.
    As many brides fall into the millennial age bracket, incorporating UGC in some capacity is a smart and necessary strategy to add to your social marketing repertoire in 2023.

2023 Tip: One of the easiest ways to curate UGC is to create a specific hashtag, like #ShannonsBrides, then incentivize your followers to post using that hashtag. Search the hashtag regularly to check out the posts and then, if you want to repost something, send that person a note asking for permission and make sure to tag/thank them! For extra good will, consider sending a small gift of appreciation as well.

4) Outdated Strategy: Posting after the fact. Gone are the days when a detailed recap of an event grabs huge attention. Live streaming, which has been called “the new economy of connection” and accounts for almost a quarter of global viewing time, has taken its place.
    Collectively, people watched nearly nine billion hours of live streaming content in Q1 of 2022, and 80% said they would rather watch a brand’s live video than read their blog, per Today’s consumers want instant gratification, which live streams offer. As well, it humanizes your business and helps build that much-desired personal connection when you are right there with your customers experiencing something together..
    And, it’s very easy to live stream. In the past you had to have a dedicated streaming platform, but now pretty much all of the social sites, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, have a live-streaming feature built in that anyone can use..
    As for what to live stream, you can give sneak peeks at upcoming dresses/designers/other products, do unboxings/try-ons/demonstrations, broadcast a special event, answer FAQs, host a webinar, introduce a designer, give a store tour, tell awesome stories and much more..
    An added benefit is that additional revenue can be earned through tips during a live stream on some sites; for example, a fan might donate $20 to ask a “super question”, which is then flagged for your attention and answered live. This is a way to potentially incentivize consultants (should they host) without costing you a thing.

2023 Tip: Promote any upcoming live streams via your social channels ahead of time and offer incentives for attending – such as a giveaway, where the winner will be selected during the live presentation – to boost engagement.

5) Outdated Strategy: Using social just to connect. From your customers’ perspective, social media used to be strictly about keeping up with friends/family/brands, forming connections and entertainment/education. However, in this day and age another equally powerful purpose has emerged: customer service..
    Features like Facebook messenger and Instagram direct message allow customers to reach a business quickly and get instant responses to their questions, concerns and complaints. And make no mistake about it – a near-instant response is what they now expect..
    No longer is it good enough to have an “as long as I respond within 24 hours” mentality. Moving forward, you must have a concrete strategy for responding near instantaneously to customer inquiries across all sites. In this day and age, social media is every bit as much a customer-service platform as it is a way to connect and it needs to be treated as such. Responding promptly to queries, especially those on public posts, demonstrates you are trustworthy, actively listen to your customers and care about their experience.

2023 Tip: Many sites such as Facebook allow you to set up automated messenger responses, which can be edited to say whatever you like; they will pop up instantly after someone messages you. If you’re not already doing this set it up immediately. Automated responses provide immediate acknowledgement, and should be followed up with a personalized real-life reply.