As we start 2023, we are facing another year of uncertainty. Recession, the continuing war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis are reminders to ensure we can adapt quickly to our ever-changing world. However, volatility can bring about creativity, adaptability and change, along with unique opportunities. In this blog, I have summarized nine key PR trends for small business in 2023 to help navigate the challenges and harness the opportunities this year may bring.
Trend 1: Growth in short-form video is set to continue
Short-form videos are quickly becoming a must-have in communications and marketing plans for anyone in business, as platforms such as Facebook, Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts offer exciting and creative new ways to engage audiences. There is potential to embrace visual storytelling, showcase our personalities and build authentic connections.
Investing time in understanding how best to leverage the platforms and hone our video and on-camera skills is essential to capture the increasingly distracted consumer’s eye.
The data shows it’s worth it. Those who have embraced short-form video, have seen impressive results, particularly in building brand awareness and expanding engagement with new audiences.
According to the PEW Research Centre, 95% of all young people aged 13-17 use YouTube, and the cohort spends about 5% of their waking hours on TikTok.
If, to date, you have been reluctant to do so, 2023 is the year to embrace video.
Trend 2: Authentic messaging with empathy
Communicating with your customers is non-negotiable if you wish to remain at the top of your industry. Building a connection with them is essential for long-term client relationships.
This requires authentic messaging, coupled with empathy.
Staying up-to-date on current events, understanding your customers’ needs and concerns, and showing that you genuinely care about them can result in better engagement and longer-term client relationships.
Extensive knowledge of your customers, employees, and target market will be more important than ever. This knowledge can refine processes, ensure that products and services meet customer needs, and foster better relationships with key stakeholders. More meaningful connections will allow for easier access to valuable insights which can help inform your decisions and improve your outcomes.
Content, campaigns, and initiatives can be specifically tailored towards your audiences to create greater engagement and deeper connections on an emotional level that will build trust and credibility.
I anticipate we will see more storytelling, and more writing from personal experience this year.
Trend 3: End of over-reliance on one social platform
2023 is the year when we will no longer be over-reliant on a single social platform as our sole source of engagement. In the past, many marketers advised: “stick to one platform”. However, I believe that advice is no longer good enough.
Reaching out via multiple platforms is key to connecting with diverse audiences and broadening the scope of your message. For instance, rather than relying solely on Facebook for promotion, consider utilizing Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Blogs can be published on many platforms (such as Medium) and newsletters written on LinkedIn and Substack, or even Reddit, will amplify brand awareness and increase the potential reach of campaigns.
Devising unique messaging strategies and curating content tailored to each platform’s audience will help you cut through the noise and bolster engagement, along with storytelling using an authentic and empathetic tone, coupled with a genuine desire to engage in conversation.
Trend 4: Value of Influencer relations on the increase
Whilst we know that social media is a powerful communication tool, it can be unpredictable. Collaborating with influencers relevant to your audience and business can expand your reach, while providing third-party reviews and endorsements of your products and services.
According to THEB2BHOUSE, Influencer Marketing: Key Statistics, Trends, Data for 2023, brand spending with influencers is expected to increase by more than 23% in 2023. Also, 80% of marketers found influencer marketing effective, with 71% saying it produces better leads than other forms of marketing.
Trend 5: Content with value is king
Producing great content that focuses on creating value for your target audience and speaks to them as humans, using language they will relate to and is genuinely conversational, will cut through.
Trend 6: Relevance – why should I read or engage with this content
People need to understand why something is relevant to them as quickly as possible. The plethora of distractions and attention-grabbing diversions means we must work harder to attract our audiences and retain their attention. Providing value, that is timely and relevant, and which resonates with readers on levels both emotional and intellectual in a format, on a platform or in a place they already use will help. Clear writing, using shorter sentences broken up with headings and subheadings, will make your content easier and more appealing for busy people to read.
Trend 7: Strategically building your personal brand
Intentionally and purposefully building your personal brand should be one of your top priorities in 2023. Being visible, crafting a strong narrative for your brand, and sharing the story you want to tell, confidently and articulately, using compelling stories and case studies with testimonials, will enhance your reputation and create opportunities, connections and clients you can’t wait to work with.
People buy people and your personal brand is yours to shape.
Trend 8: Networking and in-person events
Personally, I am looking forward to more networking and in-person events this year. I believe face-to-face events are the best way to get your message across and build trust with your customers. You’ll make more of an impression and build far better relationships than you could ever hope to achieve online.
In-person meetings let you humanize your brand in ways that just aren’t possible when engaging digitally. In-person events and conferences create opportunities to meet new people and experience those wonderful ‘chance encounters’ that can change everything.
I have already signed up for a two-day marketing conference later in the year, and I can’t wait to get away from my desk and spend time surrounded by inspiring fellow business owners and communication specialists.
Trend 9: Use data to make decisions
Acquiring data and insights will play a greater role in our decision-making and measurements of success. Looking at insights and analytics from our social media activity will tell us where we should devote our precious time and budget.
Customer and employee surveys will be crucial in understanding our audiences’ perceptions and priorities. This knowledge will help shape our content, ensuring it is timely, relevant and valuable.
Data will help us make informed decisions and take action as needed.
Whilst some of these trends are not new, what I am noticing is their changing relevance and importance. From leveraging emerging technologies like short-form videos to utilizing influencers for content creation, businesses and business owners must stay abreast of the latest trends to stand out from competitors and reach their target audiences more effectively.
Additionally, adopting a multi-faceted approach involving both online and offline activities rooted in your business goals and a deep understanding of your target audience will be essential for connecting with customers on multiple platforms and creating meaningful connections.
Personalized marketing campaigns and product or service offerings that appeal directly to consumers will become more prominent, allowing small businesses to meet customer needs and create an appropriate niche within their target market.
Finally, authentic, and empathetic messaging that places your audience at the heart of your communications will help create powerful messages that resonate deeply with consumers.
With these strategies at play, small businesses can successfully leverage the best practices in marketing and PR this year and beyond.
Thank you for reading
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