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Authentic Online Marketing with Ruthie Gray
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Ep. 63: Leveraging 2023 Instagram Trends

Our guest today is Sara Motes. She’s been on the show before to talk about all things Pinterest.
Listen here:

Ruthie: We’re chatting about some 2023 Instagram trends to watch for. Things that you can practically use with your content this year. My special guest is Sara Motes and she’s going to talk us through some of the research, based on the recent Instagram trend report.


On this episode our discussion and data for 2023 Instagram trends was pulled from the 2023 Instagram Trends Report & Arisen.

Get your free Instagram™ growth kit here.

Ep. 79: Strategies for Maximizing Your Instagram Live Views

Ep. 61: Combining Instagram and email marketing in 5 smart ways

Ep. 58: 7 tips for repurposing Instagram stories

Gen Z preferences dictate 2023 Instagram trends

It’s no secret that Gen Z dictates 2023 Instagram trends because that’s who Instagram is targeting. If your core audience isn’t Gen Z (especially if that’s not your core audience) you are going to want to pay attention to this information. It’s the key to how Instagram will share your content.

Just know upfront that we are not saying you have to cater to Gen Z. We’re saying it’s going to go better for your content if you can sift through the information and use what’s available and comfortable for you to use. And here’s the good news, Instagram is heavily pushing community and connection.

And here at Authentic Online Marketing, we’re all about community. Why? 

Sara: Community grows Opportunity. 

Ruthie: Without further ado, we give you the 2023 Instagram trends to leverage for building your following.

Sara, take it away.

Sara: We got a lot of juicy things here as far as trends go.

As Ruthie already mentioned, a lot of the 2023 Instagram trends are really targeted toward Gen Z. Reason being, they need to get younger people onto the app in order for the app to continue to thrive. That just makes sense.

Also, let’s define Gen Z real quick. Gen Z is anyone born from 1997 through 2012. Think about that generation in this report. We’re not really talking about new features coming up on Instagram, just trends.

There’s not really a lot of life-changing, new features coming up. You already know how to do reels. Continue making Reels, but your content is going to need to be tweaked or shifted a little bit to go with these 2023 Instagram trends, specifically targeted toward Gen Z now.

For most of y’all listening to the podcast, Gen Z is not your target audience. However, if you want to continue to get more eyeballs on your content, you’re going to need to shift a few things. What does Gen Z like even if you don’t have a Gen Z-er in your life? Here’s a quick insight into the way their brains work.

2023 Instagram Trends: DIY & Thrifting

They are very into DIY and thrifting (think clothing, recycling, building something themselves versus going out and buying it). A lot of these kids were growing up in the 2008 recession. It’s what they know. They only know a post 9-11 world.

Anything DIY related, even if you’re not into furniture or clothing, think like, how did DIY your own podcast set up? or just something along those lines, hashtag, All of that could possibly get you more traction if you do that.

I would love to know the results. If you start doing some  DIY content, and notice an uptick in your numbers, send us a DM on Instagram. I think that’d be super interesting. 

Ruthie: I do too. I like that. Like that Focus 

Sara: number two, they’re activists. They are using their social media platforms to support causes and communities, especially as more and more of them are becoming more socially aware.

Sara: They are. Very open to diversity. They they were very young when big, major issues became legal. They were very young when we had our first black president. So they are very familiar with diversity and they’re willing to fight for even more diversity. They’re also very climate conscious, hence other DIY and thrifting options.

But if you’re in like skincare or beauty products, they want good stuff like that to protect them from extreme weather and sun, like 2 out of 3 Gen Z-ers. That was the stat. They’re very aware of stuff like that. 

Ruthie: I’m going to say Gen Z is very different from the era that I grew up in.

We didn’t, we were like, We baked in the sun all the time. And we went to the tanning beds and we bought all new clothes and like a frugal and thrifty, that’s what our moms did. We didn’t want to do that and climate conscious, who cares. Some of these things are very, they’re good things.

That they’re becoming conscious of. And if we can take some of our content and leverage some of that think it’ll be great. Yeah. What else have you got for us?

Sara: They are into the metaverse. I have never done anything Metaverse. Have you created your avatar?

Ruthie: No, I do not. I’m not even sure what it is. Yeah. So please help.

Using Avatars according to the 2023 Instagram trends

Sara: I just don’t feel like I have time for a metaverse. You know what I mean? I don’t need to make a cartoon out of myself. Is that what we’re talking about here?

But over half of Gen Z social media users plan to get fashion or beauty inspiration from digital avatars or influencers in 2023.

Sara: So if you’re like an influencer, especially in fashion or anything, wow. The metaverse is what YouTube would’ve been in 2005. Get on there early and start now, because that’s the future. And if you think about it, Gen Z crave community. However, they’ve been in a pandemic, like they’re teenagers who have gone through a pandemic. So they’re still trying to get together in a metaverse and social media is how they’re like building community. They’re also craving financial literacy. Side hustles are important to them. They’re really wanting to know about investing and crypto has been so huge over the last few years, whether you agree that crypto’s a good thing to invest in or not.

They still want to know about it. And I don’t think I was super financially literate when I was a teenager. I didn’t know how to buy a stock. What the heck? SE 401k, I don’t know. But they’re actually wanting to learn about that and Instagram is a great way to inform people of financial things.

So if you’re a CPA, if you’re into finance, financial counseling or whatever this is a great way to reach ayounger audience for sure.

They’re into cultural cuisine, which is so cool. 68% a Gen Z social media users will either continue or would like to try food from another culture after discovering it online.

Earlier I was mentioning diversity. They’re also diverse in their pallets too. Like they have friends from all over the world, whether they’ve met them on Instagram or in real life, and they want to try all these different foods. So good for them for not being picky eaters and sticking with their chicken nuggets. They want to try different things.

Ruthie: The moms of the Gen Zs like me are like, why couldn’t you have had this? Change in your palette back when I was trying to just feed you spaghetti. And have fast meals. , . But because I know my own kids, they are like that. They’re very exploratory in their palette.

Sara: If you’re a travel blogger or anything, maybe don’t just focus on the sight and the sounds. Also focus on the food. They would probably love that. I would love that. I would love to see international foods too. The final thing is Gen Z expects they expect, and I maybe you’ve done this too, I have started to expect this as well.

I expect my favorite influencers to branch out into other forms of media. Like if I follow someone on Instagram, I just don’t want to follow them on Instagram. I want to get more of their content via YouTube or a podcast or something like that. Yes. So branching out. It’s going to be huge. 

Ruthie: It’s already huge. Which is why I made the leap back in 2020 to podcast. And I know a lot of our people in our insider community, in our mentorship, in our authentic online marketing school have seen that is the wave of the future is to get on the air or on YouTube. And a lot of them are repurposing podcasts to YouTube.

So it’s good to diversify. Please don’t freak out about it if you’re just now getting a hang of Instagram. Don’t freak out, but keep it in mind that it is a good move to make going forward. 

Top 5 Instagram trends in 2023

The information in this section comes from a report from Arisen.

Sara: Over the next 12 months, There’s going to be a lot of stuff happening on Instagram as far as ways that you can get more reach and get your content in front of more people.

1. Content is king

According to this 2023 Instagram trends report published by Arisen, Content is still king. Creators are creating more true and unfiltered material. Raw, honest posting, like posting in real time and showcasing less curated streams. I am so happy about that.

Ruthie: Yay. Yes. If I had a clapping thing like a button right now. Oh yeah, let’s clap. I would be doing that. Absolutely. 

Embrace Reels

Sara: I understand creating Reels takes a lot of time. But if you think about 2018, 2017 Instagram. You had to pay a photographer hundreds of dollars to get beautiful custom stock photos for your business,.

Sara: You can just make a reel. It doesn’t have to be picture perfect and fancy. And that’s what your audience wants. Reels are saving you money and time. 

Ruthie: That’s what we’re trying to teach you over here at Authentic Online Marketing is just start. You don’t have to have a great big giant studio. You don’t have to have all the ring lights. You don’t have to have a perfect background to start with what you have.

IGTV is gone

Sara: Let’s say goodbye to IGTV.  Regardless of how you feel about Reels, they are still the way to go. Thanks to an aggressive algorithm push reels have become the cornerstone of the modern Instagram experience.

Ruthie: They are. That’s just how it is, folks. Yep. We got to accept it. Jump on that reel’s bandwagon.

2. Augmented Reality Effects

Sara: So what are those? Augmented reality is just like a filter that just changes the way reality looks on your screen. You all have been using filters for years, but I don’t know if you’ve noticed they’ve just gotten a little weirder over time it seems.

Like you can have a filter that makes it look like your eyes are closed. Like, why would you do that? But they’re a thing. So according to this report, utilizing filters like that in your stories makes them more engaging for users probably because people are looking at them longer. And it encouraged them to try them out on their own accounts.

Use interactive elements in your Instagram stories

Sara: And then also using things that you’ve probably already been using, such as interactive elements like polls, quizzes, emoji sliders are comparable to using the AR effects as well.

Ruthie: I’m going to get me some giant eyelashes, see how that goes. . Yeah. 

Sara: I’m wondering if you can still like use just the more natural looking AR effects they just kind of make it look like you have a nice layer of makeup on.

 I’m sure it would probably still work and it depends on who your target audience is.

3. Personalized Hashtags

If you have been with Ruthie for any amount of time, you know that hashtags are important and relevant. I’m just preaching what she’s already been telling you. Do some research into what hashtags are the most relevant for your brand that can change your engagement rate drastically.

I think what they mean by personalized hashtags isn’t like hashtag Ruthie gray, cuz that’s super niche. I think they mean more of hashtag Instagram hacks or whatever your industry may be.

Ruthie: right or even hashtag your location, your city or your state. And things like that.

Use hashtags in your Reel captions

Hashtags do not get that much reach on a regular photo post. Therefore, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time Researching those maybe two or three or five. Use hashtags in your Reel captions. That’s how you rise to the top of the hashtag hub in reels.

If you research a hashtag, and you tap on that hashtag, you’ll see that there is somebody at the front. Their reel is longer than everyone else’s. That’s because they have risen to the hop top. They have risen to the top of that hashtag hub. So that’s why they’re still relevant.

Sara: Hashtags, they’re important guys. Use ‘EM wisely.

4. Influencers

Number four is influencers. According to Arisen, more people are following genuine and real influencers who live the average everyday lifestyles in contrast to the picture perfect lifestyles led by celebrity influencers.

I love this so much too. I guess like when I think of a big influencer, I’m thinking like 50K or more followers. Like that’s what I think of a big-ish influencer, and they’re all like normal people who happen to just repeat their message and help people. It’s great.

Ruthie: So authentic online marketing.

People want to follow relatable influencers

Sara: Yes. And they’re average moms like, “I’m cleaning my house, here’s the cleaning product I’m using.” Or, “Hey, I review cars. This is the type of car I bought.”

Ruthie, have you bought anything from an influencer, like using their links or anything? Have you ever been influenced, Ruthie? I gotta know.

Ruthie: You know what, I have not done it yet, but I’ve come really close. Now I will say this, there are two people that have been in our mentorship community in our trainings that sell items.

One of them sells clothing online and the other sells hair products. And I have bought from both of them. I have researched makeup on Instagram as well. So I take that back and that is where Instagram wants to go, obviously. They wanna be a big market that you come to for your purchases.

Sara: Have you ever purchased something from Amazon from an influencer?

Ruthie: No, I haven’t yet. I have watched a few of them though. I will say I have dabbled . 

Sara: I’m a millennial. I’m a ’94 baby and I love it when people are like, “Here’s this new vacuum I have. It works great. We tested 15 of them. Buy this one.” I’m like, great, thank you. You did all the hard work for me because I’m a researcher and they did all the reasearch for me. Yes. I’m buying that vacuum with your affiliate link. Sold. I love influencer marketing. 

Ruthie: If you can show quickly why your product works very quickly and succinctly and simply like that it takes the headache out of it for the rest of us researchers. Not trying to decide if we’re gonna buy this or not. And people will pay for convenience. So keep that in mind.

Sara: Absolutely. Users are finding more value in content from people that have similar life experiences to them.

Be a micro-influencer

So while you are developing a long-term relationships in the DM’s that aids in the development of trust, reaching the target audience, driving conversions and connecting to a larger market is also important as well. So you’re just building relationships, even if you’re not like a 50K+ influencer, be a micro influencer.

That’s what I always strived to be when I was doing business on Instagram. I wanted to be a micro influencer. So it’s just building that know, like, and trust factor.
I know you, therefore…
I’ve come to like you.
Therefore, I trust you.
And…I’m sold.
Whatever product you say is good, is likely great. That’s what we’re trying to do on, Instagram

Ruthie: Let’s say a clothing store and the people there that work there immediately start hounding you. That’s not really what you want at the time. You just want to browse first. That’s how it is when people land on your Instagram account.

They don’t want you immediately asking them, “Hey, do you want my product?” They don’t need that. They need to get to know you first. What’s this person like? And oh, she’s got a poodle. I have a poodle too. I might have to vet her a little bit.

And, oh, she sells makeup. And she’s my age, that kind of thing. That’s what people are looking for. 

Sara: And maybe this is a millennial thing, but let me know, Ruthie. Do not send me a DM in Instagram selling me your product. If I just met you and if I don’t know you. Don’t do it. I will ignore you.

I’ve actually blocked people too. There’s no and trust factor to me. You’re not an influencer. That’s intrusion. 

Ruthie: You’re not going for the jugular right off the bat. Don’t go there. Don’t do that. 

Sara: So influencers are very important. Even if you don’t have a lot of followers, be a micro influencer. Just influence the people that you have. Build that know like trust factor over time. 

5. User Generated Content

The best of the 2023 Instagram trends

Number five is user generated content. We have so much we could have a whole episode about this, but we won’t. At least not yet. So user generated content is consumer generated content is original and brand specific. It’s content created by your customers that they publish it on their social media or on their channels.

So it’s like your fans, your customers, and your clients are creating content for you. That’s the dream. It can come from customers brand loyalists. You could even think of unboxing videos on TikTok, praise filled posts on Instagram. Your customers are usually the most prominent cohort you’ll look to gain UGC.

You can either ask for it or they could organically decide to do it too. There is no other content type that is more authentic than that.

Ruthie: Yes. Or powerful. It’s just a proven fact. It works for me every time I launch. My people come on live with me and talk about Authentic Online Marketing School and how much it’s helped them to grow their following, grow their email list grow their communities, pivot into a business or better decisions. There are many formats that we can use for user generated content. What are some of those, Sara?

Types of User Generated Content

Sara: It could be as basic as like just an image, social media content, like a tweet or someone shouts, gives you a shout out in stories, videos, testimonials, live streams, blog posts, YouTube content, like anything that anyone creates for you is user generated content.

Ruthie: Simple. It’s such great social proof.  

Sara: People ultimately trust the opinions of other people versus a sales person. People trust each other. So it’s like the modern day word of mouth. User generated content is the modern day word of mouth.

Ruthie: what are some user-generated content tips that you would give us then?

User Generated Content Tips

Always ask permission to share content

Sara: Number one, always ask permission to share their post or story. If they did a story, given you a shout out, or they created a Reel using a product you sell, always ask permission. Don’t just presume you can share it to your feed.

Always give credit to the original creator

Number 2, always give credit to the original content creator. I don’t think you necessarily need to do this in an Instagram story because their name is already in there. We’ve all seen people take a post from someone else and share it to their feed so that their feed looks beautiful and curated. Then they barely give credit or they don’t give credit at all. 

Ruthie: I’ve had that happen. That is so rude.

At least tag the person at least. And I do want to give a caveat here if if they have tagged you in their story or in their post it’s going to be okay to re-share that. But you can ask just to be sure. If they’ve tag you probably it’s going to be okay.

Millennials love user generated content

Sara: According to Arisen, 50% of millennials base their decision to buy a product on recommendations from their family and friends. This is where users user generated content can shine because it’s a personal recommendation. 

Ruthie: And something that I do constantly with my podcast is I give a call to action to take a screenshot and share the episode on Insta and tag me. And then I will oftentimes re-share and tag them back. That gets us more downloads than anything else because that is showing that people love our podcast.

And they’re gaining value from it. They’re growing from it. That’s what you want to do is give the value so that people are like, “Hey, this person is worthy of me sharing this. I love this person. I’m going to, or I love her content, or I love her product, or her podcast, or whatever.” And that’s the whole thing about marketing you guys is not yelling, “buy my thing!”

It is taking the time to connect on Instagram. And to share value content and take the time to explain. What you do and what, how this can help someone. 

And share your user generated content. If you don’t have user generated content, this might be the biggest 2023 Instagram trend that you need to focus on.

User Generated Content for Service-based Businesses

Sara: For those of you with service-based businesses, it’s so good to get testimonials from your clients. I have a set of questions that I use every time to get awesome testimonials because if you just ask for a testimonial, “Hey Ruthie, can you give me a testimonial? You’d be like, okay. And then, you’d have to come up content. But you can pull it out of them by asking strategic questions. Then ask for permission to use that testimonial on social media.

So even though you’re creating the post, they created the content for you. That’s another way to promote service-based businesses. Sometimes as service-based businesses we don’t have reviews because we don’t have a product. You can still have testimonials. Another easy thing you could do is just create a survey with those strategic questions.

Ruthie: Just a quick one. At the end of our survey for Authentic Online Marketing School, I say something like, would you be willing to leave a review. And then I will have a fill in the blank form.

If you’ve been around for a while and sharing your content, it’s likely that you have affirmative testimonies. You just don’t realize it. They’re probably in Facebook groups, Dm’s, or reviews.

Look closely. Look right in your yard. You might have some things there.

Sara, this has been great for us to have a little run down of the 2023 Instagram trends.

Ruthie: And I still don’t know about that Metaverse thing, but we’re gonna float with it. And if y’all have avatars, I guess you can use those even more now. I’ve noticed that on Instagram. That they’re pushing that little sticker selfie there.

Sara: I’ve seen avatars on Facebook a lot, but it seems like only boomers use them.

Ruthie: Isn’t that funny? I think that too, and I just, I don’t like it. 

Sara: No. I don’t. 

Ruthie: I guess that’s what they’re trying to get us to do over there.

Sara: I don’t know. If you are listening to this and you are active in the Metaverse and you know what’s going on there, send us a DM on Instagram.

Ruthie: @AuthenticOnlineMarketingPod

Sara: Yes, please. We want to know what’s going on there. We might have FOMO if there’s actually some cool stuff going on over there. Send us a screenshot of your avatar. I’d love to know what you look like.

Ruthie: Share your avatar to your stories and tag us. That’s your call to action. If you really gleaned something from this show today would help us out with user-generated content? Take a screenshot of the podcast and share it, we would love that. We’d love to see how you’re using 2023 Instagram trends.

Remember to share your own message, in your own authentic voice (or avatar). 

Sara Motes is a UX/UI website designer for coaches and service-based businesses. She creates websites that convert dream clients into real clients by making websites that are specifically designed for your target market (no cookie cutter website templates here, folks).

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