The Rise of Messy Content

Social Media

“Unfiltered” has become the go-to social media filter. Many are rejecting polished posts and highly produced content in favor of an “unaesthetic” aesthetic and unapologetic authenticity. It has led to the rise of “messy” content, content that feels natural, relaxed, and real. It’s the content in your photo dumps, it’s the user-generated content on Brand pages, and it’s the seemingly low-effort videos that go viral. Let’s get our hands dirty and dive deeper into the messy content trend.


Perfecting Messy

TikTok trend forecasters like @SocialJoy are spotlighting messy content as the predominant theme for the rest of 2023. It is a style of content that is carefree without being careless. There is a method to the seeming madness that takes a structured, yet casual approach to content creation. It is a fine blend of authenticity and intention. It’s content that moves away from perfectionism and towards relatability. It feels intimate in a public setting. It’s what users crave after years of buttoned-up, hyper-glamourized photo flexes.


@socialjoy Audiences are craving authenticity, realness and a sense of IDGAF from brands – so give them what they want by testing out messier, more fun content on your page! ⁠ #tiktokhack #instagramtips #tiktoktips #contentcreatortips #growonlinebusiness #growoninstagram #trendpredictions #tiktokstrategy #instagramstrategy #contentideas #contentcreator ♬ Strangers – Kenya Grace


High Value, Low Effort

Content that succeeds online adds value in the form of education, entertainment, and/or inspiration. Value does not necessitate refined visuals, and messy content proves this. Messy content is not devoid of value. It’s not thoughtless. It’s purposeful. It may not be as pretty, but it’s certainly not as staged. Most importantly, messy content adds value by destigmatizing personal expression and encouraging free-flowing shares. It is the reason rough-around-the-edges reels and candid shares go viral. Rather than trying to be something they’re not, users are trying to connect by being themselves.


@courtney..johnson Why most brands suck on social media, from a seasoned social media consultant #socialmedia #marketing #marketingtips #marketingtok #branding ♬ original sound – courtney johnson


Low-effort content embraces choppy edits, iPhone photography, pixelated freeze frames, and messy backdrops. It’s not a complete abandonment of effort. Rather, it’s the abandonment of visual perfection. Messy content is the equivalent of the no-makeup makeup look: there is a process required to achieve that unprocessed look. However, it is not so extreme that it would be considered high effort. It is effortless in the sense that it embraces organic expression and non-judgment. It’s the reason Creators like Alix Earle are at peak popularity.


@alixearle Airport for breakfast & dinner 🫶🏼👍🏼 #packwithme #travelvlog ♬ original sound – alix earle


Unmasking Authenticity

Authenticity is synonymous with originality. It is about conforming to oneself rather than the trends of the time. Paradoxically, authenticity is now trending. Luckily, no one can do it better than you, as no other version of you exists. By collectively dropping our masks, we reveal that despite our differences, we all share the same humanness. It is the human element that people crave, that has made messy content a trend, and that has encouraged Brands to become more relatable and less corporate.


@juliafoxDying my hair using manic panic in the color red passion♬ original sound – Julia fox


Embrace Photo Dumps

Photo dumps are a casual collection of photos typically shown in a carousel post on Instagram. It’s a content style that appears to be uncurated given the lack of connection between each frame. However, every photo shared is an intentional choice by the user and reflective of moments only they were privy to. It bears a conceptual resemblance to a physical photo album, but the content is a lot less rigid. Low-pressure posts are a fantastic way to inject personality, realism, and lightheartedness into Creator and Brand pages alike.



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Showcase User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) has been a popular content format for some time now. It has also become a leading content strategy for Brands looking to connect with their target consumer authentically. As the name suggests, UGC is any content created by consumers that promotes a product or service organically. It is not typically commissioned by the Brand and is almost always submitted by users. Because it is not forced, staged, or prompted, it functions as a form of social proof, or word-of-mouth marketing, that amplifies Brand credibility and awareness. Because it is not produced by or in a studio, the low-res, off-the-cuff capture has made this candid content style a social media mainstay.


@houseofsunny Say hey 👋🏽 to the AUTUMN STARTER PACK #fallfashion #bikerjacket #starterpack ♬ UK RAP plus HOUSE – KARMA


Create Authentic Content With Glewee

Unleash your creativity, unlock your authenticity, and get “messy” with Glewee. Home to Brands all over the world and Creators across social media, Glewee connects both for successful social media partnerships. As a Brand on Glewee, you can launch unlimited campaigns and an unlimited number of pre-vetted Creators. You can also source your UGC directly from Glewee Creators and retain usage rights in perpetuity. To discover the many tools and talent Glewee has to offer, sign up for a free account and forever access to the leading all-in-one influencer marketing platform today.

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