Social Media Insights
5 social media trends for 2024 you need to know
There's no getting away from it: A consistent social media presence is a prominent feature of most marketing strategies. It's vital for reaching new customers, engaging with your current ones, and growing your brand.
But new social platforms seem to pop up all the time. And with endless new feature releases and algorithm updates, it can be overwhelming.
Businesses who have learnt how to make social media work for them know where to focus their own efforts.
They know which platforms and tactics to channel their energy into, and what works best for their audience. They also know which activities are nothing more than a time suck that brings no results.
With these things worked out, 2024 will be the year for brands to key into strategies that will move the needle. Let’s dig into the 5 key social media trends for business you need to know as we move into the new year.
1. Be picky with what you get AI to do
It’s great for the ideation stages. So, you can delegate the brainstorming and planning stages of your content creation. Whether this be creating social media assets or blog post writing.
But you shouldn’t use it for the full and final draft. It’s not always accurate on facts, and the tone is often very generic, with a formulaic structure.
2. Be consistent
Make sure your entire team is singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to the use of AI for your content.
Get policies and rules thrashed out for when and how you use it. The last thing you want is for unedited AI output to be published.
3. Understand your audience
Like with all areas of marketing, you need to start with your audience:
- How do they feel about AI?
- Do they use it?
- Do they dislike it?
- Mistrust it?
Once you know this, you can make informed decisions about how much you use it.
One thing we know for sure is that AI isn't going anywhere. It's got the potential to be an incredibly useful tool. But we need to fully understand how it works, how to train it and when to use it for it to work for us.
If the content you put out isn’t resonating with your audience, it suddenly doesn’t seem like such a great time saver. You could end up spending more time reworking poor content than you would have if you’d written it from scratch.
So, what is user-generated content (UGC)? It's essentially any type of content that your customers create and share about your brand. This can be in the form of:
- Interactions on social media
- Testimonials and reviews
A whopping 95% of buyers read reviews before they spend. UGC posts get 35% more engagement than branded posts on social media. And 45% of people will unfollow a brand if it’s too heavy on the self-promotion.
80% of consumers prefer to see photos shared by real customers rather than polished brand images. It’s all about brand authenticity. UGC is great for building trust, growing reach and turning followers into buyers.
And smart brands encourage their followers to share their stories about their experiences. They ask them to share photos and videos and use branded hashtags to create a conversation. It helps amplify their reach and build a strong and loyal community of ambassadors.
Storytelling might seem like a faddy buzzword that has done the rounds these past couple of years, but it’s actually nothing new.
As a marketing concept, storytelling has been around for decades. And every few years it gets repackaged as something new in marketing circles. There’ll be a new take or a fresh angle dreamt up by a clever marketer, to help educate businesses on its power.
But the fundamentals remain the same. Storytelling works because it can:
- Explain abstract concepts in a simple way
- Shape ideas and behaviour
- Motivate and inspire
- Bring people together
- Communicate values
- Create an emotional response
When done well, storytelling makes your audience feel something. And it’s from there they’re inspired to do something. You can use it across all channels and media – not just in written form.
Storytelling lets your audience get to know and trust the people behind the brand. So they can understand the value of what you offer.
Need some help with working out your brand stories and how to use them in your content and social media marketing? Our team of specialists are on hand to help you.
Thought leadership is also useful in boosting your organisation’s perceived authenticity. LinkedIn is particularly good for this. Its algorithm tends to prioritise posts from professionals rather than company pages.
So, having your CEO share a post from their profile that tags the company page can be much more powerful.
Good thought leadership does these three things:
- Educates by sharing expertise, and advice. Positioning the writer as an expert in their industry, and a guide to others.
- Curates and shares useful resources and connections with their audience. Championing other voices in their industry and fostering networks.
- Challenges and questions the status quo. Offering new viewpoints, definitions, frameworks, and success metrics.
When it comes to brand authenticity, never underestimate the power of community engagement. Through community engagement, companies can build relationships with their customer. A surefire way to boost trust and understanding.
A community can be an abstract place where your customers feel they have an emotional connection with your brand. These people follow your content, share your products and posts, and enjoy everything you do.
Communities can come together in more organised ways. These can take shape in online forums, social media followings, hashtag use, social media groups, rewards, and affiliate programs.
A strong community helps build brand awareness and increases brand loyalty. Organisations who cultivate great community engagement find it enhances the overall brand experience. And it improves communication with their target audience.
It’s looking like the idea of “short and snappy is best” for social media is becoming a thing of the past.
When it comes to video, we're seeing a move away from the super-short to those that are between two and five minutes long.
If you're looking for a hint, check out the big social media platforms. They're all increasing their maximum video lengths.
Since it shut down IGTV, the max time for Instagram reels has increased from 90 seconds to a whopping 15 minutes. Premium X (Twitter) users can now upload videos up to 2 hours long. And TikTok is testing a longer video length function with a rollout of 10-minute videos for some creators already in motion.
Users are now looking for answers to their questions on social media. While people do still look to socials for entertainment, they now need brands to go into a bit more depth.
If you’re just getting started with longer video content for social media, here are some tips:
- Create timeless educational content to answer your audience’s questions.
- Include captions in your videos (most users watch on mute).
- Keep videos between two and five minutes in length.
- Create shareable content (look at what’s trending, make sure you add value, tell a story, put an original spin on things).
- Make sure you encourage engagement with calls to action and conversation starters.
While social media platforms aren't necessarily search engines, they do all have search functions. Users can seek out posts on specific topics using the search bar.
Before they commit, people increasingly check out social media for reviews and user-generated content. So social networks respond to this by serving them up the content they search for.
Among Gen Z, social media is overtaking Google as a search engine. And in response to changing habits, brands are optimising their social content for search.
They make sure their written captions, profile descriptions and image alt. text include the right keywords. And they also look at addressing search intent when they create their content.
Relevant and helpful content keeps showing up in social search results. Plus, posts with more engagement will show up higher in results. Another reason for brands to prioritise engagement as part of their social media strategy.
As users favour social media over more traditional search engines, it’s clear why more in-depth, longer form video content is winning out.
Social media is an ever-evolving beast. While we've covered the top social trends we currently predict for 2024, the landscape moves quickly.
We’ll be back in the new year with updates and deep dives, starting with a more in-depth look at AI. So, watch this space!
Need some help with your 2024 digital marketing strategy? We’re here for you. Get in touch today to chat to our team about how we can help with your social media strategy.