If there’s one thing that’s certain this year, it’s that social media platforms will continue to change. Although some things are less predictable than others (who knew we’d say goodbye to the iconic blue bird in 2023?), we are still able to glean a good idea of what social media marketing trends are in store for 2024.
How, you ask? By using informed research and data insights.
While some trends emerge from innovative technological advancements (such as the rapidly growing AI industry), others are a reflection of society and the current ways people like to connect, share, and consume content. It’s important to remember social media trends are not purely the result of decision-makers and those with influence, in fact, it ultimately comes down to us – social media platform users and consumers.
In today’s article, we’ve compiled the top 5 social media trends of 2024. If you want to broaden your social media audience, grow your business, and hit specific goals this year, these are certainly trends worth following.
- Community Over Followers
- Authenticity & Employee Generated Content
- Social Media Platforms as Search Tools
- Leveraging AI
- Entertainment for ROI
Let’s dive into it.
Community Over Followers
Does anyone remember the days of ‘Like for a Like’, and ‘Follow for a Follow’? (for reference, these were social media marketing strategies used to build one’s network by following or liking unknown profiles and hoping they’d follow or like yours in return). Those days are long gone, and for good reason.
The number of followers you have on Instagram or TikTok matters much less these days than having a dedicated and engaged brand community. Having thousands of followers, but very few engagers, is an indication that your following is not genuinely interested in your brand. You want an audience that is there for the right reasons.
So, what is a brand community? A brand community is made up of advocates for your brand: they’re the people who are first to purchase new products, and the ones who will swear by your product or service and recommend it to others.
Nurturing your brand community across different social media platforms this year is an essential way to foster brand loyalty, drive website traffic, and increase customer retention.
Here are some tips for fostering a strong brand community in 2024:
- Reply to comments – No one likes being left on ‘Read’. If you have users engaging in your comment section and asking questions, make sure to respond using a consistent brand voice.
- Try out Broadcast Channels on Instagram – In 2023, Instagram released Broadcast Channels. This allows accounts to have a one-to-many communication channel with their most devoted subscribers. It’s a sure way to connect with your target audience in a more authentic, personalised way and expand your social media presence.
- Create an exclusive forum for your community to connect – Facebook and Linkedin are great platforms for creating exclusive groups for social media users to opt-in to. For example, Canva has a private Facebook group and popular Australian podcast network, Shameless Media, has a Book Club.
Authenticity & Employee Generated Content (EGC)
You might know what UGC, or User Generated Content, is, but have you heard of EGC?
Employee Generated Content (EGC) refers to content created by employees within a business. It is currently the most popular way for businesses to cultivate a brand image that is transparent, authentic, and entertaining in a way that is often more cost-effective than UGC.
If you want to incorporate EGC into your social media strategy this year, we have the following recommendations:
- Leverage platforms that align best with EGC. TikTok and Instagram Reels are a great place to start.
- Start off small, and with the right group of employees. Find someone who is excited to create content and understands social media platforms (pssst, Gen Zs are good at this!)
- Ensure your EGC social media posts are aligned with your values and brand mission statement. It doesn’t need to be obvious, but there should be a reason for everything you post. Double-check the content your employees have created before posting to any social media sites.
- Lastly, remember you’re not creating a Blockbuster movie. There is no need for a full-scale production. In fact, the more ‘human’ and authentic your content is, the more your target audience will resonate with it. Leverage both short form video content and written content.
Social Media Platforms as Search Tools
“In our studies [at Google], something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search… They go to TikTok or Instagram.” – an executive at Google.
It is difficult to imagine what people did before the days of Google. Today, visiting libraries and reading physical books to find the answer to a simple question seems completely alien. Now, the act of using mobile devices to do a quick Google search has become so cemented in our everyday life, that the word ‘Google’ itself has become a verb.
So, why are Gen Zs using social media as search tools?
- Short-form video format is engaging and easily digestible. With attention spans at an all time low, users tend to better engage with content that gets the point across quickly.
- Users trust the content. TikTok has built a space that is for the user. Rather than relying on algorithms like traditional SERPs (search engine result pages), TikTok uses crowdsourced ranking – a user-driven ranking system that helps surface content that the community finds valuable or interesting.
- It’s human. These days social media is less about influencers who boast a million followers, and more about the impact of everyday humans. Platforms like TikTok have democratised opinion-sharing, meaning practically anyone can share their thoughts or tips on any given topic. This makes the content relatable and more believable.
Wondering how your brand can maximise on this trend? Encouraging User Generated Content (UGC) is a great way to maximise the ways in which audiences are more commonly using social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. A popular form of content to consider creating are ‘How To’s’ (such as ‘how to style curtain bangs’ or ‘how to write an invoice’), just make sure that it aligns with your brand.
In saying this, Google is unlikely to be replaced any time soon; it has capabilities that other platforms don’t even come close to providing. Yet, the trends from users on platforms like TikTok can’t be ignored and is definitely something to optimise your content for.
Artificial Intelligence has skyrocketed and become a key technological advancement over the past couple of years. The age of AI is here, and it is here to stay. We don’t know what the next 10 years will hold, but, for the time being, there are many ways to achieve a good balance between authenticity and creativity using AI this year.
For brands and social media marketers, AI can help with generating ideas, copywriting, personalisation, and optimisation. It is also a great tool for increasing efficiency. We are all familiar with Chat GPT, but there are many other AI social media tools available for optimising your workload and content, including Hootsuite, an excellent social media management platform, and Flick, an AI-driven content creation tool.
Whilst AI offers massive possibilities, marketers must also be aware that AI should be used as a foundation, not the whole building. Remember earlier when we talked about authenticity? Keep that in mind when exploring the capabilities of AI: don’t be the one to use entirely AI-generated captions on your social media posts, or to replace real-life photoshoots with a digitally-generated model who has 6 fingers.
Also, beware of whether you’re consuming true or false information. All we’re saying is, the pope probably didn’t really wear a puffer jacket last year!
AI should be used as a tool to assist and improve already-existing processes. It’s here to help you!
Entertainment For ROI
Let’s face it, at the end of the day, we’re all scrolling social media apps to be entertained. We want content that is engaging, makes us laugh, intrigues us, inspires us, and motivates us.
The data backs it up. Hootsuite’s 2024 Social Trends Survey found social media is predominantly used for ‘entertainment and to mentally unwind,’ followed closely by ‘staying in touch with family and friends.’ Similarly, 34% of consumers say ‘too much brand self-promotion’ is a turn-off.
2024 is the year that your content aligns with what audiences actually want to see online. In exchange, you’ll not only capture your audience’s attention and interest but also earn their affection, trust, and ultimately their inclination to convert and become devoted customers. It’s a long term strategy, but it is one that will ultimately pay off if you measure engagement metrics to demonstrate ROI.
This doesn’t mean you should get rid of the selling and promotional content entirely, but it does signify a need to realign priorities and include a balance of content that also serves what audiences really want to see, ie. super engaging posts.
That’s All, Folks
There you have it, Our Top 5 Social Media Trends for 2024! Let’s summarise the key points:
- Focus on fostering an engaged brand community over increasing your followers
- Utilise Employee Generated Content (EGC) on social platforms to demonstrate brand authenticity and transparency
- Take advantage of the way audiences are using social media as search engines
- Use AI in moderation, finding balance between creativity and authenticity
- Entertainment is more interesting than relentless self-promotion, but include a balance of both
As we embrace 2024, the ever-changing social media scene calls for adaptability, creativity and trying new things. Brands and businesses have the potential to thrive by aligning strategies with emerging trends. At the same time, remember to focus on what suits your brand, rather than spreading yourself thin and chasing every trend.
Of course, the easiest way to get started is to say hi! Contact our Client Service Team here – we can’t wait to hear from you.
Until next time,
The Digital Marketing Team at Springboard Digital.