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Social media trends 2024: Insights to shape your strategy

From Meta’s innovative ad-free subscription launch as a response to European data laws to Elon Musk’s continued criticisms of advertisers on X, 2023 was a rollercoaster year for social media. But what’s in store for creators and advertisers in the year ahead?

Staying abreast of social media trends goes beyond selecting the latest TikTok song for content. It involves a broader perspective—observing shifts in work culture, consumer behaviours, and the adoption of new tools. The future of social media marketing transcends mere posts; it influences your clientele, team, and overall business landscape, impacting the present and future.

Meta’s astounding resurgence last year, with its share price climbing from shy of USD$125 in January to nearly USD$354 in December, affirmed the enduring allure of social media as an investment, despite significant adjustments post-Apple’s ATT rollout in 2021. Nevertheless, tackling misinformation and hate speech to create a safer space for brands amid user-generated content becomes a pivotal goal in 2024. Otherwise, as Gartner forecasted, 50% of consumers may “abandon or significantly limit their interactions” with social media by 2025.

Keen on anticipating the upcoming shifts and sounding well-versed among peers? Here are the 7 social media trends of 2024.

a phone screen showing the social media apps

Trend #1: Prioritising SGE platforms

So, what’s exactly SGE? 

SGE stands for Search Generative Experience. Essentially, it harnesses AI to promptly address search queries at the top of search results, sourcing information from the web and providing citations. And it’s not just textual data – visual content like images and even YouTube videos are part of these responses.

Websites affected by the recent content update appear less prominently in SGE citations, but their images maintain visibility. Image optimisation? Absolutely, essential for 2024.

Trend #2: X being the ‘Everything App’

Elon Musk’s ambitious vision for X—formerly Twitter—aims to craft an all-encompassing platform akin to China’s WeChat. This envisioned transformation would turn X into a hub for diverse daily activities, from social networking, shopping, and fund transfers to payment services and job hunting. But will 2024 be the defining year for X’s evolution?

Musk’s journey with the platform has been tumultuous. While testing job listings in the US and contemplating X’s potential as a dating app, the platform’s constant alterations in functionality and introduction of pay-to-play features have faced substantial backlash. From charging for a blue verification badge to prioritising premium users’ posts in replies, these moves have gradually alienated its core user base.

For Musk, it’s a strategic financial play. X’s recent ‘not a bot’ test involves charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines a minimum of $1 to sign up—a move aimed at bolstering the platform’s revenue streams.

Whether X truly deserves the fulfilment of its ‘everything app’ wish remains uncertain, but 2024 promises further updates from the social media sphere’s most unpredictable platform.

Trend #3: AI being the show-stopper

Artificial intelligence has been the word-of-mouth this year, and its momentum is poised to accelerate into 2024, particularly in the sphere of social media management. This year is anticipated to be pivotal in unravelling AI’s true potential and its constructive utilisation by both social media managers and platforms.

AI-powered platforms capable of learning from a brand’s social history to generate fresh content ideas, hashtag AI, and generative imagery exemplify how AI can speed up content creation processes. It holds the promise of streamlining workflows and enhancing content development speed.

Nonetheless, AI isn’t devoid of limitations and challenges. Reports indicate potential algorithmic biases in AI systems, which could lead to unjust treatment of specific groups. If this is not brought under control and regulation, can engender issues of bias, privacy, and copyright infringement—particularly concerning AI-generated images and deep fakes in social media.

This gives rise to the question of – Should I use AI?

Much like technology itself, social teams must wield AI responsibly while preserving an authentic and personalised brand voice.

Trend #4: Influencers and content creators

Influencers and content creators continue to wield their dominance over consumer trust, and brands are doubling down on this influential force. Anticipated data suggests a 20% surge in brand investment in influencer marketing throughout 2024, underlining a sustained emphasis in this domain.

Studies show that a striking 50% of Millennials place their trust in influencer marketing, surpassing the credibility bestowed upon their favourite celebrities, which stands at 38%. This dominance of influencers across social platforms shows no signs of diminishing as we venture into the new year.

This trust factor is predominantly attributed to authenticity, with a staggering 88% of Millennials valuing sincerity and relatability in the influencers they follow—an essential blueprint for marketers to navigate.

The focus of platforms on collaborator tools underscores this trend’s trajectory, with platforms emphasising better brand-influencer relationships. LinkedIn, propelled by the Digital Services Act, has introduced a brand partnership tool, while Meta and TikTok have expanded their capabilities to track branded content campaigns within their respective ad libraries.

Trend #5: Brands’ new trust in content diversification

The short-form video has undoubtedly reigned supreme in recent times, captivating both audiences and algorithms. However, as we stride into 2024, the landscape demands a shift in focus—a diversification beyond video. 

The transformation is evident in platforms like Instagram, which have redefined their emphasis, breathing new life into static posts at the expense of hyper-focus on Reels.

The call is clear–embrace a varied array of content types. A well-rounded content calendar should comprise more than just videos. Multi-content carousels and static photo posts are reclaiming their positions alongside videos. Moreover, the essence lies in tailoring content to harmonise seamlessly with each platform’s unique nuances.

Crafting tailored posts for every platform might seem overwhelming. Aim to repurpose content and copy for various platforms. For instance, lengthy LinkedIn polls and posts can be distilled into engaging Instagram Stories with poll stickers.

A quick tip–Schedule your content in advance. This practice ensures the timely release of tailored posts across platforms without the hassle of real-time switching. 

A shoutout to short-form videos!

Short-form videos, typically under a minute in duration, have emerged as a dominant force, pulling 66% of consumers. 

These bite-sized videos are remarkably shareable and boast 2.5 times higher engagement rates compared to longer video formats. Furthermore, 34% of consumers appreciate their greater authentic nature.

The world of social media has wholeheartedly embraced short-form video content. Mastering the art of crafting compelling short videos is becoming increasingly indispensable for success in the ever-evolving landscape of social media in 2024. As your team leader says, explain in brief– you have to obey her on this!

Trend #6: Personalisation remains the key

Personalisation and user-generated content (UGC) are gaining prominence. Audiences seek authentic, relatable content that mirrors their individual experiences and passions. Encouraging UGC not only nurtures the community but also provides marketers with authentic content, elevating brand credibility.

Leveraging data-driven personalisation strategies ensures that content resonates with the intended audience, boosting engagement and conversions.

The tech behemoth Google is spearheading personalisation efforts, integrating these features across its ecosystem. Initiatives like Google Discover’s topic-following capabilities and personalised search results cater to individual preferences, enhancing user experiences.

Trend #7: Threads may have unresolved threads

Instagram’s usage surge across Millennials and Gen Z, as reported by Statista, coupled with Meta’s focused annual Instagram Trend Talk on Gen Z, strongly indicates the platform’s keen interest in this demographic. This upward trend in Instagram usage could potentially signal promising opportunities for Instagram Threads.

However, despite an initial surge in sign-ups, Threads experienced a significant downturn in user engagement and activity, plummeting from 2.3 million active users in July to a mere 576,000 in August—a staggering 79% decrease. This decline can be attributed, in part, to user frustrations with the platform’s functionality, suggesting a possible premature launch. 

While efforts are underway to improve the user experience, lingering questions persist–has this affected the brand’s reputation somewhat?

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This decline, in some ways, was anticipated.

Elon Musk, the owner of X, has openly expressed personal grievances regarding social platforms’ collaboration with government entities during global events like the COVID pandemic, which he deemed exaggerated and unnecessary. Musk’s viewpoints have gradually influenced X’s stance on addressing mainstream media bias, inadvertently driving more users toward Threads. Threads is gradually emerging as a viable alternative to X, especially as Musk’s repeated criticism of mainstream journalists and organisations prompts their shift towards Meta’s alternative.

So, can Threads genuinely challenge X’s dominance?

The likelihood seems plausible. With forthcoming features like DMs and an API, Threads is poised to gather momentum, potentially posing as a partial competitor for X’s audience. 

Trend #8: Rise of LinkedIn’s Thought Leadership Ads

LinkedIn’s latest introduction of ‘thought leadership ads’ presents a remarkable opportunity for brands to amplify employee-generated content, effectively reaching target audiences and increasing the resonance of brand messaging.

Additionally, insights from LinkedIn data underscore the pivotal role of engaged employees in significantly boosting company page interactions and job application rates. 

These ‘LinkedInfluencers’ not only exist externally but are also prevalent within their own companies, a trend LinkedIn seeks to harness. With 80 per cent of LinkedIn’s 900 million members driving business decisions, the platform stands out as the primary social hub for B2B communications and lead generation.

Trend #9: Going nostalgic with nostalgia core

In 2023, it seemed that a ‘core’ trend enveloped everything–from cottage core to millennial core, the spectrum was boundless.

But what exactly defines a ‘core’?

As per Mashable, it’s a term used “to describe shared ideas of culture, genres, or aesthetics, and groups them all into one set category.”

The resurgence of 90s and Y2K fashion among Gen Z signals a trajectory for brands to delve into the nostalgia trend in 2024. Whether it involves curating throwback content or employing ‘vintage’ promotions for product launches, leveraging nostalgia proves to be a potent tool for relatable and impactful marketing strategies.

Be prepared to find a surge in influencers embracing nostalgia-driven content. Even Pinterest, through their annual Pinterest Predicts, forecasts various nostalgic aesthetics like ‘Kitchens’, ‘Give a Scrap’, and ‘Eclectic Grandpa’ in their trends report.

It’s the time to go retro, folks!

The Bottom Line

Statista’s most recent data highlights a staggering 4.95 billion global social media users, with expectations set to escalate this figure to around 5.85 billion users by 2027. But amidst this rollercoaster landscape, is there a trend that’s captured your attention lately? Don’t forget to let us know!

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