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5 top social media trends for 2024

Social media done well is your absolute best shot at getting even closer to the most important people for your business

By embracing today's social media trends, you'll open a direct line of communication with your everyday audiences, channeling both positive and negative feedback from your customers, colleagues, competitors, and other voices in your brand's social ecosystem.

As of 2024, 62.3% of the world's population uses social media. This represents 8% YOY growth, which doesn't look to be slowing down. So, the public and connected nature of social media today helps us shine an even brighter spotlight on our brands. It's like digital PR on speed.

But it's no secret that consumers and advocates are becoming more aware, and demanding, in terms of their social experiences of our brands too. That's why it can help to turn to the biggest social media trends of 2024 to inform our strategies.

We've contacted a group of influencers to get their insights on the latest trending social media techniques to boost social media campaigns and always-on digital presence.

What do the current trends on social media mean for marketers in 2024?

At Smart Insights, we practice an integrated approach to social media planning. For example, our dedicated digital marketing trends blog covers an omnichannel funnel of digital messaging, media, and experience.

As such, our own 2023-24 digital marketing strategy uses social media to add value to journeys that help us 'win' (and understand) fans. You can download your free copy of our digital marketing plan template if you haven't already, which includes guidance on social media usage across an integrated marketing funnel. But keep reading to start applying these top 5 social media trends today.

Across our top 5 identified social media trends shaping the future of our digital relationships is one common theme - All focus on putting humans back at the centre of your marketing strategies.

#1 Raw content

Raw authentic content prevails! Not every piece of content needs to be overly produced. Sometimes it's best to keep it as a diamond in the rough. It shows the content is authentic and honest.

Social media users are now switched on and understand the online world can present a fantasy image, meticulously manufactured. It's lost its meaning.

Brands should reveal the people behind the organisations. These team players are gaining a voice and sharing what matters to them. It can be an impromptu monologue filmed in the car after a meeting or a behind-the-scenes tour.

Audiences don't want constant sales posts. They want emotive content that makes them laugh or gasp with surprise! You'll show your brand has a real heart that can be connected with.

#2 The continued rise of authentic creator content

The popularity of TikTok and Instagram will continue to grow in 2024. Data indicates that Instagram is predicted to increase its users by 50 million in 2024, to 1.4 billion. Whilst TikTok is expected to increase its user base by 8%, to 900 million.

Both platforms thrive on creativity, entertainment, and short-form content. And influencers and creators are at the heart of the most innovative content being shared. One of the main reasons for the popularity of creator content is that it is fun, different and authentically human.

Although AI will give brands an opportunity to innovate and experiment across social media, people crave content that resonates with them and their communities.

In 2024 we will see a boom in creators and influencers that demonstrate a real creative flair and point of difference. Brands that partner with creators will benefit from their unique content that can reach distinct audiences and engage people in new ways.

#3 Social collaboration

Maintaining organic reach despite ever-declining visibility in the feed is a challenge. The solution is simple: Collaboration.

Instead of thinking of social media as a way to promote, re-imagine it as a way to develop relationships with the public, your fans, your customers, and, yes, even your employees.

Leverage the voices of others in these new mediums by trying to post as much user-generated content that is as relevant to your brand as possible.

In doing, so not only will your content needs be met, but you will also gain increased visibility and trust in your brand.

#4 Social search

Social media is the new search engine. Today, Tiktok is the #1 search engine for more than half of Gen Z. So, what's the appeal of social media for searches? Speed and quality. People are captivated by bite-sized, hyper-specific, user-generated videos.

To ensure your content is easily discoverable on these platforms, keywords remain crucial. Amplify your reach by optimizing titles/captions and using relevant hashtags. Tools such as AnswerThePublic and AlsoAsked can be invaluable in spotting edutainment opportunities.

#5 AI for social listening

As AI prevails in our industry, much of the recent focus has been on generative AI, such as ChatGPT.

Meanwhile, social listening, fueled by machine learning, enables marketers with unprecedented levels of customer insights and market data in real-time. So, it's never been easier to tap into what your customers actually want to hear from you! Start here.

TLDR: Listening to your audience before your technology means you'll avoid scenarios like this...

To unleash AI for social listening I recommend:

Which social media platforms are the most important to watch for current trends?

If you're reading this blog, that shows you already understand how important it is to keep up with the latest social developments.

But, with the sheer number of channels and platforms available, it can be hard to know which to prioritize within a focused digital marketing strategy. You can't do it all!

If you need more help defining your scope, or getting buy-in for a digital marketing strategy at your company, don't miss our 10 reasons you need a digital marketing strategy.

Smart Insights Business Members can use our quarterly digital media updates tracker to review the latest changes. This resource saves you time and mental energy as we regularly check for updates for you across 12 major digital and social media platforms.

As well as getting a top-level briefing of what these changes mean, you'll also get our advice on when/how to act to stay one step ahead of the curve with:

  1. Google: Organic/SEO

  2. Google Ads

  3. Google Analytics

  4. Facebook

  5. Instagram

  6. Threads

  7. TikTok

  8. LinkedIn

  9. Twitter / X

  10. Pinterest

  11. YouTube

  12. Snapchat

How does AI influence social media trends in 2024?

This year we have seen AI marketing trends offering new and exciting ways for marketers to efficiently execute and optimize their social and other marketing activities.

At Smart Insights, we've been using the RACE Framework to structure marketing since 2010, and this chart with Machine Learning, Propensity Modeling, and AI App opportunities was first created in 2017.

Using RACE here is a helpful model for planning your MarTech in a sensible way as it shifts the focus from what the technology can do to what the objective of the technology usage actually is. This can be useful for sharing with colleagues too and managing expectations.

As we know from the social media trends above, all our marketing (not just social) needs to start with the end user. Technology has so many wonderful benefits for marketers, as long as we remember the purpose of our digital media, messaging, and experience. This theme is backed up by 5 expert trends. Can you think of any others? Don't hesitate to get in touch!

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