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Social Media Marketing Trends for the Year Ahead

5 Jan 2024 | Digital Marketing, Social Media


Describing how many people spend a significant portion of their day on social media would not be an exaggeration, especially in today’s world.

Social media has become an integral part of people’s daily lives and routines. Some individuals are so deeply engaged with it that the first thing they do upon waking is check their social media feeds.

Recognizing the pivotal role of social media in consumers’ lives, marketers and businesses are increasingly gravitating towards social platforms to connect with their target customers. However, the sheer volume of content on social media, coupled with intense competition, can make it challenging to stand out without a well-defined social media marketing strategy. Staying informed about the latest social media trends can provide the fuel needed to enhance your strategy and distinguish yourself in the crowded digital landscape. In the meantime, here are crucial social media trends to keep in mind for 2024.

1. Crisis Management for Brands and Businesses

Crisis management on social media is becoming increasingly vital. Social media platforms have evolved into rapid information channels, where both minor and major issues can quickly gain traction. Neglecting to address seemingly minor problems can lead to larger crises, potentially causing financial harm and damaging a company’s reputation.

A Twitter-commissioned survey reveals that 61% of respondents believe brands should acknowledge and address crises in real-time through their advertising and communication efforts. Moreover, social media can serve as an effective crisis management tool, helping businesses rebuild trust with their audience. Approximately 81% of respondents feel that social media contributes to improving a company’s accountability. The same report also notes that 89% of people believe that businesses can regain their trust through transparency, which involves acknowledging mistakes and outlining steps to address the issue.

Given how social media is utilised today, both by users and businesses, it has the potential to be a powerful tool for managing and resolving crises.

2. Brand Authenticity Still Wins

Brand authenticity is becoming increasingly crucial as consumer behaviour continues to evolve. Modern consumers demand authenticity from brands, with 60% emphasizing the importance of trustworthiness and transparency as the most critical brand attributes, surpassing other qualities. Sitecore’s recent Brand Authenticity report underscores this trend, highlighting that Americans are seeking deeper, more personal connections with brands.

One way for brands to foster authenticity is by encouraging their leaders to take a more active role on social media. Transparency not only builds long-term trust but also helps consumers maintain their loyalty to a brand, even in times of crisis. For instance, in the same survey, millennial consumers expressed a desire for brands to be more transparent on social media, with 69% wanting a company’s CEO to have a “personal presence” on social media channels. Furthermore, 71% of millennial consumers believe that CEOs can have a positive impact when they are transparent.

When brands focus on building more authentic relationships and deeper connections with their audience, they can reap a range of benefits, including an improved brand reputation and enhanced sales figures.

3. Social Media as Online Shopping Outlets

The use of social media as shopping outlets is expected to remain popular in 2024. In 2022, we witnessed the growing trend of social commerce, allowing social media users to purchase products directly through these platforms. It’s projected that by 2026, global social commerce sales will reach a substantial $6 trillion, and the US is expected to have around 108 million social buyers by 2025.

A HubSpot survey revealed that 22% of social media users made direct purchases through Instagram, with 21% using Facebook for social media shopping.

Social media platforms are quick to embrace this trend. Facebook, for instance, introduced its “Facebook Shops” feature, enabling businesses to create a complete shopping experience with product listings, shopping carts, and direct checkout options. Moreover, businesses can integrate their Facebook Shop with their Messenger account, providing a smoother shopping experience for their audience.

However, the path to success in social commerce may not be entirely smooth. While it presents significant growth opportunities, it may not be a suitable solution for all brands. Before venturing into social commerce, conducting extensive research on your target market and chosen platform is essential to determine their capacity to support social commerce initiatives and scale with your brand’s growth.

4. Short-Form Bite-Sized Content Still Dominates Social Media

In the coming years, it’s anticipated that a majority of online content will be in the form of video. This prediction is significant, considering that 91% of businesses already use video as a marketing tool. However, the focus will be on short-form and bite-sized content. These formats have the potential to generate higher audience engagement and are valuable for marketing and education. According to a report, 73% of people prefer watching short videos to learn more about a product or service.

Bite-sized content, such as short-form videos, allows brands to maintain audience engagement, even in a world where attention spans are shrinking. The average human attention span is now around 8.25 seconds. For instance, Twitter introduced Fleets, a feature similar to Snapchat Stories, where posts or videos disappear after 24 hours.

However, the emphasis on bite-sized content doesn’t imply compromising on quality. Despite shorter attention spans, high-quality content can still break through the noise and captivate your audience. If you’re interested in creating your own short-form video content, you can refer to our quick guide, complete with best practices to help you produce compelling bite-sized content that your audience will appreciate.

5. AI Will Influence Post Recommendations (Facebook and Instagram)

AI is poised to play a significant role in post recommendations on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram in 2024. Users can anticipate more AI-driven content recommendations designed to boost user engagement. Facebook, for instance, is taking steps to display more recommended content on users’ newsfeeds, enabling a discovery experience akin to TikTok’s “For You” page. This integration of AI is expected to enhance the content discovery process on these platforms.

6. Interactive Ads Will Be Favored

Interactive ads are set to gain momentum in the advertising landscape. Extended reality technologies, including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), have created fresh opportunities for engaging users. While AR and VR filters are already popular, these technologies can also be leveraged to provide enhanced shopping experiences through interactive ads.

Such advertising enables users to actively engage with the ad content instead of resorting to ad blockers or ad-skipping. Allowing users to actively participate in these “experiences” increases the likelihood of them engaging with a specific brand or product. Beyond capturing more viewer attention compared to traditional ads, the use of interactive ads can significantly boost brand awareness.

7. Nano and Micro Influencers Will Be In the Mainstream

Influencer marketing is no longer solely about big names on platforms like Instagram or TikTok. While these major influencers may have amassed a significant following, they often come at a high cost, making it challenging for smaller brands to collaborate with them. Moreover, due to their large follower base, engaging with these influencers can be complex.

In line with the trend toward more authentic experiences, today’s consumers are open to connecting with brands and influencers who provide not only value but also authenticity. Therefore, in the coming years, brands are expected to increasingly partner with nano- and micro-influencers. Despite having smaller followings, nano- and micro-influencers often boast higher engagement rates. For instance, nano-influencers typically have an average engagement rate of 3.69%, surpassing that of macro-influencers.

As brands pivot towards a more “community-led approach,” nano- and micro-influencers are likely to take center stage in the world of influencer marketing. This shift reflects the growing demand for authentic and relatable content creators, even if they have smaller audiences.

8. Human-Centric Approach Will Be Prominent

User-generated content gained significant traction in 2022, with brands like Daniel Wellington and Dove encouraging their audience to participate in their campaigns and create their own content featuring the brand. This trend is likely to expand further in the upcoming year, with brands harnessing the human touch to foster authenticity and drive engagement.

As brands become more interactive, we might witness a shift toward a more “relaxed” approach to audience engagement. For instance, brands may adopt more conversational tones and strive to make their image more relatable and accessible to their target audience, departing from the meticulously curated image that audiences are accustomed to seeing. This approach reflects a growing emphasis on authenticity and human connections in marketing.

9. Gaming as an Alternative to Social Media Platforms

The gaming industry is on track to reach a substantial market value of $312 billion by 2027. This growth is attributed to various factors, including people seeking new forms of entertainment and social connection during lockdowns. The rising popularity of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) games also plays a significant role in the industry’s expansion.

While the gaming industry is not expected to replace social media platforms due to its immense size, it does offer ample opportunities for brands to stimulate social interaction and community engagement. Although no definitive path has been established yet, we may witness brands increasingly tapping into the potential of the gaming industry to foster social interactions and engagement.

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