Around a decade ago, a little under a billion people were on social media- globally. Today, this number has tripled, with social media usage as of 2023 averaging over 4.5 billion. Besides the growing user base, other trends continue to shape what social media means to modern users.
Modern social media platforms aren’t simply avenues users go to keep up with family and friends or have casual conversations. The platforms are a gateway to valuable information, a trend that’s unlikely to slow in the foreseeable future. This makes social media a valuable marketing tool brands can hardly ignore.
Let's just take a look at the recent stats on the time spent. The numbers say that people spend a considerable amount of time browsing social media platforms which means people are engaged:
Brands, marketers, and social media users benefit greatly from the platforms. For brands and content creators, keeping up with social media is a battle they can’t slack on. If you are in that category, you must keep up with emerging trends and pick those that are a must-have for your strategy. If you don’t, you’ll lag and lose considerable followers. Such impacts mean your social media campaigns will yield little or no results. Herein, we’ll examine seven trends to watch out for in 2024.
1. User-Generated Content (UGC) Remains Popular
UGC’s popularity has steadily risen in the recent past. It has proven to be a powerful tool, significantly attributed to the social proof it provides. Users prefer content created by other users over branded content. UGC acts much like word of mouth from other users rather than the traditional branded content that often tends to be salesy.
Since UGC is more authentic than branded content, it enhances a brand’s credibility. UGC fosters trust, and brands can easily win more followers and enjoy better engagements with their audience. The content facilitates meaningful and deeper connections with the audience, allowing you to amass huge and connected followers.
It's proven that user-generated content helps in the customer journey and affects purchase decisions:
Encouraging your audience to generate UGC for such authentic experiences doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Brands and marketers can leverage measures like running contests, creating catchy hashtags, or asking for reviews. UGC is all about leveraging the power of peer recommendation, a trend worth watching in 2024 and beyond.
2. Authenticity is a Key
Promotional content has gradually lost its kick. Users demand more relatable, transparent, and genuine content. Instead of pushy ads, brands must focus more on creating content that offers value. This means creating relatable content that tells the brand's story and values. The content results in genuine interactions with the target audience. The interactions help build trust and confidence in a brand. This helps grow a community of loyal followers who trust and identify with a brand. It is a recurring theme that has and will still dominate in 2024 and beyond.
3. Social Media and AI (Artificial Intelligence) Work Together
AI adoption continues to hit new highs across all fields, and social media hasn’t lagged. AI technologies have proved valuable for social media managers, providing notable support in diverse operations. AI-powered chatbots are quickly becoming the norm as LLM’s (large language model) capability to deliver human-like interactions hits new levels. This redefines the automation landscape as personalization levels improve, which will only improve in 2024.
Here are several ideas on how social media and AI can work together for maximum impact in 2024:
AI technologies offer much more, including generating campaign concepts, personalized content, and images. The technologies also provide analytics that help track and adjust campaigns. The improved efficiency and effectiveness from improved personalization, analytics, and higher automation levels mean you can expect more innovative AI uses in social media marketing in 2024. This is more so with the advancing immersive technologies making their way into social media.
4. Content Creators Gain in Popularity
Content creators and influencers' collaborations have had great success. Influencers and content creators often have a large and usually engaged following. Brands collaborate with them to reach a niche audience. Content creators are invaluable assets for brands since they provide access to an audience that would otherwise not be easily reachable.
Content creators’ high-quality, engaging, and relatable content makes it easier for brands to reach and influence the audience, tipping them in the brand’s favor. The access is rewarded through sponsorship and other benefits per the collaboration terms. Content creators will gain more popularity in 2024 as brands strive to capture a broader audience in the growing social media user base. This is more so as more creators continue to emerge by the day, curving out diverse user demographics that interest diverse brands.
Let's take a look at the data from SproutSocial. It says that content creators are in demand and make good money:
The collaboration opportunities are endless, providing a win for everyone. Content creators’ followers get to discover more brands, marketers reach a wider audience, and the content creators enjoy the rewards the brands provide.
5. Vertical Content Delivers Results
Vertical content like reels and videos are ergonomically sound. Among the top reasons channels like TikTok continue to attract a huge user base is because their algorithms favor vertical content. Users don’t have to rotate their phones to engage with the content. With the ever-rising mobile device preferences, vertical content is necessary for brands looking to amass a notable user base.
Vertical content provides a positive user experience, making winning more eyeballs easier and keeping them hooked to your social media content. Besides the content format favoring mobile device users, laser targeting your content is essential. Many social media networks support this content type:
It means marketers should focus more on creating highly relevant content that resonates with their target audience. Such content is more engaging and improves qualified lead generation and conversion rates. Vertical content is all about providing the right content the right way, which delivers results considering the high engagement rates.
6. Social Media Video Content Dominates
Textual content has dominated the online landscape for years, but this is quickly changing. Videos are now the most popular type of content across all content marketing strategies. The popularity is attributed to the more engaging and sharable nature of videos. It is among the top reasons videos are dominating and skyrocketing growth of platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Brands can deliver compelling brand stories, take users behind the scenes, and use live-streaming sessions to develop more authentic relationships with their target audience.
Videos can significantly boost a brand’s social media marketing efforts. The sharable content can quickly go viral, enhance brand awareness, and, with a consistent flow, build a notable community around a brand. The best part is that there are limitless ways to incorporate video content in social media strategies, including user-generated content like testimonials and reviews for social proof. Videos are already dominating the social media scenery, and the trend will stick in 2024.
7. Social Shopping Has More Advantages
Social shopping entails users buying directly within social media platforms. This means brands won’t have to re-direct the traffic to their online store. The main takeaway is that users will enjoy a seamless shopping experience.
As social media platforms strive to keep up with users' preferences, they’ll have to roll out more tools and features to facilitate smooth social shopping. This is a win-win for brands and users. The users enjoy convenient shopping, while brands can improve their sales through a more personalized social shopping experience. The increasingly popular trend is worth watching in 2024, ensuring you take advantage of emerging features and tools to offer customers a great social shopping experience.
Above are a few social media marketing trends every brand should watch out for in 2024. Nonetheless, you must remember that the social media field is dynamic. Keeping up with the rapidly evolving trends can prove overwhelming, but it is critical. Among the hacks that can help you stay on top of the game is keeping an eye on platform updates, emerging technologies, and user behavior.
Using platform updates ensures you don’t miss out on innovative features. The technologies empower you to enhance efficiency. Above all is the user behavior. You must adjust if your content isn’t appealing to your target audience. Even with the best features, you must keep up with user behaviors to ensure your content resonates with their needs and preferences. The trends only help you to optimize your strategy to distribute, reach, and engage users.