The vision of a new social era
Working with social media specialists, top marketers and industry insiders, Semrush has identified five key social media trends that are expected to be very prevalent across the major platforms in the coming months. Every year, the social media landscape evolves in line with current trends and user preferences, so it’s important to keep up!
Here are the key insights and predictions highlighted in the report to help you streamline your 2024 social media strategy.
Authenticity at heart
Every specialist consulted for the report agreed that authenticity is vital for shaping your audience’s perception of your brand, and social media is the right place to be doing this.
Showcasing the humanity of your brand through sharing real stories and engaging in meaningful conversations helps you build an emotional connection with your customers. Consumers want to see the faces behind messages, including employee insights and real people speaking through video content. Crafting a genuine connection in this way can increase engagement, brand advocacy and loyalty. This is especially prevalent for Gen Z, who boldly favour a more ‘honest’ and ‘real’ online experience.
A great way to boost the authenticity of your brand is to lean into user-generated content. For a long time, it was believed that high-production content would always prevail, but this just isn’t the case for 2024; transparency and honesty are key qualities that consumers want to see in brands.
“Brands feel they must put out very polished, professionally tailored content. However, in most cases, people behind social media management don´t get this trend of looking raw. But it’s okay to look like it was filmed on your phone. That’s what people want to see and relate to.” – Sara Zaccaro, Global Head of Brand Social Media, Publicis.
Content creation is king
Prioritising connection and community in your content and fostering a sense of belonging is key to crafting a genuine and long-lasting social media presence. A great way to capture these emotions is through influencer marketing – but only if executed well!
High-quality content that tells a story sparks feelings of genuine interest and often proves more valuable when striving for authenticity and humanisation. This is still true when the content is produced by a smaller influencer. The days of collaborating with influencers who have incredibly high follower counts purely for their increased reach are coming to an end.
Consumers aren’t blind to the social media marketing world; seeing a big social media influencer discussing a product with #AD in the description immediately gives the impression of business promotion and active social selling, especially if the influencer’s usual content doesn’t clearly align with that of the brand. Whilst this type of influencer marketing can prove effective, it pulls your brand away from the transparent and authentic nature that many consumers yearn for.
“Influencers and brands will be entering into partnerships to make sure the influencer is not only a good fit for their brand, but will also craft content that best aligns with the brand’s goals. I think the days of simply saying ‘That person has a large audience, let’s work with them’ are coming to a close.” – Jon Stansel, Freelance Social Media Manager.
It’s important to build a connection not only with your consumers but with the influencers you partner with too. Establish long-term deals with content creators and allow them to grow alongside your brand.
Branch out to collaborate with content creators across a wide spectrum of personalities to connect with diverse audiences, but make sure that their goals and values align with your brand. Having a few, diverse influencers who truly understand and relate to your brand’s values will produce much better results than having a larger volume of influencers mention your products purely because you’ve paid them to do so.
Generate success with generative AI
You may be getting sick of hearing about AI, but it’s still spoken about so intensely because of the huge impact it’s having on a range of industries, marketing included.
AI isn’t here to take over our jobs, and here are the reasons why:
- AI cannot think creatively and develop unique marketing ideas
- AI doesn’t truly understand emotions and context
- Customers will always appreciate the human touch in marketing interactions that AI simply cannot produce
- AI can assist in data analysis, but only human marketers can properly interpret insights
AI has revolutionised the dynamics of digital marketing. Don’t view it as a threat; look at AI as an asset to help enhance productivity and effectiveness.
“AI tools can be game-changers for marketers. They can expedite the brainstorming process with data-driven suggestions, optimize content for specific channels, and help automate content repurposing across various platforms.” – Lindsey Gamble, Associate Director of Influencer Innovation, Mavrck.
AI has redesigned personalised advertising, with machine learning and pattern recognition creating more effective targeting, resulting in increased conversion rates. AI has also been making waves on social media, with advertising assistance, automated text translations, content generation tools and web chatbots facilitating efficient responses to customers.
The specialists consulted for this report have predicted a shift in AI and social media, with marketers leveraging AI to develop baseline ideas, giving us humans more time to think strategically. We’re heading towards an era of mass-produced social media content that can match the current flow of demand in the digital communication landscape.
Of course, this does not mean that social media marketers should simply mass-produce AI content and slap it online with little other thought. All content should be valuable to consumers and align well with your brand’s values and tone of voice.
Keep up with the constant launch of new AI applications and experiment with new possibilities. But do not neglect human touch and authenticity.
2024’s platforms for success
Optimising your social media strategy on the right platforms can be difficult. You need to identify where your target consumers are, as well as which platforms are performing the best for marketers with the most value for your end goal.
TikTok has seen incredible global popularity with the highest user engagement and retention figures within its field, dominating the short-form video content space, grasping consumer engagement and continuously evolving to provide more for brands. It’s the ideal platform for user-generated content, and it also houses a wealth of influencers in search of relatable brands to work with.
“TikTok is still developing exciting new features and tools for creators, advertisers, and regular users. It will likely focus on ecommerce, generative AI, and search in 2024.” – Matt Navarra, Independent Social Media Consultant.
With a very different purpose to TikTok, LinkedIn is also going to be very important for 2024. It’s positioned itself as the ultimate platform for professional networking, with millions of professionals from diverse sectors. New features are regularly being implemented to support connection and engagement.
Ensuring that those high up in a brand, such as CEOs and thought leaders, have a strong presence on LinkedIn will be vital this next year. Create direct engagement between top executives and potential clients or business partners, whilst increasing the humanisation and transparency of your brand through the platform.
Mastering social media metrics
Engagement is the most important metric for most brands on social media, but it’s something that can’t be bought. You can’t force consumers to engage with your content, which is why creating authentic content that builds a connection is so important. Algorithms will only get smarter as time goes on, favouring content that gets users reacting, talking and sharing. As the social media landscape continues to evolve, experimenting with different metrics will help you identify the best ways to reach your goals.
A/B testing is commonly used to improve websites, landing pages and email campaigns, but in 2024, we’re going to see more A/B testing on social media. Trying out different types of content and messaging can identify new ways to connect with your audience, expanding your reach and opening new opportunities for growth.
“With the rise of dark social, it’s really hard to ‘track’ everything. You need to look at the qualitative data and emphasize asking people where they heard about your brand. Content is being shared across numerous public and private channels and consumed differently.” – Mandy McEwen, Founder of Mod Girl Marketing.
Social media is a vast digital area that is constantly changing and evolving, so it’s important to keep up with the current trends. Here are Semrush’s tips for reshaping your social media strategy in light of the information gathered for this report:
If you want to read the full Semrush Social Media Trends Report 2024 for yourself, download it here.
Need help with your social media strategy? Why not contact a friendly agency to assist you along the journey?