Social media trends are rapidly changing. With the reformation of Twitter as X, Meta’s Threads launch, and the slow but inevitable drag of the masses away from Facebook and Instagram, it can be challenging for marketers to adjust their SMM strategy and find their core audience again.

The appeal of influencers has remained strong, and they now dominate content marketing. Brand associations and relationships with influencers remain an important asset for businesses.

It’s become increasingly challenging for marketers to know which trends need to be followed, like TicTok, and which channels can be moved away from, like X. Audiences have always shifted and dictated to marketers where they need to meet them; however, the frequency of channel changing has increased, and an annual examination of where online audiences have gravitated is important for optimizing your marketing strategy.

User-Generated Content (UGC) Over Marketing Content

Authenticity is a perception and one that matters to online audiences. Many consumers consider content that is airbrushed, photoshopped, or heavily edited to be inauthentic. Online audiences want ‘real’ experiences and seek ‘genuine’ content. Audiences perceive user-generated content as ‘authentic’.

Audiences are using the internet to find communities to make purchasing decisions. It is the same word-of-mouth marketing that people have relied on since capitalism. People trust their peers more than they trust a brand or advertising, so influencers are valuable as marketing channels.

According to market researchers, consumers are more likely to engage with UGC than with brand-created content. The trend towards UGC and trusting your peers will continue in 2024 and is likely to strengthen amid larger global trends in politics and economics. Understanding how to harness and direct UGC will be essential for many brands.

  • Publish ‘unedited’ or candid content from your workplace or workshop, showing ‘real’ people and ‘real’ experiences.
  • Boost UGC on SM channels with prize offers and giveaways

AI Will Change Marketing

The same way that SM changed marketing, AI will shift the speed and reach of brands. Content creators and marketers who don’t embrace change will fall behind in 2024.

AI tools have improved the speed with which content creators can produce materials. Text-to-image generation, campaign concepts, and post-copy generation tools have given marketing teams the edge.

  • Generative AI will speed up processes.
  • AI needs to find space in marketing strategy as other brands will use it, and those that do not will fall behind.

Generative AI does not need to replace your writing and content creation team – it is a tool that enhances their work; the same way that Photoshop makes a great photo better, AI elevates great copy.

AI can help inspire content creators it can improve the pace of production and take over tedious tasks, like writing product descriptions and other important metadata needed on eCommerce sites.

It is important to remember that AI cannot write like a person. Copy is repetitive, sometimes factually incorrect, and often grammatically incorrect. It is a tool, not a replacement. AI is not capable of human connection, so responses to human queries by AI, such as chatbots, are easily detectable by humans. While it is commonly accepted that AI can fill a gap in customer service channels, it cannot replace human connection – that ever-important component to brand management.

Using AI

AI tools can expedite brainstorming using data-driven suggestions, help automate content repurposing, and optimize content for specific SM channels.

  • Generate fast copy for SM quickly and efficiently.
  • Automate routine tasks such as emailing and scheduling posts.
  • Deliver personalized content and record user activity.

TikTok & LinkedIn Will Gain Momentum

TikTok and LinkedIn will retain large numbers and attract new users, and they should be considered priority platforms when developing your marketing strategy.

TikToc is developing new features that will boost content and advertising. It is also one of the most popular platforms, and as a visual engagement tool, it stands out among other channels.

LinkedIn has also been evolving for professionals, making it a more diverse platform for business users and business leaders.

Other platforms, like Meta and X, have been slowing with rebranding and shifts. Many people who were users of those channels have migrated to other SM platforms because of those changes.

Marketers will need to assess their SM strategy next year to include the channels that have captured the attention of their target audience. This might mean adding your business to newer platforms, such as TikToc, and hiring SM professionals to manage your strategy development and reach.

Reshape Your Social Media Strategy

Changing your SM strategy is essential every year because of how fast things change online. SM engagement and influence is growing, and rather than people understanding how online engagement can be false, users are more likely to trust and engage with what they see or read online than they are to engage with experts or news articles. For this reason, you, as a marketer, must understand how to use SM channels to reach audiences.

  • Use authenticity as part of your strategy.
  • Make UGC an important reference and metric for your KPIs.
  • Learn how to use generative AI.
  • Use influencers and create partnerships with business leaders.
  • Make and share video content that is ‘raw’ and ‘unedited’.

In 2024, the way people engage with social media and how they view businesses connecting using social media will evolve. Meta is now requesting users pay to block ads. TikToc continues to attract new users despite its known data security flaws. LinkedIn remains the only choice for businesses to connect on a dedicated platform. Instagram is becoming increasingly curated and is pulling away from its ‘authenticity’. To select the channels that will benefit your business, check your metrics, assess your target audience engagement, and make use of the tools that will boost your visibility in the coming year.