Social media is always keeping us on our toes. It’s like a kaleidoscope – always shifting and showing us new patterns. Every year, we see trends popping up that rewrite the rules on how we connect, share, and consume content online. And here’s where the Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey comes into play – it’s packed with insights that shine a light on the latest twists and turns in this ever-changing field.
In this blog, we will dive into the key findings and explore how these trends are sculpting the future of social media. It’s all about understanding the big picture and where we fit in.
Trend 1: AI forces brands to redefine authenticity
In the ever-evolving world of social media, AI has been a game-changer since its mainstream breakthrough in 2022. Analysis of over 15,500 news articles and blogs shows a staggering 550% increase in AI-related discussions from 2022 to 2023. Social marketers are eagerly hopping on board, with organisations planning to significantly ramp up their AI usage for various tasks in 2024 – with a 318% increase for customer support activities and a 260% increase for editing images (as per the Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey).
However, it’s not all smooth sailing. The survey highlights a gap in how audiences perceive AI-generated content compared to marketers’ enthusiasm for it. 62% of consumers are less likely to engage with AI-created content, showing a trust issue. Interestingly, different generations vary in their trust levels, with Gen Z being more open to AI content than baby boomers.
As we move into 2024, the challenge for marketers and brands is to redefine ‘authenticity’ in content creation. It’s less about who or what creates the content and more about the experience it offers to the customer. Understanding your audience’s stance on AI, wisely choosing tasks for AI assistance, and establishing clear AI policies will be key to navigating this new landscape effectively.
Trend 2: The rise of authenticity & transparency
One of the standout trends identified in the survey is the growing importance of authenticity and transparency on social media platforms. Users are increasingly seeking genuine content and are more likely to engage with brands that showcase their true values and practices. This trend is a departure from the polished, curated content that dominated social media in the past and signals a shift towards more relatable and honest communication.
For businesses, this trend means reevaluating their social media strategies to focus on authenticity. Brands should consider sharing behind-the-scenes content, employee stories, and real customer experiences to connect with their audience on a deeper level.
Trend 3: Be where your audience is
In 2024, brands are rethinking their social media strategy, moving away from the daunting task of being everywhere at once. The average social media user logs into seven platforms monthly, posing a significant challenge for brands to maintain a presence across multiple networks. This has become the top ROI concern, as highlighted in the Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey.
Which of the following issues do you think contribute to your organisation’s concern about ROI for social media activities?
The complexity lies in tailoring content to each platform’s unique audience and constantly adapting to new features – a task 58% of marketers find challenging. Consequently, organisations are now using ROI to guide their social media decisions. For instance, while 60% of organisations are on Twitter/X, only a third see a clear benefit, leading to a 7% drop in brand use.
The shift in strategy involves focusing on platforms that offer the best ROI, sometimes even abandoning underperforming ones. This approach prioritises mastering a few key platforms over mediocre presence on many. The key to success lies in conducting a thorough social media audit, engaging in an ROI showdown among platforms, and mastering the art of effective cross-posting. This strategic approach is all about finding and focusing on the platforms that truly work for your brand.
Trend 4: Entertainment fuels the social ROI engine
In 2024, the key to success on social media for businesses is pivoting towards entertaining content. The Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey reveals that after connecting with family and friends, users primarily turn to social media for entertainment. Yet, many brands miss the mark, focusing heavily on self-promotion, which 34% of consumers find off-putting.
There’s a significant disconnect between what brands post and what audiences crave. Nearly half of marketers frequently publish product updates, but this approach doesn’t resonate with audiences seeking engaging content. This misalignment leads to concerns about ROI, as 68% of marketers are worried about the effectiveness of their social strategies.
To truly thrive, brands should embrace entertainment as a core aspect of their social media content. This doesn’t mean a complete overhaul but rather incorporating elements that provide enjoyment, inspiration, or learning. Brands should aim to be more personable and interactive, focusing on building long-term relationships and brand affinity through content that genuinely engages their audience.
To align with audience preferences, brands should actively seek feedback through polls and Q&As, experiment with new content types, and continuously adapt their approach. Social media should be viewed as a long-term strategy for building brand equity, not just a platform for immediate goals. By prioritising authentic relationships and measuring engagements beyond just social metrics, brands can align their efforts with broader business objectives and create more meaningful connections with their audience.
Trend 5: The Importance of Social Listening
Social listening (the practice of monitoring social media channels for mentions of your brand, competitors and product), has gained prominence. This trend underscores the importance of understanding and responding to the conversations happening around your brand.
Marketers can use social listening tools to gain insights into customer sentiment, identify trends, and engage with their audience in a more meaningful way. This proactive approach can help in reputation management and in tailoring content to meet audience needs.
Trend 6: Sustainability & Social Responsibility
The survey also points to an increasing concern for sustainability and social responsibility among social media users. Brands that demonstrate a commitment to these values are likely to resonate more with their audience.
Companies should communicate their sustainability initiatives and corporate social responsibility efforts through their social media channels. This not only helps in building brand loyalty but also aligns with the growing consumer demand for responsible business practices.
The Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey offers a wealth of insights for anyone looking to navigate the complex world of social media. By understanding and adapting to these trends, businesses and content creators can create more impactful and engaging social media strategies.
As we move forward, it’s clear that social media will continue to play a pivotal role in how we communicate, shop, and engage with the world around us. Staying abreast of these trends is crucial for anyone looking to succeed in the digital space.