Olivia Scudder, Author at Richmond & Towers
7th February | Olivia Scudder back

R&T TRENDS & INSIGHTS: WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL MEDIA PREDICTIONS FOR 2024?

As a PR and social media agency, we were living and breathing the innovations and shifts in the digital landscape in 2023. From Twitter’s bold rebrand to X, the use of CGI technology to create memorable campaigns, and the launch of Threads, numerous changes have made waves in the ever-evolving world of social media. Now, as we stand with the new year before us, the question that looms is: what’s in store for 2024? Let’s dive in to our top 10 social media predictions, alongside insightful tips, shared by industry experts for the year ahead.

THE RISE OF DARK SOCIAL MEDIA

Brace yourselves for a surge in news distribution through dark social media channels. Enter WhatsApp, currently the third most popular social media platform in the world, ahead of both Instagram and X. As a form of dark social media, content within it isn’t trackable by marketers, search engines and the public – making it a very appealing means of communication. In the upcoming year, anticipate brands harnessing this platform beyond the realms of conventional direct messaging and customer service. And, industry leaders foresee Meta, the tech giant, setting its sights on monetising WhatsApp.

LISTENING MORE

Sound plays a pivotal role in the social media landscape. TikTok, self-proclaimed as a ‘global entertainment platform,’ competes head-on with YouTube and Netflix. Here, brands are collaborating with musicians and influencers within the music industry, who are relatable to their audiences. We can also expect a surge in voiceovers, enhancing the personal and inclusive appeal of ‘day in the life’ and ‘how-to’ videos. Podcasts, while not a new phenomenon, will maintain their dominance, offering brands an intimate space for connecting with audiences through subject matter, experts and thought leaders.

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT REACTIVITY

Brand community management is on the rise, set to be a key player this year in bringing to life a brand’s personality and culture. Expect an emphasis on fostering meaningful two-way interactions. Brands will continue to ride trends, offering their unique commentary while maintaining a distinct tone of voice. Take, for instance, Deliveroo’s recent play during the darts hype on X: ‘if Luke Littler wins tonight, one person who likes this tweet will win a free Kebab’ – a savvy and delicious move. Get ready for more clever brand interactions in 2024.  

THE RISE OF INFLUENCER VALUE EXCHANGES

As the two-way relationship between brands and influencers evolves, adaptability is key. Looking ahead to 2024, brands must redefine their value proposition to maintain a thriving relationship with influencers. According to industry leaders, brands should always be offering payment and tagging, but on rarer occasions, should consider new value to the influencer, such as newsletter inclusion, blog content and media interviews, with them as the spokesperson.

ATTENTION BASED METRICS AND IMPACT ON CONTENT

If you’re still with us, kudos! Shorter attention spans are the norm, and concise videos and snappy edits are dominating on social media platforms. Case in point: the popularity of abrupt edits, demonstrated by the Kardashian kids’ content on TikTok. In 2024, it’s crucial for brands to delve into attention-based metrics and forget vanity values, like followers; focus on what truly works for your brand. The future of effective content lies in understanding and adapting to the evolving dynamics of audience attention.

WATCH OUT FOR GEN ALPHA

You’ve navigated the eras of Millennials and Gen Z, and now, brace yourselves for the rise of Gen Alpha – the post-2012 generation set to rock the boat in the social media sphere. This year, brands must anticipate the content that resonates with them. In the context of the current trend of ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ for 2024, let’s discuss the year ahead. What we need to keep ‘in’ our strategies for this year is continuing to focus on cultivating brand relationships through talent collaborations, alongside a rise in worldbuilding and gaming content on social platforms. Bid farewell (the ‘outs’) to mindless sharing of branded content (it lacks engagement) and relying solely on Instagram for your brand’s social media presence. Brands looking to capture the attention of Gen Alpha must prepare for a strategic shift in their social media approach as they navigate the future landscape.

BRAND REPUTATION MATTERS

This year, brands should start shifting their focus inward and not look too far for voices to represent them. Amplifying internal perspectives from inside your brand is key, and people love hearing from those voices behind the brand. SheerLuxe is currently setting the trend with their team-driven and trendy TikTok content – we love hearing the teams’ favourite homeware accessories, the perfume they’re currently wearing and viral beauty products worth the hype. Yet, on a more serious note, this is the case for those at all levels within your company – a report by Brunswick shows that people trust a CEO who uses social media up to nine times more than one who does not. LinkedIn is to continue to grow in strength and be an ideal place for developing the profiles of business leaders, establishing your brand’s authority within its field and lead conversations. 2024 is the year we should be tapping into the strength of our teams, who are right on our doorstep, and amplify our brand’s visibility. Case in point: picture us, Richmond & Towers, a brand engagement agency – we want to continue to amplify our brand’s visibility and reinforce our commitment to responsible business practices this year. So…after earning our B Corp certification in 2023, we’re proud to be the UK’s first PR and social media agency achieving both B Corp status and 100% employee-ownership. This sets us apart, and we’re excited to shout about it with lots of content on our social channels this year, where our team will dive deeper into our B Corp journey and share more about what makes us unique! The spotlight is turning inwards for brands, and we’ll be tapping into the strength within.

TIKTOK WILL CONTINUE TO DOMINATE

Having taken the social media world by storm, TikTok remains an undeniable force. With over one billion daily video views, its growth is not slowing down. And, it’s appealing to all. Nearly half of Gen Z opts for TikTok and Instagram over Google for search, while 24% of users are aged 35 or over. In 2024, brands are urged to embrace creative bravery on the platform, proudly showcasing their uniqueness, culture and what makes you different – to stand out from the (very crowded) crowd.

LONGFORM CONTENT

Switching gears from the fifth prediction, one industry leader says we’re in for a boom in longer social media content. TikTok revealed that its users spend half their time watching videos longer than a minute, which is mainly due to the sheer wealth of shorter content that is easier to skip. Besides, over one billion videos are watched on the app every day, so the competition is fierce. It’s important to remember that for content creators, only videos over a minute long are available for monetisation, hence their increasing popularity. Brands, listen up! This year, consider creating longer content that is entertaining, educational or instructional, but, and a big BUT, only do it if you can do it well – stick to shorter content if not. Quality over quantity!

RESHAPING SEO PRACTICES & THE DIGITAL LANDSCAPE

Artificial intelligence, the mastermind reshaping the digital landscape. In the SEO game, it’s set to be a game-changer this year. Brands incorporating AI for user engagement within their websites are predicted to be the ones on top. But, the synergy between AI and SEO is more than a trend for the year ahead; it’s a transformative shift in the way brands will optimise their online presence. Whether through personalised recommendations, chatbots providing instant assistance, or content tailored to individual preferences, brands will be adopting strategic uses of AI for user engagement.   If you want to find out more, or discuss options for your brand, please get in touch!

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