Dive Into These Social Trends to Shape Your 2024 Strategy
Every November, I get pumped up to dive into the biggest anticipations for social media in the new year. This year, though, predicting what’s coming next for social media feels a tad like diving into a cloudy, troll-infested pool from a 50-meter platform.
2023 was one of the rockiest I’ve experienced in my seven-year social media management tenure. Twitter disbanded and evolved into the link-free, checkmark-scattered abyss of controversy we now call X. At the same time, LinkedIn seemed to put its algorithms on shuffle and opened its AI-guided contributor strategy to the masses, redefining what it means to be a thought leader on the professional-facing platform. TikTok Shop became the new kingdom for impulse buys, and Instagram abandoned its hashtag dependency in favor of keyword search navigation. Some platforms have introduced subscription models that promise enhanced user experiences to those willing to shell out a fee, fragmenting what was once a universal shared media experience.
So, yeah. It’s been quite a year.
When I wrote my 2023 predictions piece, I couldn’t have foreseen this circus. That said, I did get many things right in my attempt to see the future. My track record gives me confidence that my anticipations will help bolster social media success for the new year. So, put your floaties on: Here are the trends and forecasts guiding my 2024 social plans.
Social Search Will Abolish Hashtag Flooding
For folks who have managed social for a while, hashtags becoming irrelevant is bittersweet. But, to maintain an effective social strategy and engage with customers, recognizing social search as a core strategy driver is an essential transition. With added search engine functionality across social platforms, 80% of consumers increasingly seek products, solutions, and trends on social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram.
In 2024, consumers will continue to abandon their hashtag searches and begin to navigate platforms like a search engine. This shift presents a massive opportunity to marketers and content creators: Hootsuite reports that implementing SEO keywords into Instagram captions drove 30% more reach and higher, more consistent engagement than hashtags. While a search-optimized social strategy benefits users looking for content and helps drive engagement, the transition will also give social media professionals valuable data that helps them get to know their audience, gauge consumer demand, and enhance their visibility with performance-driving keywords – similar to how we use SEO to garner performance insights.
“TikTok Made Me Buy It:” The Social Commerce Expansion Will Continue
As I mentioned, e-commerce is finding a permanent home on social media platforms. In 2024, I anticipate an even larger bump in in-app purchases and buyer persuasion tactics. The benefit of social commerce is that it allows users to shop for products directly from social media apps without navigating to external websites. It’s streamlined and seamless, and the data and algorithms that personalize content recommendations can also be factored into product advertising strategies. Businesses can optimize their social media selling strategies by creating shoppable posts, offering exclusive in-app deals, and simplifying checkout with third-party social media integrations.
The continued growth of social commerce in 2024 will once again lean heavily on user-generated content (UGC) – a slow-burn trend that exploded in 2023. Prioritizing authentic, relatable product recommendations, this trend is a proven purchase decision driver. I anticipate that more daily users will enter their influencer era and explore how they can earn commission by sharing product endorsements, testimonials, unboxings, and tutorials on their social media accounts. Brands should be prepared to react to this shift, exploring how endorsements and feedback from everyday users can help them bolster their sales strategy.
AI – and Humans – Will Drive Personalization
Hyper-personalization has a chokehold on the marketing industry, and it’s not letting up its grasp in 2024. Especially with more AI-driven social media tools designed to support tailored content creation, 90% of consumers now expect and demand personalized content experiences. The rise in predictive algorithms that enhance user experiences will continue to be pivotal in driving sales in the new year, and I expect AI and data tools will become more central to social targeting strategies.
Even though AI is smart, it’s not a social media expert. Humans will still be the core driver of audience research and engagement. But, complementing social strategies and deployments with AI as a tool can make personalization a lot more impactful. From automating schedules and dissecting complex user analytics to brainstorming precise personas across demographics, AI tools will support more social media teams in creating stronger, more dynamic and impactful content that curbs cravings for customization in 2024.
Accessibility Finally Becomes More Accessible
In recent years, discussions around social media accessibility have gained attention from the mainstream. Now that we’re moving in the right direction as a profession, social media managers must commit to prioritizing inclusive design and accessibility in 2024. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s also essential to remain relevant. At least one billion people live with some form of disability. Brands that do not optimize their social media accessibility will risk missing out on reaching their potential audience and may also find they’ve hurt their reputation.
In 2024, social media managers should audit their social media practices and content strategies to identify exclusionary practices, learn from their followers, and adjust their tactics to prioritize accessibility better. Doing so will open more opportunities to engage with the full breadth of an audience. The good news is that it’s never too late to start creating more accessible content, and popular platforms like X and TikTok have made it easier for social media marketers to choose accessible features when deploying content – like auto-generated video captions, voiceovers, alt-text editing options, and more.
Make a Social Media Splash in the New Year
While the 2024 social media landscape is drenched in uncertainty, anticipating the trends driving success will keep brands afloat. The most essential part of mastering these trends will be committing to a human-first approach: Knowing how your audience is navigating the waters and offering them what they want, how they want it. If you’re not sure how to keep your head above the horizon, take the plunge with Caster. We’re experts at riding the wave – using a combination of analysis, intuition and flexibility to design ironclad social strategies year after year.