The world of 2023 social media has been nothing short of a wild ride. From channel rebrands to whole new platforms, the movement’s kept us on our toes – and that’s before even considering how AI’s gone mainstream.
But our team of digital, social and influencer experts at Brands2Life have handled it all like champs, and they’re already looking forward to what 2024 might bring. After all, there’s no sign of social slowing down, and I think some key trends will have a big part to play in that…
If influencer partnerships have taught us anything this year, it’s that vanity metrics aren’t everything. Of course, if a creator has a huge following that could be great for business, but only if their audience is engaged and the relationship is genuine.
This may pose a problem as AI-generated content rises in popularity. Sure, it makes content creation faster (and cheaper), but it should be used to enhance rather than replace. If AI-created content crosses that line, we’ll see a lack of authenticity spread as it’s often pretty clear what’s been generated by human or machine. And if influencers lean on AI too much, this could result in a loss of trust and credibility, which can damage both their and any associated brand’s reputation.
People can spot inauthenticity a mile away, so 2024 influencer partnerships must come naturally – and this will likely see a rise in nano-creator brand content. This might not see campaigns reach huge numbers, but those that engage will be the right people – valuable customers – and that’s what matters. In fact, Instagram influencers worldwide with less than 10,000 followers have the highest engagement rates (sitting at 2.53%). What will cut through is purposeful, relevant, genuine content – that’s both user-generated and based on real-world experiences.
There’s no denying that in-platform shopping is booming, and user behaviours are changing as a result, with 130 million people interacting with Shop-related Instagram posts monthly – and 41% of TikTok Shop users make purchases to spark joy. Why are we seeing this trend? It’s simple: buying something instantly through a platform that already holds our information is easy. There’s little to no friction in the buying process – we see something advertised, click ‘buy now’, and it’s a done deal.
Small businesses have seen huge success as a result, and big brands are now jumping on the bandwagon. So, it won’t be long until other social platforms follow this lead, developing (or improving) their ecommerce offerings.
While this has the potential to change the future of online shopping, it doesn’t come without its downfalls. In-platform shopping is based on impulse purchases, which causes fast-fashion concerns and, often, sees us wasting our hard-earned money. Plus, it’s so easy to set up a ‘shop’ on sites like TikTok Shop, so how can people know they’re buying from someone trustworthy? All things for brands to consider in 2024…
With the rate new platforms and communication channels are appearing, it’s becoming impractical for every brand to embrace every launch. 2023 alone welcomed Threads, WhatsApp Broadcast, and Bluesky (to name a few), however, the existence of these options doesn’t imply universal applicability for every business. Take WhatsApp Broadcast, while it presents an opportunity to put out one-way communications, this won’t equal a strategic advantage for all brands. Similarly, microblogging on Bluesky may not be a worthwhile investment, if the target audience is absent or the content format doesn’t align with brand objectives.
The increase of platform launches has led to brands becoming more selective over where they choose to engage – steering businesses toward making more thoughtful and deliberate decisions about where to spend that vital marketing budget. I’m all for this, as the emphasis shifts from a race to establish a presence on every platform to a strategic focus on channels that offer true value and resonance with the audience. After all, if your audience isn’t present and you haven’t got the time or budget to invest, what’s the value?
It’s no secret: companies are prioritising authentic, relatable content to create a more personal connection with customers. From sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses of day-to-day operations to spotlighting employee stories, businesses are weaving a human touch into their online presence.
And this shift goes beyond product promotion; it’s about showcasing the values, cultures, and faces behind the brand. This is why executive social is growing, as it becomes a necessity for companies that want to create unique opportunities for the audience to engage. By supporting leaders’ presence on social media, executive social is opening doors by creating a space for customers, colleagues, and competitors to engage one on one – in space that feels less about business and more about meaningful interactions.
This personal approach to brand storytelling is helping to naturally foster genuine brand connections, by building trust and loyalty. After all, it’s easier to connect with an individual than a global corporation. So, as brands continue to humanise across social media, I expect to see a paradigm shift where authenticity becomes the cornerstone of successful social media strategies.
Gone are the days of the battle between Chrome and Internet Explorer – channels that focus on visuals, like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are becoming the go-to for browsing. And – as Gen Alpha are coming to social media age – I expect this approach will soon become the norm.
But it’s not just internet browsing behaviours that have changed, there’s also been a shift in how people use social media channels. Take the controversary that came with Twitter’s rebrand and rule changes; this created space for LinkedIn (cl) to step up and become the place for browsing news. And since the platform focuses on creating product updates that will only improve the user experience, I’m intrigued to see how the way we’ll use it will continue adapting in the new year.
And this is just the start, there’s so much more 2024 will bring. My team and I are looking forward to tackling the challenges these trends will bring head on.