It has been another whirlwind year for social media. Blink and you might have missed some of the emerging trends of 2023!
Now’s your chance to catch up, with our round-up of five developments from this year that we think you’ll want to know about when planning your social media strategy for 2024.
1. Sharing is caring (and groups are good for business)
How often does your business join in discussions, host events or create content specifically for groups and communities on social media? From polls and surveys to live Q&As and real-time customer support, now might be the time to think about creative ways to engage with your customers in these ‘natural environments’, because social networks and communities look set to expand even more in 2024.
Facebook, for example, has been investing in new features for group administrators and improved ways for members to interact. It will also allow the publishing of Stories and Reels in groups (which may not come as a surprise if you read our round-up of trends from 2022, where we highlighted short-form videos as a key format). If you dabbled with Reels in 2023 and want to make more of them in 2024, find out how you can take advantage of Facebook reels for business.
2. Live shopping and AR drive sales
Consumer appetite for the irresistible convenience of online shopping is one of the lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Coupled with our new understanding of value – which now considers the customer experience alongside traditional markers of price and quality – and the draw of immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, it has evolved into the real-time phenomenon of live shopping.
As retailers interact with potential buyers, they can make personalised recommendations, answer customer questions and add exclusivity with limited-time deals and early access to new products. The most sophisticated experiences leverage AR and VR to allow customers to virtually ‘try before they buy’ – everything from makeup to furniture.
The rise of AI (more on this below) is also good news for the future of live shopping, as it opens up plenty of opportunities to personalise the whole experience.
It’s worth noting that while the rise of influencers certainly contributed to the initial boom in live shopping, many brands are now recognising the increased consumer demand for authenticity, and choosing to host their own live shopping events and engage directly with customers. Look out for more of that in 2024!
3. Authentic, real content is king
The demand for authenticity is one of the key factors predicted to drive the popularity of live shopping in 2024.
And this is a trend that filters all the way down to content, in all its forms, as authenticity and ‘realness’ will be key to achieving social media success. From user-generated content to genuine brand ambassadors, consumers want raw, human storytelling, not a carefully curated online presence.
A prime example was the heartfelt plea of entrepreneur Melanie Blane, who filmed a video while sitting in her car, having just found out that her small Ayrshire-based business White Rabbit Skincare was completely out of funds and liquidation was on the cards. Business soon picked up, and Melanie said she had more orders and website traffic in one night than over the previous six months.
As consumers continue to embrace the ‘Realness Movement’ (not only the preserve of the beauty and fashion industries) and look for brands that are aligned with their values, it’s increasingly important to share real stories, really understand your target market, and present a consistent brand voice and message across all your communication channels.
4. AI thrives, and privacy matters
Of course, we had to include AI in this list. And it’s an interesting segue from the topic of authenticity, because writing authentic content in our AI-enabled world is a tall order, even for experienced copywriters.
As this revolution in digital marketing rumbles on, the way we connect with our customers continues to change, and 2024 will be no exception. Looking ahead, generative AI has the potential to bring us yet more innovations, from new and improved iterations of ChatGPT to generative design tools and AI video and audio generation.
And it’s not just business that will benefit. AI looks set to catalyse huge advances in education and healthcare, with personalised learning experiences and medical treatment plans all anticipated as trends for the new year.
As AI tools become the norm, the quality of brands’ privacy experience is paramount. Customers take their privacy seriously, with 43% of people saying they would switch from their preferred brand to a second-choice brand for a better privacy experience. So, if you haven’t already got a robust privacy strategy in place, make it a priority in 2024! (Need some help? Check out what the research says about the online privacy practices that marketers can use to provide a positive experience for customers.)
5. The rise of private messaging
And while on the subject of privacy… word on LinkedIn is that messaging is becoming the new hub for social interactions on the platform. Earlier this year, LinkedIn launched a new feature that allows users to send direct messages to company pages. If your business makes use of this, it’s worth taking the time to set up an automatic welcome message for new connections.
With more users choosing private messaging groups over public posts, Meta is set to introduce new ad options aligned with messaging, to help businesses engage with their audiences in private spaces. Watch this space for more on this!
If you don’t want to miss out on any of the latest social media developments during 2024, make sure you keep an eye on our blog, where we’ll keep you right up to date.
And if you want to learn more about the latest trends and how to include them in your social media strategy, or you’d like practical support on how to implement some of these social media tactics, why not book an online training course or get in touch with our team. We’d love to hear from you.