By Marisa Bailey
With Easter fresh in the mind and spring, well... sprung, it might be the right time to take another look at breathing new life into your content strategy.

The past year has been a busy one for new social media trends, which ranged from short-form video content to AI chatbots. So, we wanted to round up the top five which you can use to stay ahead of the competition and craft a tactical marketing strategy for the rest of the year.

Engagement rates out. Retention rates in.

Today’s consumer is bombarded with choice, so marketers need their products to be visible and stand out in a crowd. Meaning brands must capture attention and retain its value long-term, rather than simply engaging customers.

One way marketers can retain customers is by sharing entertaining content. According to Hootsuite, 55% appreciate content which makes them laugh and with the average person spends nearly 2.5 hours a day on social (GWI), they do not want to be bored! Sales and product led messaging simply won’t hold attention, and it never did.

In fact, Entertainment is one of our Principles of Unforgettable Brands as we aim to provoke emotion and spark curiosity to put brands (like Honey Monster Puffs) in the minds of the consumer for longer.

Authenticity is king.

Consumers today are bombarded by brands, making it harder than ever to stand out. Making a shift from highly polished to authentic content is no longer important on social, it’s essential.

The increased demand for authentic content lends itself to the need for brands to be open and transparent. In fact, 34% of consumers will unfollow brands which are excessively self-promoting (Hootsuite), and consumers are far more likely to trust positive WOM from people they trust, who have obligation by a brand to post. Authentic content can help to increase the credibility of your business and build stronger long-term relationships with customers.

Building on this, consumers are increasingly associating themselves with brands which represent their values and abandoning the brands which don’t (Mintel), making it crucial for brands to build an authentic bond on a personal level.

One way for brands to create genuine, authentic content is by inviting followers to share UGC or testimonials to foster trust amongst consumers. Burts Bees recognised a desire for all-natural products and used real reviews to inform NPD, then by providing consumers with pre-released products they could collect authentic testimonials at the exact point the products hit shelves. In just two weeks 94% of consumers who received a sample submitted a review. This helped Burt’s Bees cosmetic range on the way to contributing 21% of all online sales. WOM recommendations provide insurance to potential buyers which is crucial for brands looking to stand out.

Video content

TikTok has propelled the popularity of short-form content since 2020, and it’s not slowing down with short-form video is expected to dominate over any other content format in 2024 (SEMrush).

Whilst Tik-Tok delivers the highest engagement rates for short-form content at 5.54%, it’s also growing becoming increasingly popular on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

However, a recent report by TikTok revealed its users spend half their time on watching videos which are a minute or longer, which has prompted the platform to allow users to share 10-minute or 30-minute videos. As a result, we expect 2024 will also see a resurgence of the longer-form vlog-style content previously popular with YouTube.

To embrace this trend, consider a mix of short and long form video content, experimenting with the two formats and monitoring what resonates the most with your audience.

Artificial intelligence

AI was the buzzword of last year and we don’t think 2024 will be very different. ChatGPT’s launch propelled auto-generative AI into mass adoption and is now used by 48% of marketers to inform content generation (SEMrush). Despite debate around AI’s creative capabilities, there's little doubt about the potential to assist team productivity.

But proceed with caution and remember that authenticity is king on social. Unsurprisingly two thirds of people are less likely to trust content if it was created using AI (Hootsuite). And SEMrush found that over three quarters of consumers desire transparency and honesty from brands which use AI. So, it pays to be open around where and how your company uses AI, and remember it is not perfect! Ebay have led the way by embracing openness in communicating how their algorithms reveal insights to inform product recommendations by pointing out biases and potential flaws. In doing so, they have increased consumer confidence and willingness to use the service.

As we see it, marketers can't ignore the potential of AI as a tool to provide insight and increase productivity, but equally they can’t ignore the inherent floors in a creative tool which by its nature is only equipped to produce average. So, embrace the new tools with open arms, test and learn, but remember AI is a collection of tools, and like tools they all need a competent, trained, responsible user.

Understanding and adapting to future social media trends is crucial for brands to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape. Integrating these trends into your strategy will help you broaden reach, improve engagement and retain customers.

Want to know how your brand can leverage these social media trends in 2024? Get in touch