By: Julia Knaggs
At the 2023 Central Ohio PRSA Modern Communicators Conference, I had the opportunity to represent Slide Nine alongside CEO Lauren Parker. At the conference, we presented the top social media trends across today’s social media landscape followed by a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style activity where audience members had the opportunity to put their knowledge to the test while crafting a social media strategy for their fictional brand of choice.
If you missed the conference, you can still learn more about the trends we covered and what they could mean for your brand’s social media strategy. Here’s a roundup of the social media trends we have our eyes on:
When It Comes to Social Media Platforms, the Only Constant Is Change
At the same time, new platforms continue to emerge. When Threads launched earlier this year, it was the fastest-growing platform of all time with over 100 million users in the first week. Now, the count of daily active users on Threads has dropped about 80% since its peak. Meanwhile, TikTok, another relatively new player in the social media space, has over 1 billion active monthly users.
Finally, we’ve witnessed many platforms go niche. For example, BeReal encourages users to opt for authenticity on social media by posting a photo during a randomly selected two-minute window each day.
As a result, it’s important for your brand to keep a close eye on both new and existing platforms as they change and develop. Not every platform will be a fit for your brand and its audience, so it’s crucial to have an understanding of the landscape of platforms and their potential.
Brands Hit the Funny Bone
One way to build an instant connection with your audience on social media is to make them laugh. Brands like Duolingo and Celestial Seasonings Tea have built a loyal TikTok following by incorporating their iconic mascots into hilarious content. Even more “serious” brands (like the non-profit No Kid Hungry) have found a way to incorporate humor by speaking to widely relatable trends and topics, including workplace culture.
You don’t have to have a giant green bird with a sassy personality for a mascot to strike social media comedy gold. Furthermore, brands of all types can find some opportunity to incorporate the latest trending audio and meme formats to relate to your audience.
Leveraging User-Generated Content
Many brands have realized their most valuable resource for generating content is their own customers. User-generated content (UGC) can range from paid PR unboxing videos to unpaid user uploads. In a survey of 100 industry experts, social media aggregator Walls IO found that UGC received the most engagement over influencer, brand-owned and stock content respectively. Photos were found to be the most common type of UGC, and a natural or authentic style was found to be the most effective visual style for marketing purposes.
Whenever your followers share content featuring your brand, consider reposting it to your brand’s feed (with permission, of course). Additionally, examine how paid content from your brand’s most loyal fans can be utilized to generate buzz.
Thinking Outside the Box (and In-Budget) with Influencers
If a company doesn’t have the budget for a flashy collaboration with a big-name influencer, that doesn’t mean that partnering with nano- or micro-influencers is any less impactful. In fact, it can actually be more impactful! Nano- and micro-influencers pack a punch with a smaller but more loyal following of individuals who share similar interests, often with higher success rates when promoting a brand and its products.
For brands on a tight marketing budget, nano- or micro-influencers could give you the biggest bang for your buck. Research the online communities that your audiences belong to, as well as the influential profiles in those spaces.
Edutainment: Content Worth Saving for Later
Do you find yourself choosing between creating content that’s either entertaining or informative? Why not combine the two? Brands such as Chime, Intel, and 3M have taken to TikTok to share important information or dispel common misconceptions while keeping users tuned in. An added bonus of this kind of content is viewers may feel compelled to like or save it for future reference!
If your brand has any frequently asked questions (especially in a highly technical setting), edutainment may be the perfect fit for your content strategy. Consider which spokespeople or subject matter experts you can use for educational and entertaining content.
Keeping a Closer Eye on Customer Service
Social media users today are not just looking for a timely response and adequate help solving their problems when they reach out to brands on any given platform; they’re also looking for a lasting impression. When you opt for personalized responses over automated messaging, this presents your team with an opportunity to surprise and delight!
The key to customer service in today’s social media landscape is to keep people front and center. For your brand, this may look like keeping tabs on your most engaged followers in order to build stronger relationships or simply paying greater attention to the way you respond to comments and questions on social media.
Similar to user-generated content, social media content created and driven by a brand’s own employees can be a cost-effective way to generate buzz. Employee advocacy tools like Hootsuite Amplify, Sociabble, and EveryoneSocial allow companies to increase brand awareness and promote thought leadership among their employees.
The big takeaway: your brand’s employees have the potential to be your biggest cheerleaders. Consider how implementing an employee advocacy program can harness this potential while meeting your brand’s marketing goals.
When tasked with crafting a social media strategy for your brand, it can often feel like you’re wading through a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book as you’re faced with limitless options that can either lead your brand to success or put you in a sticky situation. While it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest social media trends, no social media strategy is completely effective without a thorough understanding of your audience. Putting your audience—and their unique needs and interests—at the forefront of your planning makes these choices much clearer.
Looking for extra help navigating your social media strategy in 2024? Slide into our DMs!