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What Are the Next Big Trends in Social Media Content?

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Peering into the crystal ball of online engagement, we've gathered insights from top social media managers and content managers to forecast the next wave in social media trends. From the resurgence of authentic storytelling to the innovative use of influencer collaboration, explore the nine predictions that could shape your scrolling experience in the near future.

Authentic Storytelling Resurges

I think the next big trend is actually one we were in 10 years ago: more authentic and transparent storytelling. As social media evolves, audiences are craving realness and authenticity from the creators and brands they follow. They want to see behind the curtain to the real work and people behind polished feeds. Brands that showcase vulnerabilities, imperfections, and transparency in values and missions will resonate more. We'll see more unfiltered, spontaneous content from influencers, and more user-generated and employee-created content from brands to humanize them. Telling real stories that connect on a deeper level will be a major trend.

The key will be keeping it genuine. Audiences can sense when vulnerability is manufactured. But brands that authentically pull back the curtain to tell compelling stories will gain loyal followers. Social media will move away from one-sided messaging to intimate two-way storytelling.

Beth Nydick, Media Specialist, Beth Nydick Media

Long-Form Content Makes a Comeback

The return of long-form content! Over the last three years, leveraging short-form content with trending audio has been a crucial tactic for TikTok and Instagram growth. However, in 2024, relying solely on trending audio won't cut it as a comprehensive channel strategy anymore.

In order to stand out, creators and brands will need to get more creative with longer and more original content. The challenge will lie in incorporating long-form content without completely abandoning trends!

Naomi Wright Watkinson, Content Manager, Pixated

AI and Virtual Influencers Dominate

The rise of AI is going to be even greater. Why? Because it's smart and it's efficient. Take chatbots, for example—these nifty little bots handle customer service queries at lightning-fast speeds, freeing up valuable time to focus on creating content. With advances in NLP, these bots even mimic human conversation and provide personalized recommendations based on user interactions.

Virtual influencers are going to be the next big hit. If Lil Miquela, who has amassed over 2 million followers on Instagram, is anything to go by, then it's clear that AI will continue to push the boundaries of social media content creation and engagement as we know it. Virtual influencers have the unfair advantage of being brand ambassadors who are immune to the pitfalls of human unpredictability, and with that, they guarantee brands unparalleled control over messaging and aesthetics. So, we can expect to have a lot more of them in the future.

Elsie Achieng, Director of Paid Media, Reactionpower

Social Media as a Search Engine

I think we'll start seeing more emphasis on social media being used as a search engine. Users are heading to channels like Pinterest, and more recently, TikTok, first before Google. I could see channels investing more heavily in SEO and additional search capabilities this year.

Heidi Jackman, Social Media Manager

Community Building Around Brands

I believe that the next big trend in social media is building a community around the brand. The concept of community has been a focal point in communication and social media strategies for years.

Despite this, many brands aiming to establish a community often fall short. The challenge lies in identifying measurable metrics that indicate the presence of a genuine community on social media platforms.

Let's define what a community is, first of all. A community is a group of people who share common interests and exhibit similar behaviors. This group forms the most loyal audience for a brand, and it's crucial for them to feel engaged and connected. Brands' mission is to cultivate this 'connection' through tools such as closed channels, special offers for loyal followers, user-generated content (UGC) mechanics, merchandise, live streams, or webinars.

Brands can also use content to initiate discussions and encourage followers to interact not only with the brand but also with each other. How do you measure the existence of a community? By answering the following questions: Do your followers frequently engage by commenting on or reposting your content? Is there a regular flow of organic mentions of your brand or a product? (Utilizing social media listening tools like YouScan can facilitate this process.) Are there any brand advocates who engage in discussions with dissatisfied customers or haters? Are your branded hashtags getting views on social media platforms?

And the fact that TikTok is now cultivating, supporting, and promoting interest-based communities validates the idea that community-building is a prominent trend in 2024. For example, the hashtag #booktok now has more than 28 million posts on the platform, and home cleaning enthusiasts have contributed 3.8 million videos under the hashtag #cleantok.

Nataliia Solonska, SMM lead, Promova

Augmented Reality Enhances Engagement

The rise of augmented reality, or AR, experiences is one developing trend that has the potential to transform the landscape of social media content. I've witnessed augmented reality seamlessly blending into social networks. This integration offers consumers immersive content options beyond traditional posts, boosting engagement and creativity for marketers and content creators alike.

AR's potential for personalization is particularly exciting. Users can interact with material that responds to their surroundings or personal preferences, providing a more personalized social media experience. For brands, this entails the capacity to build highly engaging campaigns that enable people to participate with products or storylines in their own space, thereby improving the interactive and memorable social media experience.

Furthermore, as AR technology becomes more widely available and incorporated into social media platforms, we may expect an increase in AR-powered campaigns and content. This trend is likely to stimulate creativity in content creation and consumption, prompting firms to look beyond the traditional boundaries of social media marketing. AR's immersive nature can help marketers form stronger, more emotional relationships with their audience, ushering in a fundamental shift in the dynamics of social media interaction.

Vincent Iachetta Jr., President, Peppermonkey Media

TikTok Rivals YouTube with Long-Form Video

Guess who's back, back again... it's long-form content!

We predict that TikTok will become the new YouTube amidst the resurgence of long-form video content. TikTok is currently testing 30 minute uploads and encouraging creators on the app to post videos in landscape format that are over a minute in length.

In 2020, we wanted instant gratification and quick-to-consume content to keep us entertained while we were all stuck at home. Now, as a society, we are craving more depth and substance in what we're consuming online.

With longer-form content, creators can dive deeper into niche topics and provide a better experience for followers. This will come in the form of vlog-style content, storytelling content, and in-depth informational content.

Chelsea Evans-Flower, Owner, Scott Social

Raw, Real Content Gains Popularity

I think the next big trend we'll see is a massive shift toward "authentic" content. After years of overly staged photos and carefully curated feeds, people are getting tired of the inauthenticity in social media.

Platforms are saturated with influencers pushing unnatural perfection or product placements sneaked in as real life. That's why I believe the brands and creators that will explode in popularity in the coming years are those embracing raw, realistic content. We're talking about behind-the-scenes flaws exposed, conversations about real-world issues, diversity in all forms, and admission of mistakes made along the way to success.

As content managers, our job will be to guide clients away from the temptations of presenting a fake, too-good-to-be-true facade online. What resonates now is transparency, genuine emotion, and purpose-driven missions. The future favors the real and the raw when it comes to winning over the hearts and dollars of social media users. No filter needed, just honesty and being true to one's values. That's the niche where creators thrive.

Zachary Bernard, Founder, We Feature You PR

Storytelling Through Influencer Collaboration

In social media brand campaigns, we expect to see a big trend of storytelling through multiple influencers, each building on the content of the last.

Take the recent example of Michael Cera's viral content series with skincare brand CeraVe:

CeraVe ambassador HayleeBaylee posts an Instagram reel saying Michael Cera is at a pharmacy signing CeraVe bottles, so she runs in and catches him in the act. Next, a Michael Cera fan account posts paparazzi-style photos of Cera walking down the street with bags of CeraVe, handing them out to the public.

Then, influencer and "CeraVe partner" Beca Michie posts that Michael Cera just personally delivered signed CeraVe bottles to her. Cera then appears on fellow CeraVe ambassador Bobby Altoff's "Really Good Podcast," talking about what's been happening with the brand.

This is more than a "punny" collaboration. This well-executed sequence of events has kept the internet and international press guessing for days. None of this feels like an ad. No one is using the skincare or talking about features and benefits. This is brand-building in 2024, and it's all about storytelling.

Georgia Branch, Co-Founder, We Create Popular