Navigating the social media shifts expected in 2024: A blueprint for brands

The Works' head of social, Emilie Lundberg, and her team take a look at the social media shifts expected in 2024, and provide tangible steps to achieving cut-through on social in the new year.

In the ever-evolving realm of social media, where trends emerge daily and platforms pop up out of nowhere (we’re looking at you, Threads), the year 2024 is poised to usher in significant shifts in user behaviour and expectations.

These transformations demand that brands rethink their content creation approach to foster meaningful connections with their audiences.  

As we explore the key trends shaping the social media landscape, it becomes evident that the future lies in authenticity, creativity, personalisation, and a departure from conventional approaches. 

The shift from standing out to fitting in: Embracing the era of lo-fi content 

“I would rather spend 20 minutes on Reels than watching a 10-minute YouTube video.”

This sentiment really says it all. Consumers in 2024 are likely to prefer short-form, lo-fi content that resonates with audiences seeking relatability over novelty. The rise of content shot and edited on smartphones, devoid of elaborate production, creates an immediate sense of authenticity. The people you follow, influencer or otherwise are also adopting a more carefree approach to sharing their content – most evident in the trend of content “dumps.” 

Brands, take note: the era of authenticity beckons. Netflix’s success in “earning themselves into culture” and Boss’s collaboration with Tube Girl underscore the benefits of honesty and authenticity in content creation. While short-form content dominates, brands should not be afraid to experiment with long-form content to maintain attention and stand out. 

Contributor: Katherine Dove, social media lead 

The shift from inform to entertain and surprise: Harnessing the power of AI and CGI 

The convergence of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and CGI blurs the line between the virtual and physical worlds, giving rise to “hyperphysical” out-of-home (OOH) content.

Maybelline’s CGI Mascara Tube video exemplifies the potential of this new aesthetic, captivating audiences with visually striking experiences. So much so, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s real.  

Artificial intelligence image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney enable brands to turn imaginative concepts into reality, fostering emotional responses and leaving lasting impressions. In a social media landscape where 86% of people seek entertainment, brands should leverage AI tools to create immersive, surprising, and shareable content. 

Contributor: Jordan Rajek, social creative 

The shift from broadcast to personalisation: Real connections with niche communities 

Improved social media algorithms now deliver hyper-personalised content, bringing together like-minded individuals based on shared interests. Brands must transition from broadcasting sales messages to delivering content tailored to niche communities. This shift not only enhances audience engagement and brand loyalty but also facilitates two-way conversations, providing valuable audience insights.  

Identify the niches within the target audience and get to know them and the content they consume. Active social listening, engaging in conversations with customers online and spending time on the platforms help brands with this.  

Contributor: Vivienne Fung, senior social manager  

The shift from following to content creation: Trusting nano and micro-influencers 

Consumer trust is shifting from mega influencers to nano and micro-influencers, who offer more authentic and relatable content. Brands should focus on content creation abilities rather than follower count, collaborating with influencers who resonate with their target audience. This shift not only fosters trust but also allows brands to connect with the close-knit social media communities. 

Brands stand to gain significantly by collaborating with content creators, involving them in the ideation stage, and embracing their unique production capabilities. Fostering a creator mindset, brands can prioritise authentic content, experiment with new tools, and actively engage with their communities. 

Contributor: Katerina Hatzi, social media manager 

The shift from hashtags to keywords: A new visual and human search engine 

Social media has become the preferred source for search and discovery, with platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterest overtaking Google for local recommendations. Leveraging relevant topics and keywords, rather than hashtags, becomes crucial for brands to appear in users’ feeds. Social search offers a more visual and human experience, providing personalised, interactive, and unfiltered content. 

The era of social media optimisation (SMO) has dawned, where brands must align their profiles, video assets, and captions with relevant keywords to enhance search visibility. Understanding audience interests and optimising content accordingly ensures that brands stay relevant in the hyper-personalised landscape. 

Contributor: Emelie Lundberg, head of social 

Where to from here?  

The social media landscape of 2024 demands a paradigm shift in content creation.

Brands that embrace authenticity, harness the power of AI and CGI, personalise content, collaborate with creators, and optimise for search will forge meaningful connections, leaving an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of their audiences. 

Emilie Lundberg is head of social at The Works.


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