Friendly Advice
Jun 21, 2024

Social Media Trends Companies Should Know

Brennan Berryhill

Like it or not, social media is the frontier to conquer for digital marketers. Successful companies are using social media to increase their reach, and businesses that don’t want to be left in the dust are quickly pivoting to create effective social media strategies. 

In this article, we’ll be discussing social media trends that companies should know to stay on top of the ever-changing digital landscape and grow their consumer base. We’ll go over:

  • Social Media’s Reach
  • Top Platforms 
  • Social Media replacing Google?
  • The New Digital Marketplace
  • How AI can be a Marketing Tool
  • The Importance of a Community
  • Other Quick Hits

Social Media is King

Four and a half billion people worldwide use social media. That’s more than half the population of the entire globe! This isn’t limited to one platform, however. Check any young person’s phone – it’s not just TikTok, but Instagram, Youtube, Twitter (X), and a bevy of others. Across the globe, the average person has accounts on an astonishing 8.4 social media platforms

Not only that, but the amount of time the average person invests daily into social media is eye opening. It’s almost two and a half hours, with the number jumping exponentially higher when you consider younger generations, with people ages 16-24 spending three hours and thirty-eight minutes per day on social media! 

Social Media isn’t just a place for companies to market their products, but the place. In the United States, companies are expected to spend north of 76 billion dollars on social media advertising in 2024. Social media is where the consumers are, so that’s where companies are focusing their attention. 

Where are people going? 

Social Media platforms come and go as people’s attention spans grow shorter and shorter, flitting from one place to the next, and it can be difficult for companies to decide where to pool their resources. As mentioned before, people don’t just use one social media platform, so any successful advertising strategy will span across multiple sites

Still, there are plenty of numbers to consider. Facebook remains the top social media platform, with over 3 billion active monthly users. Youtube is next, sitting at 2.5 billion. Instagram and Whatsapp follow that with 2 billion, and TikTok is hot on their heels at 1.5 billion active monthly users. Some other platforms with hundreds of millions of active users are:

  • WeChat
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Telegram
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter (X)
  • Pinterest

Each of these platforms has a different purpose and reaches a different demographic, but the statistics show that these sites are where people are going, and smart companies will be there as well to engage their consumers.

A black phone open to a folder with nine different social media sites.
The average person has far more than just one social media platform. Photo courtesy of Unsplash.

The New Search Engine

Social media is slowly encroaching on Google’s domain as the place people are going to find answers. According to HubSpot, a fourth of consumers prefer looking for brands on social media rather than traditional search engines like Google. 22% of people search using social media more often than web browsers. 

What’s the reason for this trend? For starters, social media can aggregate information similar to a traditional search engine. When you search for something on TikTok, you’ll find they put Google search results into their answers. Social media platforms often have a limit on video length as well, and searching through bite-sized content is easier than trying to sift through pages of text. 

Additionally, younger people want genuine answers from real people. If I’m trying to find a good place to eat, I’d probably trust a Youtube review of a local restaurant, where I see the actual food and a real person explaining the pros and cons, rather than the restaurant’s website, which of course praises itself. 

Google themselves have changed their results to display more videos, photos, and colorful reviews, becoming more like social media. This change in how people find information shows the need for companies to optimize their brand for social search rather than only traditional SEO. The new SEO will be fitting the right keywords, not just hashtags, into social media posts.

Black search bar with the Tik Tok logo to the side.
Searching through Tik Tok and other social media sites is becoming increasingly popular. Image courtesy of

Social Media Marketplaces

The E-Bays and Amazons of the world are no longer alone. Social media marketplaces are skyrocketing in popularity, increasing almost 40% year over year. Whether it’s Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Shop, or TikTok, social platforms are encouraging consumers to use them as a digital marketplace as well as a digital town square. 25% of social media users reported buying a product through their app within the last three months. 

Selling through social media is different from traditional online marketplaces. Consumers, especially younger ones, want to engage with the brand and enjoy entertaining content as well as simply buying products. This means that companies need to engage directly with consumers. One of the ways they can do this is by using influencers. 

Overwhelmingly, social media users listen to recommendations from the most popular people on the platform. 72% of Millennials and Gen Z follow influencers, and a whopping 89% of companies that marketed through influencers increased or maintained their investments in 2023. 33% of Gen Z bought a product based on an influencer’s recommendation in the last three months. Influencer marketing is a powerful upscaling of word of mouth recommendation and is an important trend for companies to consider. 

Artificial Intelligence in Social Media

Just like everywhere else, AI is quickly becoming a prominent social media trend. As writer Alexander Gillis points out, AI has numerous uses in social media, including:

  • Advertising management
  • Analyzing, sorting, and tagging data
  • Automatic posting and scheduling
  • Content generation
  • Influencer marketing
  • Content moderation
  • Content recommendations
  • Video filtering

Over 70% of social media marketers use AI tools to help them create content that performs better, posted at the right time to optimize engagement. Generative AI helps creators make content tailored for their needs, and eases the burden for people or companies that need to post a large volume of content. 

Slackbots help these same people sift through large volumes of content and decide which ones to highlight or discern which ones will perform well. Combine that with AI’s facial recognition, ability to manage, and countless other functions, and you can see how Artificial Intelligence is revolutionizing the social media landscape. 

87% of social media marketers believe that AI will be essential to their social media strategy in 2024. In an environment where following the numbers and staying ahead of the curve is so important, harnessing the power of machine learning can help you thrive in the complicated, ever-changing social media world.

Various computer screens with data connected by AI.
AI helps organize the ocean of content and information on social media.

Building Communities

Consumers are willing to engage with companies – 90% of social media users follow at least one brand – but marketers have to go about it differently than before. Younger generations prize authenticity and seeing the faces behind the logo. That’s why their first instinct is to go to video content instead of a website. Most people would rather search brands on social media than traditional search engines, further emphasizing the need for companies to have a strong presence on these platforms.

An active social community is crucial to brand recognition, trust, and success. Rather than just posting for the sake of posting, however, users expect the companies they follow to create meaningful content and to interact with the community. 

Building a social media community is a multi-step process involving

  • Finding your target audience
  • Proactively seeking out an audience
  • Responding to questions
  • Engaging with members of the community
  • Creating polls, hashtags, and contests to drive engagement
  • Keeping your space clean and kind for users
  • Remembering that everything you post reflects on your brand!

While it is no easy task, building a successful social media community can increase brand awareness, satisfaction, and loyalty while providing insights into the desires of consumers. It is a self-perpetuating form of marketing which can grow organically if you foster the right conditions. 

Other Trends to Keep an Eye On

The privatization of social media is an important trend to take note of. What’s meant by that is private spaces like Direct Messages (DMs), communities, and individualized channels will become more and more dominant. While it may appear that engagement is dropping, the conversation is still happening – just privately. Understanding how to interact with these more segmented forums will be crucial to effective marketing.

Teenagers messaging each other using phones in the hallway.
Direct messages and individualized content is a growing trend in social media.

Long-form video might be making a comeback. Multiple social media platforms are experimenting with pushing their maximum video length up and incentivizing creators to adjust accordingly. While videos under a minute remain ideal, there might be a shift toward longer content to supplement those. 

With their desire for authenticity, consumers want more transparency and behind-the-scenes content. While that means creating relatable content for consumers, it also means listening to feedback and showing that your business cares about issues like sustainability and best practices. 

Social Media Will Continue to Change

Just look at how drastically the social media landscape has changed in the last ten years… or the last ten months… or the last ten minutes! Keeping up to date on social media trends is essential for businesses that want to stay relevant to consumers and grow their brand. Ultimately, the best social media strategies are those that seek to understand their audience and what they care about.