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5 Evolving Social Media Trends Shaping the Digital Landscape

Amidst the ongoing global boom in social media usage, the landscape is undergoing a profound transformation. It's no longer dominated solely by established platforms such as Facebook and Twitter; instead, a diverse array of networks is gaining traction, reshaping the digital marketing landscape and sparking the interest of brands and marketers worldwide.

One notable newcomer that has taken the world by storm is TikTok. Launched relatively recently, TikTok has experienced explosive growth in popularity, particularly among younger demographics, and has become a significant player in the social media sphere. Alongside TikTok, platforms like YouTube continue to thrive, serving as a preferred destination for video content consumption. Furthermore, Instagram has evolved its formats to prioritize video content, reflecting the growing preference for visual storytelling among users.

Additionally, there's a discernible shift in social media demographics, with platforms attracting increasingly diverse and expansive audiences. This demographic diversification presents new opportunities for brands to connect with different segments of consumers and tailor their marketing strategies accordingly. Moreover, the expanded user base translates into greater potential for advertising, both organically and through paid search campaigns

According to projections by Statistic, the number of social media users is expected to surpass 3.9 billion in 2024, with further growth anticipated in the coming years, reaching an estimated 4.4 billion by 2025. This staggering user base underscores the immense reach and influence of social media platforms, presenting unparalleled opportunities for brands to engage with consumers and amplify their visibility.

Given the dynamic nature of the social media landscape, it's crucial for businesses to stay abreast of the latest trends and developments. Our '2024 Trends in Digital Marketing' podcast, featuring insights from industry experts, highlighted five key trends that are poised to shape B2C and B2B social media strategies in the coming year. 

These trends encompass evolving consumer behaviors, technological advancements, and shifts in marketing dynamics, offering valuable insights for brands looking to navigate the ever-changing social media landscape effectively.

As per insights gleaned from our '2024 Trends in Digital Marketing' podcast, here are the five pivotal social media trends for B2C and B2B sectors to closely monitor and incorporate into your strategies this year:

1.TikTok marketing

2.Easier social commerce

3.Usefulness of influencer marketing

4.The rise of YouTube advertising

5.Instagram video creation

1.TikTok: A Platform Marketers Can't Overlook

Whether you're a marketer targeting consumers (B2C) or businesses (B2B), TikTok has likely crossed your radar. Have you integrated it into your marketing strategies or experimented with content on the platform? If not, overlooking TikTok in 2024 could prove to be a significant misstep.

According to the Apple App Store Awards 2021, TikTok claimed the title of the most downloaded free app, closely followed by YouTube and Instagram. However, it's not just about downloads; users are actively engaging and spending money on TikTok, evident in the platform's revenue surge to $535 million in Q2 2021.

Alison Battisby, a Social Media Consultant at Avocado Social and DMI expert, emphasizes the increasing advertising potential okf TikTo in 2024. She believes TikTok's ascent to one of the world's most used apps has been long-awaited, transcending mere trends or fads. Instead, it offers a compelling avenue to swiftly engage with a youthful audience, even on a modest budget.

The allure of TikTok for brands and creators lies in its algorithm and the opportunity for content to go viral. Unlike platforms like Instagram, TikTok doesn't prioritize account age or follower count; instead, it focuses solely on content quality. This means that engaging videos have the potential to perform exceptionally well and gain traction rapidly.

Moreover, TikTok provides ample space for experimentation. Brands like Chipotle leverage content created by their employees, while Disney showcases Disneyland through tours and exclusive behind-the-scenes footage. Additionally, niche businesses thrive on TikTok by producing fun, spontaneous content that doesn't require extensive planning.

Battisby underscores the importance for brands to take notice, particularly with the introduction of TikTok Shopping in partnership with Shopify in 2024. She points out that marketers are realizing the platform's potential to reach a broader audience compared to Instagram or Facebook, driving tangible results for brands.

2.The Integration of Social Commerce Is Set to Become Effortless

With the vast audience present on social media platforms, one significant drawback for marketers has been the inability of customers to make purchases directly within the apps. Previously, users would click on a tag or photo, only to be redirected to an external website or landing page to complete their purchase. However, this scenario is undergoing a transformative shift.

In the coming year, social media platforms will witness the fruition of substantial changes they've implemented to facilitate in-app purchases for customers. "TikTok's partnership with Shopify, Instagram's advancements in their shopping features, YouTube's integration of shoppable tags in videos, and Pinterest's shopping functionality are all indicative of this evolution," explains Battisby.

With such capabilities now accessible on social media networks, Battisby emphasizes the importance for brands to innovate in how they present their storefronts. According to eMarketer data, social commerce in the United States is projected to soar to nearly $80 billion by 2025.

What steps can marketers take to optimize the customer experience and ensure their products or services stand out on social media networks?

Battisby suggests diversifying content presentation beyond a single photo, advocating for multiple images per product or incorporating keyword-rich descriptions in Instagram shops. Additionally, she highlights the potential of creating Instagram collections for curated gift ideas or seasonal collections.

To leverage social commerce effectively in 2024, consider the following strategies:

1.Prioritize authentic interactions when responding to inquiries by providing personalized recommendations, relevant links, or exclusive discount codes.

2.Explore influencer partnerships to showcase products using shoppable tags, enhancing visibility and credibility among your target audience.

3.Utilize analytics to gain insights into performance metrics and identify areas for improving the customer experience, ensuring continuous refinement of your social commerce strategy.

4.Embrace experimentation with various content formats and messaging styles to resonate with and engage your audience effectively.

3.Leveraging Influencer Marketing for Genuine Connections

Over the past four years, the influencer marketing industry has experienced remarkable growth, soaring from $1.7 billion in 2016 to a staggering $13.8 billion. Projections from The State of Influencer Marketing 2024 report anticipate a further 19 percent increase to $16.4 billion in 2024.

Ken Fitzpatrick, CEO of the Digital Marketing Institute, predicts that influencer marketing will become increasingly mainstream, with brands increasingly incorporating it into their marketing strategies, particularly regarding video content and spanning both B2B and B2C sectors.

Influencer marketing holds significant potential for brands, provided they select influencers who not only boost brand visibility but also align with their products or services. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn't necessarily require substantial budgets or prominent figures; micro-influencers, with follower counts ranging from 1,000 to 10,000, can also generate considerable engagement.

For instance, Glossier, a contemporary beauty brand, leveraged a network of 500 brand ambassadors to encourage users to share their beauty routines and favorite products. This approach fosters authenticity and emphasizes well-being, resonating particularly strongly with consumers in a post-pandemic era.

An effective strategy to leverage social media influencers is by aligning with a 2024 social media calendar. This calendar highlights trending and relevant events, providing opportunities for promotion alongside influencers, whether it's Earth Day, International Cat Day, or Halloween.

However, the success of influencer marketing hinges on thorough research to identify influencers who authentically embody the values and persona of your brand. It's crucial to prioritize authenticity and genuineness in your influencer partnerships to ensure alignment with your brand's identity and resonate with your target audience.

4.YouTube Advertising Presents a Fresh Revenue Opportunity Top of Form

In the final quarter of 2021, YouTube experienced a remarkable 26 percent surge in ad revenue, reaching $8.6 billion compared to the preceding quarter. This impressive growth can be attributed to an influx of traditional TV advertisers, brand advertising, and direct response ads.

YouTube, as a platform, presents vast opportunities for marketers seeking to bolster brand visibility. Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, disclosed that the newly introduced YouTube Shorts format amassed a staggering 5 trillion views. Furthermore, in 2024 YouTube plans to explore innovative avenues for creators to monetize their content, including branded content deals and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

Contrary to previous misconceptions that only TV-quality videos thrive on YouTube, Brendan Almack, Managing Director of Wolfgang Digital and an expert from DMI, dispels this notion. Almack highlights that YouTube has made substantial investments in automating video content creation, while Google offers a plethora of tools to expedite the process of producing compelling video assets for in-stream ads.

This accessibility to video advertising broadens the scope for a wider range of advertisers. Almack notes that YouTube has transitioned beyond merely fostering brand awareness, now enabling advertisers to drive tangible actions. Many retailers have achieved remarkable success by leveraging YouTube to boost sales in recent months.

In essence, don't allow apprehension about video content creation to deter you from tapping into the potential of YouTube marketing in 2024. With ample opportunities and relatively low advertising costs compared to other social channels, now is the opportune time to devise a YouTube marketing strategy, expand your channel, and embark on advertising endeavors.

5.Instagram Video Creation Will Explode

In 2021, Instagram's CEO unveiled a strategic shift towards prioritizing video-based content. As noted by Alison Battisby, Social Media Consultant at Avocado Social, this initiative led to significant developments within the app, including the introduction of Reels and the amalgamation of IGTV and the feed into a unified product known as Instagram Video.

This strategic pivot stems from Instagram's observation that its audience exhibits a strong affinity for video content. Consequently, the platform aims to transcend its reputation as a photo-sharing app and establish itself as a prominent entertainment destination. Additionally, Instagram acknowledges the burgeoning popularity of TikTok and is adapting its features to rival the appeal of the video-sharing platform.

In line with Instagram's evolution, the platform is rolling out new video formats and experimenting with innovative features. These include extending the duration of stories, enhancing effects in Reels, and enabling the conversion of Instagram Stories highlights into Reels clips. Moreover, Instagram has expanded its range of video ad formats available for purchase through Facebook Ads Manager.

So, if you’re thinking about your Instagram strategy for 2024, it has to lead with video content. You need to think about how you can integrate more video, more Reels, more stories, more gifts into your Instagram feed,” concludes Battisby.

Elevate Your Social Media Marketing Efforts for 2024

As evident, the real M of social media marketing is abuzz with exciting developments this year. From the dynamic innovations unfolding on YouTube and Instagram to the widespread influence of TikTok, there's a wealth of opportunities emerging for video content creation and advertising.

The recent collaborations with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify signal a significant shift, enabling seamless transactions within social media apps and delivering a streamlined shopping experience to users. Furthermore, the enduring effectiveness of influencer advertising underscores its value as a potent tool for forging genuine connections with your audience.

Now is the opportune moment to leverage these B2C and B2B social media marketing trends. By embracing these advancements, you can maximize the impact of your social endeavors in 2022 and beyond.

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