State of Social 01: Get ahead of the game

As you might expect, our Social Media Manager really loves social media. Instagram, TikTok, BeReal, Meta, X, Snapchat; you name it, Verity is all over it.

She applies all that trending know-how, creativity, and attention to detail to our client work; and she runs some award-winning Instagram accounts.

Part of the job is to always be seeking out the next trend, utilising the latest features, and deploying social tactics to boost engagement, reach, you name it. We thought lots of this insight was too good to keep to ourselves. So, we’re happy to be introducing the State of Social. The content series where we lift the lid on how to not just do social well, smash it. Turns out there’s a lot more to it than you might think.

So, kicking off as mean to go on: we asked Verity what’s cooking up this year. Will we see the end of short-form videos?! Only time (and this blog post) will tell... Verity, over to you.

Out with the short, in with the long

As we know, YouTube reigns supreme for the most popular social media platform according to Gen Z. According to a Pew Research report, nearly 1 in 5 are saying that they're on YouTube ‘almost constantly’.

This insight has resulted in Instagram planning to extend the maximum length of Reels for 2024, meaning that the days of short >10 second Reels could be numbered. Quite literally. This will have an impact on the types of tactics brands can deploy through their content.

A secondary benefit of this is that SEO can step up to centre stage as we wave goodbye to hashtags and helloooo to longer form captions, post descriptions and copy.

If you’re gonna do it; be original

Following on from the rise in longer form content, the next step is more original content. Quickest way to make longer form content? Be original.

Short form trend-riding videos is on the out, authentic, real, raw content is in. Our collective tolerance for consuming repeated content formats is waning ( *cough* I think I like this little life *cough*). If you’re sick of seeing the Ins and Outs for 2024 videos it’s not surprising, as it’s been used 4.5 million times. Later’s Social Content Lead, Lindsay Ashcraft, says that we’re all feeling ‘fatigued from being served ‘suggested content' that isn’t relevant to us’ and the need for more meaningful, niche topics to connect with is a hot topic for 2024.

Original content allows us to be more strategic — creating unique content that doesn’t age so fast. So, avoid the risk of becoming stale and choose evergreen content > viral trends for longer lasting engagement.  

Keep your friends close

For a long time, follower growth has been used as a key indicator of success in the world of social, but in 2024 things are set to change.

Following on from the successful introduction of Close Friends, broadcast channels and Threads in 2023, we’re predicting a continuation of the prioritisation of existing followers over attracting a new audience in 2024. With useful content and exclusive extras (think Patreon) on the rise, plus Substack seemingly at the top of a lot of content creators’ wish lists this year, we predict a pivot towards close friends over new fans.

It's all happening behind closed doors

We’re seeing a reduction in Instagram users posting personal content in-feed, so feeds are becoming dominated by brands, content creators and meme accounts. What once started in feed, moved to stories, then to reels, and now to DMs, with Gen Z preferring to spend most time and exchanging content behind closed doors. What does that mean for brands looking to tap in and remain relevant to an engaged audience? Enter the Instagram Broadcast Channels.

The rise of the AI influencer

We’re going to start seeing more AI-generated virtual influencers — computer-generated ‘humans’, synthetic talent, CGI characters. The jury is out on whether they’ll have the same appeal as our OG influencers. But either way, content creators need to adapt, compete and create compelling, thumb-stopping content to disrupt feeds and break through an already crowded space. With audiences buying into creators’ personality, private lives, and following their recommendations for decades now – this is no match for a synthetically beautiful computer-generated character. Some may not see through the shiny, smooth, perfectly-created skin of a virtual influencer, but when I want an honest review of the latest concealer launch – I want it from my trusted influencer, warts and all!

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