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Social Media Trends 2024

Updated May 2nd, 2024

The chase for ROI continues in 2024—but brands that lean into AI, entertainment, and their top-performing platforms close in on winning social media strategies.

Our latest updates

May 2024

Now that we’re well into the year, it’s time to review how our Social Trends are, well, trending. Check out these new findings to keep your social strategy on the cutting edge:

  • The AI Trend: Companies that prioritize AI for customer service can expect 25% higher revenue compared to those that focus only on AI for productivity, according to a recent study by Accenture. (Better get those chatbots up to speed on social!)

  • The Platform Trend: With a potential TikTok ban looming over the U.S., eMarketer predicts a dip in social commerce as brands and audiences start turning their attentions elsewhere. So if your brand has a strong U.S. base of TikTok shoppers, it might be wise to get platforms like Instagram ready so you can fill in any gaps at a moment’s notice.

  • The ROI Trend: In our ongoing quest to find social ROI, we dug even deeper into what consumers really want from brands on social. Good news, we found their 3 favorite types of content: something new, something funny, and something inspiring. Do you have these in your content mix? Get more ideas in our Social Media Consumer Report.

1. The AI Trend
AI forces brands to redefine authenticity

Generative AI created a seismic shift when it broke into the mainstream in 2022 and sparked a whole range of emotions typically reserved for fellow humans.

Interest was so high that from 2022 to 2023, topics on learning about AI increased by 550%, according to an analysis we conducted of over 15,500 news articles and blogs.

And social marketers have jumped on the bandwagon.

Organizations report that they’re planning to double their use of AI across various activities—even tripling or quadrupling it in some cases.

increase in how much organizations plan to use AI for customer support activities in 2024
increase in how much organizations plan to use AI for editing images in 2024

Generative AI may be a source of hope for busy professionals like you, but it’s not without risks. Our survey revealed that audiences are not necessarily embracing AI and AI-generated content as much as social marketers are flocking to use it. 

62% of consumers say they are less likely to engage with and trust content if they know it was created by an AI application
Source: Hootsuite Social Media Consumer 2024 Survey

Different generations also have different levels of trust towards AI-generated content, according to our survey. 

Gen Z, for example, are more likely to claim they know what’s real and what’s created by AI better than other generations. They’re also more likely to trust and engage with AI content. On the other hand, baby boomers are the opposite on all accounts. 

AI for the ages

Thinking about social content generated by AI, rate your agreement with the following statements.

Bar chart outlining generational preferences around AI generated content. While 30% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers say awareness of AI content will discourage engagement and trust, Millenials and Gen Z are most likely to recognize AI content and still trust it.

Sample: 4,420 respondents
Source: Hootsuite Social Media Consumer 2024 Survey

AI is inevitable on social, and scaling back on its use now would be like reverting from computers to typewriters.

To thrive in this new environment, marketers and brands need to move beyond defining “real” and “authentic” based on whether something was created exclusively by a human. 

In 2024, the most successful brands will redefine “authenticity.” It’s not about who (or what) creates your content anymore; it’s about the brand experience your content creates for the customer.

Does it feel right? Does it reinforce the brand? Does it work? Get those right and you can dismiss questions about whether a bot made it with a shrug.

How to work smarter with AI

  1. Know your audience and how they feel about AI
    It’s timeless advice for a reason. A deep understanding of your audience can help you gather insights on whether factors such as age, culture, geography, or interests have influence on their perception of AI.

  2. Decide which tasks to keep on your plate, and which to delegate
    AI makes a great assistant—but you still have to run the show. It’s up to you to delegate which aspects of the job AI can support, and which aspects need a more delicate hand (and nuanced brain, tbh).

  3. Create AI policies and best practices for social media
    Make sure your team and organization are aligned in how you use AI. If you have rules and regulations in place, potential nightmares like angry customers and unapproved posts can be avoided.  

Dig deeper into our AI data
Get the full report

Look into your industry’s future

Unveil new data and industry insights to skyrocket your social ROI in 2024.

01. Education Trends
02. Government Trends
03. Financial Services Trends
04. Healthcare Trends
05. Nonprofit Trends

2. The Platform Trend

Strategic brands commit to their champion social platforms

Be where your audience is, they said.

But when your audience is everywhere, that’s a tall order—and the average social media user logs into about seven platforms each month. Seven.

For brands, maintaining a presence on multiple networks is hard. In fact, it’s such a challenge for organizations, it’s emerged as the top ROI concern for social media.

Orgs fear the ROI impact of being on so many platforms

Which of the following issues do you think contribute to your organization’s concern about ROI for social media activities?

Respondents' concerns for social media ROI: 52% - Time/budget on multiple platforms, 35% - Uncertainty in success metrics, 34% - Attribution uncertainty, 33% - Metric-business link, 31% - Social strategy uncertainty, 25% - Rising costs, 19% - High costs, 18% - Short-term impact, 14% - Long-term impact.

Sample: 4,281 respondents
Source: Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey

So why does it take so much time and energy to be active—and thrive—on several networks?

For one, social content needs to be tailored to the unique audiences, lingo, trends, hashtags, word counts, and visual specs of each platform.

Also, platforms change constantly. New user and advertising features are released so often that more than half of marketers say it’s difficult to keep up.

is the number of platforms the average social media user logs into each month
of marketers feel that the pace at which networks release new user and advertising features makes it hard to keep up

Today, instead of trying to do everything, everywhere, all at once, and letting time, money, resources, and results fall by the wayside (the historical norm), organizations are actually doing something about it—using ROI to figure out their next moves.

Take Twitter/X, for example. The majority (60%) of organizations have a presence there, but only a third of them feel strongly that it benefits their business—which might explain the 7% drop in brand use.

So organizations are more willing than even to say buh-bye to platforms and strategies that aren’t meeting their definition of ROI. They’re finally prioritizing their own platform-by-platform ROI scores and making business decisions accordingly.

No value, no point: Brands leave some of the social platform giants

Change in platform use for businesses from 2022 to 2023

Graph regarding change in platform use for businesses from 2022 to 2023. Results show +16% TikTok, +5% LinkedIn, +1% Instagram, +0% YouTube, +0% Snapchat, -1% Facebook, -7% X (Formerly Twitter), -11% Pinterest, -18% Whatsapp

Samples: 3,891 respondents (2024) and 9,422 respondents (2023)
Sources: Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey and Hootsuite Social Trends 2023 Survey

In 2024, strategic organizations will push back against unjustified expectations to be on every platform. They’ll unlock their top-performing channels based on ROI, and focus their attention on those—and only those. If they’re really confident (and brave), they might even abandon one or two altogether.

Because mastering a few key platforms is surely better than being so-so at many.

How to decode (and declutter) your social platform mix

  1. Run a social media audit for platform intel
    This will help you identify your hero platforms—and your duds—so you can make informed decisions about how to approach your social strategy moving forward. Get started with our Social Media Audit Guide.

  2. Put your platforms in an ROI showdown
    Calculate the ROI of every platform you use and weigh them against each other. Find a channel that’s lagging behind? Even if it generates a positive ROI, it may not be worth the investment if there’s greater potential for growth with your other platforms.

  3. Master the art of (proper) cross-posting
    We don’t recommend the copy-and-paste method of cross-posting, but there are ways to do it right. The top rule is to align your content with the norms, best practices, and formats of each platform. Check out this strategy guide for some cross-posting pro tips.

Brands like yours are making bold moves on social

See how they do it, and find all the advice (and confidence) you need to follow suit.

3. The ROI Trend

Entertainment fuels the social ROI engine

Before you quit reading, we get it. Entertainment can be an intimidating word, especially if you work in a “serious” organization (let alone a regulated industry). Can you even connect entertainment to something quantifiable, like ROI? 

But consumers are saying it loud and clear. After staying in touch with family and friends, the top reason they use social media is to be entertained and to mentally unwind, according to our Social Trends 2024 Survey.

You know what else they said? That they don’t like it when brands are too focused on self-promotion. 

of consumers say “too much self-promotion” is a major turn-off in how they perceive brands on social
of consumers think that brands should be more relatable on social

The problem is, brands seem to have other ideas: Almost half of marketers publish product or brand updates or news multiple times a week, according to our survey. That’s a huge disconnect between what brands are posting and what people really want to see. 

And it gets worse.

While organizations are yammering about themselves, they also use engagement as the top metric to demonstrate ROI.

of marketers publish product or brand updates multiple times a week
of marketers report being concerned about the ROI of their social activities

How can you demonstrate ROI through engagement metrics when you’re giving the audience exactly what they don’t want to engage with?

It’s no surprise then that over two-thirds of social marketers report being concerned about the ROI of their social activities. When brands measure success in ways that don’t add up, ROI will be hard to come by.

Brands cling to engagement to demonstrate ROI

Which metrics does your organization most commonly use to demonstrate the return on investment of its social activities?

In response to the question "Which metrics does your organization most commonly use to demonstrate the return on investment of its social activities?": 69% engagement, 51% impressions.views, 49% followers, 43% clicks/traffic, 21% leads, 14% sales/revenue, 4% time spent on site/app, 3% sentiment, 3% share of voice, 2% pipeline, 2% survey-based brand awareness.

Sample: 4,268 respondents
Source: Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey

In 2024, brands that publish entertaining content on social will succeed in winning eyeballs, engagement, and (eventually) market share away from brands that keep on publishing the same old stuff.

You don’t need to overthink it either. “Entertainment” simply boils down to providing enjoyment, according to the Oxford English Dictionary—that could be finding inspiration, getting excited, feeling moved, or learning something new.

Be your relatable person-self, not your super-serious-brand-self. After all, social media is not a place where you talk at someone. It’s an interactive space where the exchange of value is a two-way street.

This isn’t a strategy you can pivot to overnight (obvs). But if your old, promotion-heavy strategy isn’t working as well as it used to, it’s time to get back to the true strength of social media: building brand awareness, affinity, and long-term relationships with your audience through engaging, entertaining social content.

How entertainment helps you win social

  1. When it comes to content, follow your audience’s lead
    Don’t assume you know what your followers want to see. Grab the opportunity to ask them what they want through polls and Q&As. You can also run experiments with new content types or tone of voice. Once you see results, start tweaking future posts and keep testing and iterating as you go.

  2. Let social be the long game
    Don’t rush into “smashing those goals.” Social is best for building brand equity, which takes time. Don’t revert to your old, self-promotion-y ways either. No one likes a hard sell, and letting them flock to you will be so much more effective in the long run.

  3. Make social relationships the foundation of your ROI
    Measure how far engagements go beyond social and across your larger business goals. This gives your social media efforts a higher purpose and makes them rooted in customer value and authentic relationships.

New industry insights, unveiled

Education Trends

Learn how to make your strategy too cool for school

Government Trends

Lay down the law for your 2024 social strategy

Financial Services Trends

Read the report for a strategy you can bank on

Healthcare Trends

Give your 2024 social strategy a boost(er)

Nonprofit Trends

Build a social strategy that keeps on giving

Get more insights… or FOMO. It’s your call.