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PR professionals predict top 10 trends shaping social media in 2024

As the new year unfolds, planning for 2024 is at the top of most of our to-do lists. To explore what 2024 will have in store for social media, the PRCA's Digital Group gathered ten leading professionals from across the industry to forecast the trends that are expected to shape the landscape in the coming year.

Here’s a summary of their predictions and some tips for what they mean for brands and marketers.

1. Embracing Dark Social – Candace Kuss

Did you know Whatsapp is the third most popular social app out there? And Meta is set to push hard to improve interoperability and also explore new monetisation streams. So 2024 will be the year when brands fully embrace Dark Social – and maybe we need a better name?

Takeaway/Tip: Explore innovative ways to engage on Dark Social platforms, ensuring your brand remains relevant and visible in this evolving digital landscape.

2. The Resurgence of Sound – Kate Matlock

Sound is making a comeback in 2024, from TikTok trends to the rise of podcasts. Brands should consider the auditory aspect of their identity and invest in sonic branding through music or voiceovers.

Takeaway/Tip: Develop a unique sonic identity for your brand to enhance recognition and connection with your audience in an increasingly audible digital world.

3. Reactive Content and Community Management - Olivia Blairman, Coolr

Recognize the role of community managers as essential in utilising reactive content as a social reach driver. In 2024, brands should give them the time and attention they deserve for enhancing social engagement.

Takeaway/Tip: Empower your community managers as the eyes and ears of your brand online, fostering timely and meaningful interactions with your audience.

4. Influencer Value-Exchanges - Yla O’Riordan, Shiny

The influencer landscape is shifting towards value-exchanges beyond monetary compensation. Brands are encouraged to explore alternative forms, strengthening relationships with influencers for more meaningful collaborations.

Takeaway/Tip: Consider what unique value your brand can offer influencers, fostering mutually beneficial relationships that go beyond financial transactions.

5. The Power of Attention - Richard Langrish, Alfred

Attention is key in the fast-paced social media world. Effective social content should convey emotions or vibes, moving away from traditional narrative arcs.

Takeaway/Tip: Experiment with unconventional content strategies, focusing on capturing attention through emotional resonance and unpredictability.

6. Gen Alpha Takes Center Stage - Rachel Matovu, Amplify

2024 is declared as the year of Gen Alpha, a generation focused on gaming as social media. Brands need to adapt their strategies to connect effectively with this emerging audience.

Takeaway/Tip: Integrate gaming platforms into your social media plan, exploring opportunities to engage Gen Alpha on platforms like Minecraft, Roblox, or Fortnite.

7. Internal Advocates for External Trust - Becca Marchant, M&C Saatchi Talk

Brand reputation and trust are more critical than ever. Cultivate passionate internal advocates to authentically connect with external audiences.

Takeaway/Tip: Look within your organisation for authentic brand advocates who can build trust externally, creating a more genuine connection with your audience.

8. TikTok's Creative Evolution - Amy Williams, Hanover

TikTok continues to change content rules, rewarding longer content dispersed among short-form videos. Brands are urged to explore creative bravery on TikTok to stay ahead.

Takeaway/Tip: Embrace creative experimentation on TikTok, adapting to evolving content formats to maintain visibility and relevance on the platform.

9. Longform Content Renaissance - Theresa Santos, Grayling

A resurgence of long-form content is observed, signalling a shift towards quality over quantity for more meaningful interactions.

Takeaway/Tip: Focus on delivering valuable content experiences with a renewed emphasis on quality, ensuring your audience receives meaningful and engaging information.

10. AI Reshaping SEO Practices - Imogen Wallis, Milk and Honey

AI will be swift in its evolution in 2024 and SEO is one place that seems certain to be transformed. User intent is likely to be the first area that gets significantly more sophisticated, with search engines improving how they understand what users need.

Takeaway/Tip: Stay informed about AI advancements in SEO to optimise your digital presence, ensuring your brand aligns with evolving search engine algorithms.

Article written by Danny Whatmough, Co-chair PRCA Digital Group and MD at Red Consultancy and Shiny

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