Social Commotion: Influencer Trends Shaping Social Media, TikTok and AI & More

Welcome to the latest edition of Social Commotion, Motion’s roundup of social media news. Check out our top updates from May 2024.

TikTok Begins Automatically Labeling AI-Generated Content

Did you fall for the AI photo of Katy Perry’s Met Gala look? If so, you’re not alone. The image quickly went viral, fooling many people into believing she attended the event in a stunning gown fit for the “Garden of Time” theme—including her mother!  

The incident has prompted even the savviest among us to question our ability to spot AI-generated content. TikTok’s proactive response to the AI-generated content issue is commendable: The platform is rolling out new measures to help users identify content modified by AI through external tools.  

Images and videos uploaded to TikTok will now be scanned for AI markers, and those found to be AI will be labeled as such in-feed. TikTok also plans to extend this capability to audio-only content soon, demonstrating its commitment to user safety and transparency. Although the technology is not foolproof, it is certainly a significant step toward fostering transparency, combatting misinformation and protecting individuals from being tricked into believing things far more harmful than a fake celebrity outfit.  

Instagram is Working on a New “Peek” Feature for Unfiltered User Interaction

Just when you thought the BeReal trend was over, Instagram plans to reignite it again. As app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi shared, Instagram is developing a new option called Peek, enabling users to share quick, unedited and unfiltered snaps of themselves or their lives with friends. The recipient could then view the image just once before it disappears forever.  

The process is like BeReal in that you send simple, real-time images designed to capture your daily life, free from the performance pressure of the regular Instagram feed. As with BeReal, the view is that many social media users have had enough of the curated, edited and artificial portraits that many people post online to depict an idealistic version of themselves. There is a desire for more “realness” and authenticity in communications again.  

But for BeReal, there hasn’t been enough demand to keep people coming back each day, and the app is now struggling to maintain its usage. Perhaps within a more prominent platform like Instagram, where more and more people are already connecting in private group chats instead of public posting, a BeReal-type offering would make more sense.  

Despite its similarities to BeReal, Peek could offer a unique way for users to connect. Unlike BeReal, which had daily prompts and posting requirements, Peek allows for spontaneous, unedited sharing. This could be a key differentiator and, like the popularity of Notes, provide another way for Instagram users to maintain connections in new, unfiltered ways.  

“There’s no denying the impact of influencers on social media, culture and commerce,” writes Jamia Kenan, content specialist at Sprout Social. And in the current social media landscape, influencers are making their mark across industries.

Sprout Social conducted a survey with over 2,000 consumers and 300 influencers to get perspective on what makes influencer marketing successful for the 2024 Influencer Marketing Report. Among the key takeaways:

  1. While older generations seek out influencers who align with their personal values, younger consumers are more discerning.
  2. Purchase decisions are evolving, with nearly half (49%) of all consumers making purchases once a month because of influencer posts.
  3. Influencers and brands are seeking stronger, long-term partnerships.
  4. Niche influencer marketing continues to grow: About 40% of consumers say they prefer to interact with micro and nano-influencers. 
  5. Diversity and representation are more important than ever.

So, what do these influencer trends mean for brands? It is crucial for them to recognize these consumer shifts and incorporate influencer marketing into their strategies. This approach not only reflects their audience’s values but also enhances their brand’s credibility.  

The Rise of the Employee Social Media Ambassador

In April, TikTok creator and Chick-fil-A employee Miriam Webb, who built a following of 139,000 people by reviewing Chick-fil-A menu items, said in a post on the platform that she had been notified by the company that her videos violated a rule in its employee handbook. She would no longer be posting them, much to the disappointment of the users in her comments.

Less than a week later, Webb handed in her notice and released the first of two paid videos with Shake Shack, in which she reviewed the chain’s new chicken sandwich. Since then, Webb has also worked with brands such as El Pollo Loco, Dunkin’ and Claire’s. To date, the Chick-fil-A employee-turned-content creator has amassed 4.8 million likes on the platform.

What is truly fascinating is the ongoing struggle brands like Chick-fil-A face in effectively harnessing the power of employee advocacy on social media. Like influencer marketing, the challenge is maintaining the authenticity these employee social ambassadors can convey, as they showcase a human being who can help humanize a brand. Chick-fil-A might not have been willing to take a chance on Webb as an employee social media ambassador, but her success—and their missed opportunity—speaks for itself.

Stay up-to-date on the latest in social media with Social Commotion, The Motion Agency’s monthly roundup of social media news, or contact us today to help your brand navigate the ever-changing landscape of social media.

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