Social Media Highlights from 2023 and Trends to Watch in 2024

The holidays are in full swing, and if you’re someone like me who works in marketing or advertising, that can only mean one thing: the resurgence of trend articles making predictions for next year.

At The Motion Agency, we pride ourselves on always having a POV. So, before we all step away for some well-deserved rest and time with loved ones, we wanted to look back at some of the most popular social media trends of 2023 and what we can expect in 2024.

Here we go.

Social Highlights from 2023 and How They Will Shift in 2024

1. Brands put more money behind video production. 

At the beginning of the year, brands recognized the need to create video content. The most popular social media platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok, prioritize short-form videos shot vertically, so forward-thinking brands committed to investing more in video content creation to ensure that their brand stands out in an ever-evolving social media ecosystem.

In 2024: Video will still reign. If the conversation around short-form video needs at your organization has yet to begin, it’s time to start petitioning for more resources in the new year. Help your leadership team understand the risks of neglecting social media video assets and how they will help your organization stand out against its competitors.

2. Brands experimented with emerging (and re-emerging) networks.

There were plenty of social media changes in 2023, and as marketers, staying up to date on the latest platform changes can feel like a full-time job on its own. Thankfully, teamwork makes the dream work, and at Motion, we collectively kept an eye on the new social media platforms that launched this year.

Some platforms saw success in 2023, such as Meta’s new app, Threads. Since launching in July, Threads has become the fastest-growing app of all time, receiving more than 100 million downloads (and 70 million less than two days after launch, no less).

Other apps, like Lemon8, have struggled to grow their user base at similar speeds. Lemon8 focuses on lifestyle content, allowing artists to post photos or short videos categorized by niche. Lemon8 also enables creators to tag posts with product details, links and prices, bridging the gap between audience and influencer. Think of a combination of Pinterest and TikTok.

In 2024: Expect brands to lean more into existing platforms like TikTok, where the typical American spends 80 minutes in-app daily, while also taking the leap and expanding their social media marketing efforts on new platforms like Threads.

3. The creator economy continued to blossom.

At Motion, we view influencers as an effective marketing strategy for organizations looking to reach new audiences at scale. (Miss our crash-course on developing a successful influencer campaign? Check it out here.

And in 2023, we saw brands continue to leverage influencers to help achieve their marketing goals. In fact, one report shows that content creator and influencer viewership will surpass 10 trillion monthly views across all social platforms by the end of the year.

What does that mean? Influencer content will be watched 13.2 times more than traditional media and brand content by the start of the new year.

In 2024: Commit to exploring how content creators and influencers can help your brand. Need to know the type of influencers your brand should partner with? Start with your community. Look through your followers, superfans, customers and business partners. You’ll likely identify a few individuals who would love to collaborate with your brand to create sponsored content.

4. Employee advocacy steps in as the to-beat social media strategy for brand awareness.

Employee advocacy has long been a hidden social media marketing gem that can help organizations in nearly any industry, and it took center stage this year due to increased costs regarding paid social media advertising and dwindling organic reach.

Companies that have already launched employee advocacy programs reported increased brand recognition, qualified job seekers and greater control over brand messaging and thought leadership.

In 2024: As more success stories emerge, employee advocacy will become the preferred approach to establishing a brand presence in many industries, including B2B brands.

One platform we expect to see continued success in cultivating employee advocacy is LinkedIn. This platform gives brand a dedicated channel to best connect with their employees but also share ideas and forge relationships with potential customers and other industry stakeholders.

Now that we’ve looked at some of the most talked-about social media trends in 2023 and how they will continue to evolve next year, here are the 2024 trends every social media marketer should have on their radar in the new year.

1. Brands will turn influencer content into paid ads.  

Brands’ top priority in 2024? Making the most of their influencer marketing collaborations and limited budgets. This entails prioritizing high-quality content that can be repurposed for web or paid ads to boost conversions and overall engagement.

More brands will routinely include paid ad content in their partnership agreements, especially when trying to reach a niche audience with authentic content. For one of our clients at Motion, we recently launched a multi-market influencer campaign where each influencer granted our client permission to run their sponsored content as ads across Meta and TikTok.

Brands: Be prepared to allocate more resources to your influencer campaigns to account for this additional marketing tactic.

2. Long-form video is here to stay.  

We discussed how short-form video content was a priority for brands in 2023, but that doesn’t mean consumers don’t want to watch content that lasts longer than 90 seconds.

Platforms like TikTok increased its video duration for uploaded videos to 10 minutes in 2022. They recently claimed that number will go up to 15 minutes, indicating that long-form video content is here to stay. From vlogs to product reviews to educational content, well-known niches such as the beauty or tech communities are producing longer videos for users on TikTok and Instagram.

Short-form content like TikToks and Reels has relied heavily on trending audio tracks or sounds for creative inspiration. However, in 2024, depending exclusively on popular music is no longer a long-term approach for your brand’s channel. Instead, focus on a creative approach that’s authentic to your brand and grounded in strategic insights that will lead to educational, entertaining or informative content for your target audience.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI) will take on an increased role in content marketing.  

When generative AI entered the mainstream in 2023, it caused a seismic upheaval, eliciting a wide range of emotions from almost everyone with an opinion. And yet, organizations report wanting to increase their use of artificial intelligence across multiple activities—sometimes doubling or quadrupling it.

Companies like Later embraced AI by adding features like Caption Writer, which can generate a social media caption in seconds. And this helps confirm social media marketers who have jumped on this trend. According to Hootsuite’s 2024 Social Trends Survey, marketers reported a 318% increase in how much organizations plan to use AI for customer support activities in 2024 and a 260% increase in how much organizations plan to use AI for editing images in 2024.

Although AI can be a helpful tool, but “human guidance and judgment is still required throughout the creative development process,” wrote Motion’s Vice President, Group Creative Director, Terry Mertens. “We may begin looking to AI to expedite ideation, perhaps, or to come up with creative concepts we might otherwise not, but we still need to direct its thinking, evaluate and refine its product and ultimately determine the viability of an idea based on strategic realities that an AI-engine can’t access without human direction.”

4. Brands will evaluate what the platforms they want to be active on.

With potentially less marketing dollars to work with, some brands will take a step back to decide what social channels are bringing value and which, frankly, aren’t.

Quality over quantity is the name of the game here. For brands trying to evaluate which marketing channels have the biggest impact on their overall business goals, conduct a social media audit. This will assist you in identifying your hero platforms so you can make informed decisions about how to proceed with your social media strategy in 2024.

Even if a platform delivers a positive ROI now, it may not be worth the investment later, especially if your other social media channels have better long-term potential. For example, if your brand on X is currently driving more impressions compared to Instagram, we wouldn’t recommend giving up on Instagram and doubling down on X. We’ve all seen the highlights (or lowlights) of Elon Musk and his changes to the platform formally known as Twitter, and who knows what changes will come in 2024 that could hinder brands on the platform even more.

As we look to 2024, brands must be more careful about where they devote their marketing resources and time. It’s critical to focus on what will most impact your company rather than hopping on a trend or a new platform just because it’s mentioned in the news.

If you need help figuring out where to start in 2024, let’s connect to create a results-driven social media marketing strategy that gives your brand the boost needed to accelerate growth.