The key to achieving success on social media in 2024 will be authenticity. This is one of the predictions of Semrush’s ‘Social Media Trends Report 2024’, which foresees that authentic, user-generated content (UGC) will allow businesses to thrive by meaningfully connecting with audiences.
Authenticity and ‘realness’ are key
For brands, authenticity means communicating a human touch by sharing real stories and engaging in meaningful conversations.
This is particularly relevant for marketing toward Gen Z, who are tired of engineered perfection and flawlessness. Instead, they want a more honest and meaningful online experience, as evident in their creation of the ‘realness’ movement.
But it’s not just Gen Z who value authentic content. Consumers will engage more deeply with UGC than high-production content in 2024, predicts Semrush. The appeal of UGC lies in authenticity. Consumers trust real people who look and act like themselves.
This means brands should aim to build enduring partnerships with content creators who excel at storytelling while looking natural and authentic. Sara Zaccaro, global head of brand social media at Publicis, emphasises this sentiment.
“Brands feel they must put out very polished, professionally tailored content. However, in most cases, people behind social media management don´t get this trend of looking raw. But it’s okay to look like it was filmed on your phone. That’s what people want to see and relate to,” she says.
Authentic creators are all-important
Gone are the days of brands partnering with big influencers solely for their follower count. Now, it’s the quality of the content that matters.
Brands should partner with creators who produce high quality, authentic content. Storytelling is a creator’s most prized attribute.
Reflecting this, many companies are hiring creators based on their previous results rather than on their popularity. Instead of simply promoting content, content creators will take on the role of brand ambassadors in the longer-term relationship.
Again, this is connected to the value of authenticity. Audiences will perceive these partnerships as more honest and real than the occasional promo posts, allowing brands to establish a genuine and long-lasting social media presence that fosters a sense of belonging among followers.
Brands are also collaborating with content creators from a wide spectrum of personalities, rather than just a single tone. This promotes the formation of authentic connections with diverse audiences. It also means brands should allow creators freedom over their content creation to avoid it seeming inauthentic.
Promoting social media success
Social media success, too, is no longer just measured by the number of followers. As the visionaries of Semrush’s ‘Social Media Trends Report 2024’ agree, brands are realising engagement is far more important.
But the problem is that engagement can’t really be bought. The rate of engagement will not only depend on whether the content authentically resonates with the audience but also on its relevance to the current moment in time.
Engagement is also difficult to measure.
“With the rise of dark social, it’s really hard to track everything. You need to look at the qualitative data and emphasise asking people where they heard about your brand. Content is being shared across numerous public and private channels and consumed differently,” says Mandy McEwan, founder of Mod Girl Marketing and Luminetics.
Other metrics will still be key to measuring social media success. Reach and impressions remain two essential KPIs to analyse as indicators for social media content success, particularly for paid social. Both are strongly related to brand awareness.
Shares are another crucial KPI for social media professionals to track, especially as algorithms are set to become smarter in 2024, favouring content that gets people talking, sharing, and commenting.
This ties back to authenticity: genuine and relatable content prompts people to get involved and share their opinions and experiences, creating a sense of community around brands.
And, as Semrush’s social media trends report highlights, all platforms nowadays are dominated by a single format: short-form vertical video content. Mastering video in a way that is authentic and promotes UGC will be key to achieving social media success in 2024.
Semrush’s full ‘Social Media Trends Report 2024’ can be accessed here.
Cover image attributed to Semrush.