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  • 2024 Social Media Predictions: Future Social Readers edition!

2024 Social Media Predictions: Future Social Readers edition!

I asked you what you saw coming, and boy, did you deliver.

I took Future Social reader submissions for the first time ever to build my 2024 social media predictions piece—y’all submitted such smart takes I had to build an entire article just about you!

You can read my personal predictions in the newsletter, then scroll down to read all the wisdom you had to share. Thanks again!

On social media careers

"As people who started their career in social now have 10+ years of experience and begin landing marketing leadership roles, we will see social marketing permeate throughout entire marketing funnels. The rise of the SMM turned CMO will have profound shifts to social marketing budgets, teams, thinking.” - Jason Mitchell, CEO of Movement Strategy

In-house content creators are modern-day assets for established brands, and should be a key centerpiece of any forward-thinking brand strategy. It is a tested growth accelerator for any brand looking to expand the top of their marketing funnel, increasing reach to new audiences with an already existing plethora of content. With one person (or a team) focusing full-time on content creation for the brand, there is more dedication, focused time and energy, understanding of the brand, and passion for the content being produced. It is a no-brainer. - Aliana Michals, Social Media Manager at The Paley Center for Media

I'm starting to see more and more social media managers get promoted in anticipation of 2024. I predict that we'll see SMM start to move upwards - in some cases with both pay and a new title. With others, it may be a title that more accurately reflects their role and/or having the ability to get help from other members of the team, hire an intern, or even hire a video SMM. - Katy Severance, Digital Marketing Manager at Riskonnect

The division between organic and paid social media managers has continued to widen, especially as SMMs become more specialized in their work. In this next year, I predict that we’re going to need to start having some serious conversations about how to bridge the divide. And I think it’s more than just the brand needing to feel cohesive, it’s about the people in those positions being able to collaborate. - Kate Meyers Emery, Digital Communications Manager at Candid

More social media managers carving career paths to creative director or other creative leadership roles. Social requires heavy production knowledge these days—Canva, Photoshop, even Premier and AE or lite alternatives. Meanwhile, CDs need production knowledge, but also the ability to speak in KPIs, and critically analyze how best to produce assets and campaigns for digital platforms (the daily bread and butter of social managers). Working in social management gets pros the early skills in a creative field that they need later to have and execute on creative vision. - Eric Mayrhofer, Director of Content as Mascola Group

Bigger in-house Social teams (less weight on agencies to manage every piece of content that is published). I envision in-house specific teams that run on specialties - IE, content creator, community manager, strategist, director, SMM, etc. This can create more bandwidth for each team member, creates growth opportunities, and diminishes individual burnout. - Mariya Spektor, Director of Content at Social Chain

On creators & influencer marketing

The rise of Golden Creators. From Martha Stewart on the cover of Sports Illustrated to the Golden Bachelor becoming a cultural phenomenon, we are seeing the platforming of older creators and celebrities. Older creators bring a certain level of expertise, authenticity and depth that younger creators can not offer. This will be fueled by the authenticity, expertise, and depth that older creators bring to the platform, with Gen-Z and Gen-Alpha emerging as their primary audience. - Dalit Saad, Co-founder and CCO of kvell collective.

Linkedin influencer marketing is going to be big. With the gradual decline of platforms like Twitter, influencers are turning to LinkedIn, where credibility is key. The essence of influencer marketing is shifting: it's no longer just who speaks, but where they speak that defines trust. - Brendan Gahan, Chief Innovation Officer

In-house content creators will take over communications and marketing teams. If you’re a hiring manager and have just one headcount I think most marketers are going to pick someone with a content creator profile over anything. As authenticity gets more relevance than anything teams are switching to content creators who are natural front men, budget efficient producers, and genuine and candid speakers versus sophisticated agencies to manage the volume of content they need to cover in an efficient way. - Alvaro Bendrell, Director Of Digital Media at Enel

Brands will shift more dollars from paid social ads to creative content that engages their audience like creator partnerships, sponsored content, event sponsorships, etc. - Tara Knight, Managing Director at Rubix

While influencer marketing is nothing new, utilizing it as a tactic within performance-based affiliate and partner marketing programs is still nascent. In particular, brands getting started in this space should and will look to smaller influencers to work with as they begin to realize that success with influencer marketing doesn’t require big-budget investments in A-list celebrity partnerships. It will become clearer that working with the right network of micro- and nano-influencers—those whose follower bases might not be massive, but are highly specific, engaged and growing—can yield not only measurable outcomes, but also a far greater ROI. - Maura Smith, CMO of Partnerize

On AI in the social workplace

AI image creation will likely put more of the image creation/content creation into the hands of social media managers. I see it likely to strip creative roles from many companies, reducing social creative resources. Some companies will lean into human-made and differentiate that way, but on a macro level, social media managers will be expected to do more, faster. - Arielle Kimbarovsky, Head Of Marketing at Balsamiq

AI "entities" will be the next big social influencers. I can imagine anyone reading this audibly scoffing, but come along with me for a sec. There are already companies investing in and building the "digital human economy". 2023 saw a rise in fascination with AI content, in 2024 this fascination will deepen and evolve from image and video creation to human-like entities. Okay, okay, maybe this won't fully come to fruition in 2024, but it will definitely be a red pill, blue pill moment for the influencer economy. - Ayla Bravo McLelland, Social Digital Strategist at Daffodil Digital

AI is gonna help bad actors "flood the zone with shit," as Steve Bannon once said. We're already seeing it with plagiarized books on Amazon, people duping whole websites, and of course generating "content". And sadly, shit spreads faster than good people's ability to clean it up. I mean, email is 40 yrs old and STILL 55% or more of it is spam. - Ethan Decker, Founder of Applied Brand science

On Twitter, Platforms, and Communities

Twitter will, unfortunately, stay alive. Its ability to be a hub to enjoy live events (movie debut weekends, sporting events, TV show premieres) remains undefeated. I can’t admit how many times I’ve gone to Twitter to see how other people felt about movies/shows, or to share in my frustration about NBA/NFL/MLB stuff. - Mark Dalmacio, Communications Specialist at Bezos Family Foundation

Community will be a new hot topic next year. Social media platforms will continue to get cluttered with ads and consumers' ability to interact with content they actually like will fall. There will be a rise in people finding their community and connection to others through other means - sub-culture communities (built around passions or interests) and closed messaging platforms (like Discord etc). Brands will start to realise that fostering connecting through a much more diverse media mix is the key to unlocking sustained brand sentiment, and growth. - Amy Still, Founder of Whisk

As every platform tries to be an everything app, I feel like newcomers such as Lapse could become extremely popular. Instagram, Reels, TikTok etc. are becoming less personal, and not everyone wants to be a creator. An app like Lapse can succeed, because it is scratching the original Instagram itch. I could also honestly see a Snapchat revival (at least for millenials) for this reason too. - John Linitz, Sr Art Director at Lippe Taylor

I'm expecting to see audiences fracture, for sure. With the slow death of Twitter/X, there isn't one alternative that people are running to. Whether it's Mastodon, Threads, or Bluesky, I don't think we are going to have a singular audience like we are used to in the monolithic social media sites of the past—Twitter and Facebook, primarily. It's going to be tough I think for brands to figure out where they need to be in this environment, as my perception is that unlike, for example, the Facebook-Instagram divide, this isn't really a generational thing anymore. Your target audience is likely going to be spread across multiple platforms, which is going to take creative problem-solving, time management, and balancing ad budgets to find success. - Keith Sayer, Communications Program Director at University of Notre Dame

YouTube is going to be a powerhouse in 2024. As consumers, our attention spans continue to get shorter and we are suckers for quick visual content. If you're a brand, it's a no brainer to implement YouTube into your social strategy as it's an easy way to leverage longer-from content by chopping it down down and posting as a YouTube short and linking it to your longer form content. YouTube is an untapped space for short-form video content so take advantage of it in 2024. - Jeremy Linaburg, Wholesome Media LLC

Social Commerce tends to not even be on the radar of the Social Manager who’s creating content, reporting on findings, and asking for usage rights…daily. TikTok Shop will be the next platform to compete in Social Commerce and start to say that organic social can lead to revenue! Facebook Lives were once a huge revenue driver when done right and the same will happen on TikTok if the social platform allows more brands to play a part. In 2024, Brands that will get ahead will be the ones investing in teams to focus on social commerce. Have the in-house content creator you probably already hired to be the host of your TikTok Shop Programming and you will win, win, win! - Sofia Kidwell, Senior Director of Social Media at Lovevery

LinkedIn in 2024 will have big Facebook in 2014 energy—and people will share increasingly personal content there. This week, I saw my first wedding announcement on LinkedIn; in 2024, I expect to see more weddings, babies, dogs, and feelings. The pandemic moved even more of our personal lives online, and the #opentowork trend sparked by mass tech layoffs highlights a cultural shift where talking candidly and publicly about being laid off or job searching are no longer taboo. In 2024, we’re all getting real personal, about career-related topics and otherwise. (Yes, there will be more #selfies.) - Emma Miller, Brand Content Manager at M13

Long-form video content will reign supreme, dethroning the short-form frenzy. Brands are ditching the swipe-up for deep dives, investing in partnerships with creators who craft compelling narratives on YouTube channels and video podcasts. The gold mine lies in the minutes watched, not the seconds counted. - Ashley Amber Sava, Director Of Content Strategy at Alight Solutions

Creating original content is more important than jumping on trends. If you’re gonna do social today, it’s about brand programming. Creating and piloting IP people can come to know you or seek you out for. - Sean Wang-Benz, Freelance Creative Strategist