Jack's 2024 Social Media Predictions

Some thoughts on social jobs, the future of content, AI, and more.

I pulled out the ol’ crystal ball (okay, it was a broken Magic 8 ball) and got down some thoughts on what’ll change in 2024. Read below for predictions on the future of content, the social media profession itself, Twitter, and influencer marketing, then keep scrolling for Future Social reader takes!

Social Media Content Predictions

YouTube Shorts become a key channel for brand social teams. Those Reels & TikToks you’re making can go right up on YouTube Shorts, bringing more attention to that channel that’s only hosted your TV spots the last few years. Watch Shorts become quite effective in driving brand awareness without much customization time from brand teams.

Watch time becomes a primary metric. We know we can’t win in 2024 social without video content, but we haven’t really adjusted our analytics for that shift. Rather than reporting likes and comments front and center, watch for watch time to be the new proof of engaged audiences. Anyone can double tap a heart—but can you get viewers to stick around a full minute?

Live content finally dies. Remember when every brand tried Instagram Live during quarantine? Or that big Facebook campaign to get us on live? It’s never worked for brands because who on earth is excited to watch an @brand make live content. Leave lives to Twitch streamers and creators who have a human connection with their audience.

Brands divest from trend content after looking at the numbers. I don’t expect budgets to get much better in 2024—that means more scrutiny towards effectiveness. I really think digging into sales data will show that slightly boosted engagement from trend-based content just doesn’t do as much as great original content.

Threads isn’t gonna be a thing. Meta caught the hail mary, but fumbled on the one-yard line. They got the users there, but didn’t leave anything sticky to keep people around. Now I can’t name one casual person using Threads. I do think it’ll grow from its current active users, but Twitter’s around 237 million DAUs—Threads would need at least a quarter of that to feel alive, and I just don’t see it.

Some Social Career Predictions

Bigger social budgets as senior social pros move into marketing leadership. McDonald’s just promoted Social Media Director Guillaume Huin to Senior Director of Marketing in the most high profile instance of social to general marketing yet. Now that we’re 10-15 years into professional social being a big thing, watch for those promotions to trigger double downs on social because, well, that’s where they came from.

Social Media Managers will struggle to find promotions. This one actually keeps me up at night. There are far more junior and midlevel SMMs than there are Director of Social gigs, and that jack-of-all-trades might feel more master-of-none in the modern job market. I highly suggest all SMMs begin sharpening a specific skillset, be it creative, analytics, project management, or whatever else—you’ll have a much easier time finding the jobs and money you’re after.

In-house content creators will become a standard job. I spent most of my advertising career trying to teach old creative directors new tricks. Many small social teams are making more Canva content than short-form video. With Reels & TikTok offering better organic reach than we’ve seen in years, watch for brands & agencies to hire true content creators to full-time internal jobs.

Thoughts on 2024 influencer marketing

Newsletters & podcasts will start earning influencer dollars. Most of those sponsorships come from paid media budgets, not influencer budgets. Considering newsletter & podcast subs are significantly more likely to see/hear branded content than typical social media influencers, I’ll bet influencer managers want in on that pie.

On that note—I’m looking for new partners for Future Social! You can reply right to this email or hit me at [email protected] if you’d like to team up.

More influencer deals will require Instagram Collabs. Brands want more organic video content, and they’re already paying influencers to hit the same tone & product. Instagram’s post collab feature is an easy way to tie the influencers directly to the brand while covering that day’s social post.

A series of spicy Twitter predictions.

No, Twitter won’t die. It’s not gonna happen, even with the advertiser boycotts. It still occupies an important role in news & culture for those who prefer reading & writing to scrolling photos and videos. It’s still more conversational and 1:1 than other social networks. The userbase hasn’t abandoned the platform. It’s sticking around.

Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino is gone in the next year. She’s been in an impossible position since day 1—I truly don’t believe anyone could do that job well while Elon’s around. That said, she’s also been mediocre & robotic in the press, and sometimes downright bad. And keep in mind, she was brought in as the advertising veteran to woo brand money. She won’t be left with the receipt (Elon’s rightfully gonna catch 100% of the blame), but expect her to either bail or get fired, then run to a better c-suite gig where we’ll actually find out what sort of leader she is.

Twitter will officially be renamed Twitter. The X rebrand has been a total joke. The only people who even know the app’s new name are on the app—there’s been no brand campaign & hardly any communications, so potential new users barely understand where to go. News anchors & your mom still call it Twitter. The website is still Twitter dot com. I truly cannot think of one metric that would signal success for the name change. But there’s still equity in the Twitter name, and I’ll bet they change back, either with Elon or…

Elon Musk will sell Twitter in the next 3 years. Elon’s not having a good time. He bought Twitter for $44 billion—its value is down to $19 billion in just one year. Advertisers are boycotting the platform in droves. Twitter’s subscription revenue streams have produced laughably small results. He’s still the richest man on Earth & seems stubborn enough to drive Twitter into the ground, but if the cultural pressure doesn’t galvanize him, I bet he’d dump it once it got closer to his buying price. We’ll see how pride plays in.

Future Social Reader Predictions!

I asked you for your takes, and boy, did you deliver. I got so many predictions I had to create a second article. Take a look below for my 8 favorite reader prophecies, then click on over here for the full list of Future Social Reader predictions!

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

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.

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! 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 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

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

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

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

On brand safety and intellectual property. As the US elections approach, combined with diminishing trust in institutions and the rapid advancement of AI technology, we are on the cusp of truly understanding the challenges of an evolving digital landscape. Brands and agencies will demand environments that are not only safe and trustworthy for their advertisements but also ensure the protection of their intellectual property. If these platforms fail to proactively address these concerns, the recent advertising boycott on X might only be a precursor to a larger movement late in 2024 as brands seek to avert potential crises. - Nick Sheingold, VP of Digital at Game Seven Agency