Tapping into social media trends for 2024

Every year without fail, new social media trend lists emerge from a series of experts. However, not every trend is one-size-fits-all, so we’ve sorted through this year’s trends to find those that align with our work in higher education.

Playful and personal content

According to a Sprout Social 2024 trends roundup, brands are shifting from an edgier tone to a more playful one on social media. TikTok trends and humor-driven memes continue to resonate with audiences.

Another emerging trend is the rise of personal storytelling. Again, TikTok is driving this trend forward with the rise of short form video storytelling that trades in the traditionally polished approach of video for a more personal and authentic experience. Content creators often break the fourth wall by talking directly to audiences in a conversational storytelling style.

Video, Video, more Video

Short-form videos will continue to be a top performing content type this year, largely driven by TikTok, Instagram Reels (with Facebook increasingly pushing Reels content as well), and YouTube Shorts.

However, many video-focused platforms are beginning to optimize toward longer run times, with the popularity of longform storytelling on the rise. Short-form videos are still preferred, but if you have some longer videos planned or ready to test out, this may be the year to do so.

TikTok has also begun to test horizontal videos, but it’s in the early stages so we’d recommend continuing to focus on vertical video creation for these platforms.

SEO is not just for websites

The way audiences search for information is shifting from a search-engine only approach, to a larger focus on social media platforms. In 2022 it was reported that nearly 40% of Gen Z uses TikTok and Instagram over Google as their preferred search engine. Since then, platforms have been stepping up their search algorithms, and TikTok even launched search advertising options. While website search engine optimization (SEO) and social SEO strategies are not exactly the same, they can complement each other. Sprout Social has created a Social SEO guide we found helpful to consult.

Reducing platform presence

According to the Hootsuite Social Trends 2024 Survey, many brands and organizations are choosing to reduce their social media footprint in favor of focusing on the platforms that deliver the most return on investment; think quality over quantity.

If this sounds like something that resonates with your team, we recommend a social media audit to examine where your efforts can be best focused. A social media audit typically includes the following:

  • Audience—who are you intending to reach, and are they still the key audiences you’re reaching with your social media accounts?
  • Content engagement—are you still engaging your audience at the same rates you have in the past?
  • Objectives and goals—does this platform help your team achieve your overall goals and objectives?
  • Time commitment—how much time does your team dedicate to maintaining your presence on the platform, and how does it compare to the above measures?

And now, an introduction to the University Relations Social Media Team!
Our team has recently welcomed new members! We encourage you to reach out to our team with any questions.

To submit a story for consideration, visit z.umn.edu/socialmediarequests.