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We're not about trend-chasing around here, and more about a holistic approach for small business social media marketing, but it's our job to have our finger on the pulse when it comes to digital marketing in order to identify opportunities for our small business clients who have goals of attracting and converting their target audience through their organic social media content.

Having said that, our Director Taya has put together a list of what she thinks will be hot, and not, in 2024. 

A move away from paid ads


Paid ads have always been hit and miss for small businesses unless they’re done well and the messaging is really good but my prediction is we’ll see more of a move away from paid ads in 2024 especially with TikTok testing a paid, ad-free experience for its users, and the strengthening of privacy standards on social media resulting in advertisers not being able to access the intricate data they used to. I think paid ads and quick fixes won’t be the first point of call for people thinking “oh a I need more sales” and we’ll see more of a focus on organic content being used to do this.


I think because of this in the next few years we’ll start to see more product placement-type marketing especially in traditional media or influencers — take TikTok creator Laura Capon for example. She’s a beauty editor who has a series where she identifies all of the products used in every episode of the Kardashians. we're talking the sunscreen they use, what's in their make-up bags and everything else they're using - without being paid for it.


She’s out here doing god’s work. Her username is @laucapon if you want to see more.


You’ll also sometimes see Tiktoks where a creator is telling a story, chatting to their audience during a GRWM while using an amazing shade of lipstick but do it without mentioning the brand or showing the label. Intentional. You see, it gets everyone in the comments asking what it is, which boosts the engagement and reach, while also giving the creator, and other users the opportunity to answer, generating authentic conversations as opposed to being straight up salesy.


In 2024, when we are all sick to death of being sold to all day every day, I think we’ll see much more of this, as well as the resurgence of more old-school style product placements, just with a modern twist.


The decline of social media managers as you may know them


We're already starting to see it (thank goodness imo), but in 2024 I think we’ll continue to see the decline of "social media managers" who don’t implement a marketing strategy. For example, they just curate a feed, have captions with no actual strategy and that seem more like an afterthought instead of what’s driving the post, have “educational” content that you can tell isn’t actually strategy-backed and therefore won’t convert an audience, or those who have a few pillars and call that a "strategy".


Social media management can’t be done on your behalf remotely anymore, and I think those kind of social media content creators are going to stop being hired because it ends up just being a waste of money for the businesses handing over their money.


Investing in a strategy, or in coaching and consulting, or in having a social media specialist that comes and creates content with you instead of just for you, and the business owner learning more about how to market their business to their specific customers is going to become more and more popular because it’s a better investment as it’s more sustainable long-term in comparison to someone doing it for you short-term.


Lo-fi content is king.


Lo-fi content is short for “low fidelity” content, with lo-fi referring to a style of social media content that is raw, authentic and candid. Basically, it’s content captured through the lens of a mobile device and is less edited and over-produced than what we used to see in old-school marketing campaigns.


If you ever scroll social media, especially TikTok, you would have seen the shift first-hand yourself over the past couple of years: A steady move away from high-quality, overly-edited and polished content to more natural and native content.

Not only are we seeing a shift in the content being produced, it’s even commonplace for brands to be ripped to shreds for their over-produced and “out of touch” social media marketing content these days. Awks. Some of the world’s biggest brands are failing miserably in the eyes of their consumers on Instagram and Tiktok as they continue to produce content that looks like an old TV ad instead of what a brand should actually be posting on social media in today’s digital marketing landscape.


And because we know business leaders love them some data, Pulse recently shared some interesting stats around millennials, Gen Z and perfection fatigue:

79% of 13 to 36-year-olds are tired of seeing polished images in advertising.

88% of people like it when others showcase their flaws and imperfections.


And a study by Stackla found that 88% of consumers consider authenticity important when deciding which brands to spend their money with.


And in case you needed some more cold hard facts on why lo-fi content should be included in  a small business organic social media strategy, Dash Hudson tests revealed lo-fi content received 40% more views and 30% higher reach than more over-produced counterparts.


There is actually a lot of data out there proving that lo-fi content it’s not just a trend, it's a cultural shift and is literally the way of the future for social media.

To see Aussie brands use good, strategy-backed lo-fi content in action have a stalk of Mco Beauty's Instagram and Tiktok, and for a service-based provider example, check out The Relationship Code on Tiktok. There you'll see lo-fi content in the form of easy-to-produce "talking to camera" clips featuring a face of the brand using their content to demonstrate their knowledge, built trust and position themselves as industry leaders


The slow decline for businesses using old-school marketing tactics on social media.


2024 is going to usher in a slow and steady decline for businesses trying to attract sales or boost brand awareness on socials but doing either of these two things:


1. Using old-school digital marketing tactics that give everyone the ick and don’t even work anymore.


2. Not posting content created for their community, customers and clients and instead continuing to post selfish content, for example content that is either lazy content that's easy for the business to create like screenshots or content copied off someone else or Google, or posts that are business-first content that someone working internally in the business feels the need to tell people about the business. That kinda stuff. Nu-uh. Rest in peace you guys.


I know you've seen it... Brands sucking on social media and totally missing the mark by posting slow-mo campaign-style video of immaculate models and creating content driven by some checklist made in a boardroom that results in solid boring ol' promoting and selling, which none of us scrolling our feeds have time for.

The irony is, the stuff that would get better results for them would take less money, planning, production, editing etc. than the stuff that’s falling flat.


People dabbling in AI doing more harm than good for many small business owners.


Back in June I saw this tutorial on how to get Chat GPT to generate your small business social media content. It had 45 thousand saves, and as he filmed his screen to show the captions it came up with, I screenshotted and zoomed in, curious if this was really about to change the game for us time-poor small business owners hoping to attract more clients and sales with our organic content.

 And what I saw was legitimately stuff I’d never, ever recommend my clients post. Ever.


He told the AI to create for a baking business. These are captions it gave him, word for word (no joke):

" 📺 Baking shows are on the rise! What's your favourite baking show? #bakinglove"

"😂 Why did the brownie go to therapy? It had a crumbling personality! #browniejokes"

"💌 Send some love to your family and friends with our mail order brownies #browniegifts"

So look, I am not sure what our little helping hand pal Chat GPT thinks the point of posts like this would be, but et me tell you there is no strategy that I can see in these captions. Maybe it thought the second one was "entertaining" content? The first was trying to be relatable. I don't even know. But one thing I do know is if a client we were working with had these posts planned I'd tell them not to bother even scheduling them if their goals were to increase sales.


Say it with me:

Posting does not equal marketing.

Sure, those kind of posts are giving you a presence. And if that is your goal (I'm not gunna call it a marketing goal) - to just have something there in case someone searches for you on social media and you want to be there - then Chat GPT will probably be handy for you.

But if you're looking to build trust and authority and position yourself as an expert that is worthy of their sale, if you're wanting to show up authentically to connect with your consumers and build a loyal audience, and you want to use your social content to attract and convert your target audience... Then this content is not going to help you. In fact, it actually might work against you.


I’m not saying AI doesn’t have its advantages when used properly. I’m sure there are Chat GPT wizards out there who have finessed their prompts and can get some decent answers, but for small business owners who aren't expert at it, the kind of generated content above is not going to attract or convert your community at any stage of their buyer journey. It will however make you blend in, sound fake (almost like it was written by a robot, funny that) and goes against everything your social media marketing needs to be in 2024: authentic, relatable, valuable, connection-forming, using story telling etc.


Social SEO will continue to have a moment as Google and hashtags continue to decline.


More and more people are using TikTok as a search engine. And what I mean by this is they are literally opening the app and searching to get more information on current topics, researching products before they buy and using it to have something explained to them direct from an expert’s mouth, in a more quick and concise way, rather than having to read a long article that's popped up in a Google search result. 

TikTok in particular is sooo good at categorising SEO and giving us what we need when we search for it. The Tiktok algorithm is also incredibly responsive and will push a user more of what they're interested in after they’ve shown interest in a topic, which is music to the ears of small business owners trying to reach their target audiences and get more (interested) eyes on their business. 

Instagram SEO will also continue to have a moment this year as hashtags continue to decline in effectiveness and that discoverability replaced by a good SEO and keyword strategy.


It's really never been easier to stand out from your competitors and market your small business on small media. Happy creating, and you got this!

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