2024 Social Media Insights for Small Business


Julie Frost

Feb 26, 2024


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Social Media

Oversaturation, new formats, and changing media landscapes have led to social media challenges in 2024. Small businesses debate scaling back their online marketing. Should they bother adapting if social media might look completely different in a year or two?

However, these challenges aren't barriers; they're opportunities for advanced marketing techniques. You'll reduce clicks, gain customers, and develop a vibrant social media presence. Get started today to gradually roll out changes throughout the year.

Embrace Video Content

Woman watching a reel

TikTok's explosion turned videos into an essential marketing component. Before TikTok, people visited social media for tweets, photos, and the occasional clip. Now, they barrel through dozens of 30-second videos during commutes and lunch breaks. Flat pictures have started to seem boring in the world of filters, catchy tunes, and rapid-fire humor.

Video content requires a large investment, making some reluctant to adapt. You'll need film equipment, writers, directors, and editors, plus actors, musicians, and animations for select productions. You can save money by renting equipment and using free stock footage, but professionals aim for 100% original content.

Luckily, this up-front cost results in a fast return on your investment. Video content grants access to TikTok and Instagram Reels, two of the world's biggest platforms. This means you'll receive:

  1. A fast uptick in followers
  2. Opportunities to jump on trends
  3. Built-in audiences who eagerly search for content
  4. Potentially thousands or millions of views on one upload
  5. Paid advertisement slots
  6. The chance to collaborate with famous influencers

Each platform is a little different, so you'll need to optimize your content. TikTok and Instagram focus on short clips. YouTube permits short uploads, but most people visit YouTube for long-form videos. You can share snippets on other platforms and encourage viewers to watch the full message on your channel.

How do you get your message across? Since most people don't log on to watch commercials, you'll need a light touch. Brands on social media combine ads with supplemental content, such as:

  1. Cooking delicious food
  2. Lipsyncing to popular songs
  3. Joking and pranking people
  4. Taking nature walks
  5. Exploring tourist attractions
  6. Playing with animals
  7. Sharing beauty routines
  8. Revealing new products

These uploads advertise your company without making it obvious. Viewers might skip a 30-second advertisement, but they'll watch an influencer go hiking in your travel gear. You'll also earn organic traffic from people who searched for "camping trips" and "hiking vids."

If this still sounds intimidating, you don't have to start with hour-long films. Social media encourages quick bites of information. You could film several clips on Monday and have enough content for the week.

Charm Your Audience

Group of people laughing at one post

When Amtrack tweeted "trains" in 2022, thousands of people liked and retweeted the post in disbelief. Did someone hack the account? Was an intern having fun?

This tweet was actually a calculated marketing tactic. Browse a brand profile on Twitter/X, and you'll find jokes, memes, pop culture references, and teasing replies. Of course, they switch to a professional tone when they address complaints, but the general image is "fun, trendy, and laid-back."

Companies aim to go viral without offending anyone. Offbeat humor, relatable posts, surreal memes, and bizarre marketing stunts grab everyone's attention, generating leads and free media coverage. Some businesses even playfully "roast" their followers, but they stop short of insulting their race, gender, or another demographic.

Consider this technique as you craft your brand image. With careful planning, followers might see your company as a vibrant character. Popular voices include:

  1. Bubbly: You're cheerful and upbeat, talking to followers like they're your best friends.
  2. Youthful: You use slang and memes to make younger generations feel like you're one of them.
  3. Strange: You share odd, surrealist content that makes people say, "I can't believe a brand posted that!"
  4. Edgy: You flirt with dark humor and sarcasm without veering into offensive territory.
  5. Opinionated: You say whatever you want and don't care who likes it.

Note that experimenting with voices is a little risky. Going overboard could anger customers, make them roll their eyes, or share too much personal information. Balancing your personality with professionalism will help you overcome social media challenges in 2024.

Partner with Influencers

Influencer filming herself

You open Instagram to find influencers gushing about items and services that they discovered. They share videos of themselves using products, discuss features, and give their followers special coupon codes. This has the illusion of organic marketing, but a business deal occurred behind the scenes.

Celebrity product endorsements have become brand partnerships: companies paying influencers to advertise their products under the guise of objective reviews. If you prefer a more direct approach, you could sponsor a promoter by paying for one of their videos or photoshoots in exchange for a shoutout. Whatever the case, your business reaches tens or hundreds of thousands of people overnight.

Follow these steps for launching a partnership:

  1. Research influencers.
  2. Send a message with a little information about your business and your partnership ideas.
  3. Discuss the details. They might accept money, gifts, or paid services. In return, they'll promote your brand according to your specifications.
  4. Monitor the campaign until the conclusion.

Don't stress if you can't afford an influencer with millions of followers--in fact, they're often the wrong fit for your brand. If you exclusively serve local customers, global advertising wastes money. Likewise, top-tier influencers have a broad appeal that doesn't always translate to sales. You need niche ambassadors with an audience that seeks out your product.

Fortunately, hundreds of micro-influencers want to collaborate with you. Often, people become influencers specifically to earn product endorsements. They enjoy the money and gifts, and brand partnerships boost their profiles. If a company trusts them, their followers trust them, too.

Still, you're selective with your time. Ask yourself these questions as you research:

  1. Does the influencer's audience fit your demographic?
  2. Do they post on a regular schedule?
  3. Have they experienced controversies? If so, how did they react?
  4. How successful were other collaborations? Which promotion methods did they use?
  5. Does their personality suit your brand's voice?

Consider starting with a single advertisement. If your sales increase, you could discuss a long-term partnership with one or two monthly collaborations. Over time, the influencer could become one of the faces of your brand.

Eventually, creators may contact you directly. They'll introduce themselves through direct messages (DMs), hoping to score a partnership. Be wary of empty profiles with a handful of followers, and always do your research--you don't want a scammer who runs off with your money.

Create Human Connections

Humans interacting with social media

Nearly everyone prefers talking to someone, but companies still replace human agents with bots and recordings. This doesn't mean bots are useless--they answer basic questions, offer discounts, and help shoppers complete purchases. Still, AI advancements have encouraged businesses to automate everything, frustrating clients.

Stand out from your competitors by continuing to employ human workers. Some customers willingly pay more if they receive help from a real person, not a robot. Human agents also personalize the experience, recommending products and upgrading their carts.

Outside of sales, your team engages social media followers with genuine responses. They stimulate discussions, address concerns, and help people without expecting a sale in return. Hitting the "Follow" button feels less like a business transaction and more like joining a friend group.

Encourage In-app Shopping

Your posts may dazzle customers, but visiting your website requires an extra click--and many decide to scroll away because they don't want to leave the app. This barrier reduces sales leads generation, forcing you to adapt gimmicks that direct followers to your site.

In-app shopping eliminates this hurdle. Customers can view your Instagram or TikTok profile, browse your store, read product information, and check out without leaving the platform. Impulse purchases multiply because they don't have time to consider it while your website loads. Plus, they feel safer because they're using a familiar app.

To start, review the platform's eligibility requirements. You might have to adjust your profile to comply with their guidelines. Once you're approved, you can attach products to posts and videos. With live streams, you can even host your own home shopping network, offer demonstrations, and advertise your goods while customers check through the app.

Optimize Your Web Design

Everything starts with your website. Customers shop, ask questions, learn about your company, read updates, and find your social media profiles. Website design for small business addresses your unique needs while intuitively understanding what visitors want.

E-Marketing Associates website design services include content writing, mobile optimization, Amazon AWS web hosting, and Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliance, making your site accessible for everyone. We'll enhance navigation, add security features, and create a dynamic page for desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

Schedule a 15-minute discovery call to learn how we'll tackle social media challenges in 2024 for your business.

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