Did you know that nearly 62% of people worldwide actively used social media last year? While the popularity of social media platforms is not new, as the years go by, the extent of their influence continues to grow exponentially. This year, social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are expected to continue growing, and all platforms are set to continue innovating to meet the ever-changing demands of users.
For the education industry, the question of whether or not schools should have an online presence is no longer valid. Educational institutions know that having active social media profiles is imperative to support their recruitment efforts, and the issue now is to understand which trends schools should follow to keep generating engagement and growing their follower base. If you’ve been googling Social Media Trends 2024 to know what trends you should watch, this blog is for you! Keep reading to discover some of the most important trends this year.
The Star of Social Media Trends 2024: Short-Form Video
It is estimated that, in 2023, more than 90% of companies used video for marketing purposes. Given the escalating popularity of video content in 2024 social media trends, it’s clear and undisputed that short-form videos have secured a permanent place in the marketing landscape. This widespread adoption of video as a critical marketing strategy reflects the dynamic shift in consumer preferences, emphasizing the importance of engaging, concise, and visually appealing content to capture audience attention in a fast-paced digital world.
For schools, the rise of video as a critical marketing tool means adapting to new content formats, leveraging social media platforms more effectively, and embracing storytelling to connect with their audience meaningfully. In fact, over the past years, numerous educational institutions have embraced this trend to enhance their engagement with followers and innovate how they deliver content to their audience.
Example: From the University of Toronto to Harvard or Oxford University, most significant schools worldwide have embraced the short-form video content trend.
Source: University of Toronto, Harvard University & Oxford University
Pro tip: Creating videos for the first time? Don’t forget to follow video production strategies and best practices to ensure your content is top-quality.
The short-form video has emerged as a significant catalyst for engagement and user interaction, but the question remains: how can we grasp the reasons behind its soaring popularity? To understand this, we need to look into several factors:
- Short-form videos cater to the modern attention span: Short-form videos can deliver entertaining and informative content in seconds. This video format speaks to the fast-paced nature of today’s society, capturing the essence of a message without demanding a significant time investment from the viewer.
- Democratization of content creation: Did you know that approximately 85% of the world’s population owns a smartphone? This means that more and more people can create and share content online, translating into an immense variety and diversity of short-form videos. This democratization fosters inclusivity and turns users into active participants in the digital narrative.
- Virality and shareability: Because short-form video is more likely to go viral and get shares, social media platforms have favoured this form of content. This, coupled with algorithms prioritizing engaging content, propels short-form videos to the forefront of user feeds, feeding into their popularity.
Because of this, social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube Shorts are becoming increasingly popular among younger generations, making it a must for schools to have active accounts on these platforms. Schools that still need to venture into this trend should start working on a video marketing content strategy. This strategy, which should be part of your general marketing strategy, should act as a roadmap, outlining how to effectively use video content to reach and engage your target audience. It should encompass various elements, such as identifying the key messages you want to convey, determining the most suitable platforms for distribution, setting clear objectives for each video, and establishing a consistent tone and style that aligns with your school’s brand identity. Additionally, this strategy should include a content calendar to ensure regular and timely releases, as well as metrics for measuring the success and impact of your video content. Once all this has been established, you can start creating short-form video content that feels organic and speaks to your audience. Even if you don’t have the resources to create brand new content, we recommend you take longer videos and adapt them to this trend to get started.
Example: Below, you can see that the University of Florida has shared videos (YouTube on the left and Instagram on the right) featuring a speech by Olympic gold medalist and UF alumna Erin Jackson delivered during their commencement ceremony. Although the Instagram video was shared keeping the vertical format of the video, another possible way of reusing the video could have been to crop the original YouTube video using a vertical format.
Source: University of Florida
Pro tip: If you wonder, “How do you create a social media strategy for a university?” Start by identifying your goals and target audience, choose the platforms you want to be on, and create engaging content. Finally, monitor your analytics and make changes accordingly.
Need help putting your social media marketing strategy together? At HEM, our experienced social media experts can assist you in navigating the complexities of digital marketing. Reach out to us today to get started!
Leveraging Social Media for Customer Support
With more and more social media users using these platforms to reach out to brands, it is no surprise that companies worldwide are starting to use their social media accounts to provide customer support. In addition, users are starting to use social media to find honest customer reviews–by checking the comments section or looking for videos of content creators reviewing products. Thus, monitoring social media activity is no longer an option but a necessity.
Of all the 2024 marketing trends, this is the trend that might be the easiest to tap into for schools. How? Social media teams will have to start paying more attention to the comments and messages prospective students send to their social media accounts. By doing so, prospective students can promptly acquire the information they seek and ensure that your school’s visibility remains prominent in their digital landscape.
We also recommend using social media affordances like Facebook’s action buttons to encourage prospective students to contact you or book an orientation session, as seen in the example below.
Source: Cumberland College
Additionally, schools might want to see if collaborating with student ambassadors is a possibility for them, as this might help them increase their outreach and connect with prospects in a different way. An excellent way to do this is by creating a student ambassador program that has as its primary goal the improvement of your school’s relationship with prospective students. Such a program should encourage ambassador students to act as representatives and advocates of your school, sharing their genuine experiences and insights. This will add a layer of authenticity to your school’s marketing efforts and resonate more deeply with prospective students, who often seek relatable and trustworthy perspectives when making educational choices.
What to look for: As social media experts, we often wonder, “What is a likely trend for social media in the future?” We anticipate that social media-based customer support will evolve towards AI-driven tools like chatbots and customized support experiences. Thus, we recommend watching new AI-powered tools that might appear this year.
Social SEO to Enhance Visibility and Engagement
We’ve said it already, and we will continue to say it: social SEO, one of the most important digital marketing trends in 2024, will continue to shape how content is created and shared across social media channels. Schools following this trend will benefit from a boost in social media visibility and enhanced SEO performance.
As Gen Zers and Millennials continue to dominate the digital landscape, the importance of social SEO has never been more pronounced. These tech-savvy demographics are prolific social media users and discerning consumers who rely heavily on search engines for information discovery. Because of this, social media search engine optimization becomes a strategic imperative for schools seeking to capture the attention and loyalty of these generations.
Furthermore, social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube shorts rely on social SEO to sort content, allowing their algorithms to prioritize and highlight relevant, engaging material that resonates with users’ interests and search behaviors. For example, TikTok uses a combination of audience understanding, keyword optimization, content relevance, trending elements, language preferences, and content creation methods to enhance the discoverability and engagement of content shared on the platform. So, as seen in the example below, once a prospect searches for “study in Canada,” the algorithm will show content that uses that keyword and suggest similar keywords for the user to explore.
In addition to making your social media content more discoverable, social SEO can boost website traffic and positively impact your regular SEO. If you are thinking about using keywords when creating and sharing content on social media, this is the right time to get started! To begin with, try to discover the keywords your audience uses on the platform. This can be done using the search bar of platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Once you have identified your target keywords, include them in your video titles, descriptions, captions, and even spoken in the video content. This approach helps the TikTok algorithm recognize and prioritize your content in searches.
Social media trends 2024 pro tip: Social SEO has also influenced the implementation of accessibility practices on social media, such as captions, alt text, and inclusive design. Remembering these features when creating and sharing content will make your school’s content rank higher.
Get Ready to Embrace Authenticity and User-Generated Content
For Gen Zers and Millennials, authenticity and social proof hold significant power in their decision-making process. Students want to see schools posting content that resonates with them and feels organic. That’s why authentic content will be among the schools’ most pressing marketing trends in 2024.
To embrace authenticity, it’s advisable to create videos that avoid an overly promotional tone and focus on being creative and in tune with current trends. This kind of content often involves storytelling that connects with the audience personally, showcasing real-life scenarios, behind-the-scenes glimpses, or personal journeys.
Trends such as a day-in-the-life, POV: Student at x university, and generally all content showcasing your school life will help you stay within your prospects’ radar. To assist with user-generated content, your school can partner with student ambassadors. This will help you produce content that resonates more with your audience and gives your followers a more authentic understanding of your institution. You can also consider asking staff members to participate in your marketing efforts, as the London School of Economics has done (see examples below).
Source: London School of Economics
Social Media Advertising
Last year, social media advertising spending was projected to reach $268 billion, indicating a growing trend that suggests this figure is likely to rise this year. This surge in social media advertising reflects the shifting landscape of marketing, where digital platforms have become the epicenter of consumer engagement. The immense popularity of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok has created unprecedented opportunities for businesses and schools to target their audiences precisely and efficiently.
Several key factors can explain the rise in social media advertising:
- The vast user base of these platforms offers advertisers access to a diverse and extensive audience.
- The advanced targeting capabilities of social media platforms allow marketing teams to tailor their messages to specific groups based on interests, behaviors, and demographics—this level of customization results in higher engagement rates and potentially better returns on investment.
- The interactive nature of social media provides a unique advantage. Ads can become a part of users’ social experiences, often blending seamlessly with the content they engage with daily.
In addition, it is estimated that over 28% of internet users use social media to discover new products and brands, and nearly 80% stay on social media to learn more about these products. This trend shifts from traditional advertising models as consumers increasingly turn to social media for authentic recommendations and reviews.
So, if you’ve ever pondered the question, “How do colleges use social media to attract students?” Besides creating organic content that resonates with students, schools usually invest in social media advertising to ensure that their offers reach prospective students.
Example: Social media platforms allow institutions such as Concordia University to strategically place their advertisements across various sections of the platform’s interface, enhancing visibility and engagement. All schools are left to do is to ensure that their advertising campaigns are aligned with their marketing objectives and overall goals.
Source: Concordia University | Facebook
By strategically harnessing the power of social media advertising, schools can showcase their unique attributes, academic achievements, and extracurricular offerings to a wide and diverse audience.