5 Social Media Trends Your Students Should Know

Social Media Trends in 2024: 5 Things You Should Teach

Social media is one of the most popular channels used by marketers. That’s no surprise when you find out that there are over 5 billion global social media users according to Datareportal which equals 62% percent of the global population!

If you’re an educator teaching marketing or digital marketing, social media should be a key focus in your curriculum. 

It’s a channel that not only has a huge reach but it is a channel that can be targeted to drive engagement and generate leads. Plus it also allows companies to build and nurture loyal communities.  

That’s why your students need to know the current and upcoming social media trends in 2024. In this blog, we’ll look at five of the most important: 

  1. Long-form video content is making a comeback
  2. Social media networks are becoming search engines
  3. Social commerce continues to grow
  4. User-generated content enhances authenticity
  5. Social media and AI are getting more complete


1. Long-form video content is making a comeback

In recent years video content has proved popular on social media channels. In fact, The 2024 Content Benchmarks Report found that 54% of marketers say video is the most valuable content type for achieving social media marketing goals. 

What’s interesting this year is the type of video that’s popular. Platforms like TikTok, YouTube Shorts and Instagram have made short videos a great way to connect with an audience (and go viral), but long-form videos are making a comeback. 

In Dec 2023, the king of short video content TikTok, launched the Creativity Program Beta which enables creators to collect rewards for longer video content (up to 15 minutes). In fact, TikTok content creators posting videos over one minute noticed a 5x surge in follower growth compared to those focusing on short-form content. 

“It’s a lot easier to monetize content when it’s longer-form … there are more possibilities with ads and monetization,” (including ads that run before or during videos), Scott Kessler, technology sector lead at Third Bridge told CNN.

This doesn’t mean students should ignore short video content as it’s a great format to engage consumers. What it means is that students should experiment with and think about how to use longer videos for storytelling and as a way to impart information about a product or service.  

2. Social media networks are becoming search engines

While people want to be entertained on social media, they also search for information. That’s made social networks become search engines, particularly amongst younger users (think GenZ). 

HubSpot found that despite the dominance of Google (which still exists) 31% of consumers use social media to find answers to their questions.


The reason for this shift is that many people use social networks daily and the algorithm aggregates related content. This makes social the perfect place to find authentic or user-generated content that’s tailored to a person’s interests or values. 

While TikTok seems to be the frontrunner as a search engine, people use Amazon to search for products, Instagram to keep up with trends and Snapchat to find local businesses via its Snap Maps. So what does this mean for your students? 

To leverage social media networks as a search engine, there are a few things your students should know how to do: 

  • Use social listening to track brand mentions
  • Experiment with social SEO
  • Conduct a social media competitive analysis
  • Research what an audience is searching for

Using social media as a search engine is still evolving so getting ahead of this trend should help your students stand out from peers when it comes to job seeking. 

3. Social commerce continues to grow

Social Commerce is estimated to reach $2 trillion by 2025 according to a Deloitte report, with 18% annual growth which is influenced by:

  • New shopper journeys
  • Trends
  • Influencers
  • New shopping formats (e.g. live streaming or AR shopping)
  • The metaverse and virtual worlds (e.g. NFTs)

This growth creates huge opportunities for brands to use social networks for sales and offers an improved customer journey. For example, it can be used to bridge social platforms with web commerce and physical stores or enable ‘in- app’ transactions.

What this means is that marketing graduates need to understand the power of social media from a commerce perspective. Great examples of successful channels in this space are Facebook Shops, Instagram Shopping, Pinterest Product Pins and TikTok Shop. 

As Martin Wolf, Director of e-Commerce Enablement at The LEGO Group said: “At the LEGO Group we see (social commerce) as a chance to connect with our shoppers through more relevant, valuable, and engaging ways while also welcoming new audiences to the LEGO universe. That is why we are looking into enriching our consumer and shopper experiences with capabilities such as interactive shopping, conversational commerce, and product tagging across our owned channels.”

4. User-generated content enhances authenticity

There’s no content more powerful than that from a satisfied and loyal customer. That’s why user-generated content (UGC) works so well and is valued by brands across industries as a way to attract and influence consumers. 

A survey by EnTribe found that 83% of people are more inclined to buy from a company that shares real customer content. Top brands realised this early on and focused on UGC campaigns like Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign or #AsSeenOnMe from fashion retailer ASOS. 

As consumers get more selective about who they buy from, UGC can give a brand the edge. That’s why students need to understand how to not only use UGC but also generate it. Remember that written testimonials can be just as powerful as photos or videos.  

Simple ways to generate UGC on social media are:

  • Ask for customer feedback 
  • Create a unique hashtag
  • Hold a competition or contest
  • Start a challenge
  • Set up an ambassador program.

5. AI and social media are getting more complex

Artificial intelligence is not a new trend for social media. These platforms have been using AI to some extent for years to deliver content that’s relevant through its algorithms. 

What is new is the complexity between AI and social media. What that means is that brands can use the technology to get more insights about prospects and customers and target those groups more effectively. It can also help enhance personalization and create compelling, SEO-optimized social media content. 

Even if your students are not looking to be Social Media Managers, they need to understand AI’s impact on the channel. After all, AI tools can enhance features and help scale social media activities through text and visual content generation, influencer research, social media monitoring and ad management.

The key is to encourage your students to use AI tools, whether that’s ChatGPT or Jasper for creating social content, HypeAuditor to find influencers or Buffer for social listening. Experience like this will help students stand out from the crowd when it’s time to land job interviews.   

Equip your students with hands-on experience and skills

Social media is just one of the many channels marketers use to generate leads and increase sales. Our simulation-based training can help give your students real-life experience of the many digital marketing tasks and tactics they need to succeed. 

Register for a free digital marketing simulation demo today and see why universities, schools, and learning providers trust our simulation solutions.