Staying up-to-date with social media in 2024

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The start of a new year often brings with it the illusion of a 'big magic reset button'. This is a notion that everything changes as the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. However, the reality is far from this.

Social media is filled with uncertainties and constant evolutions. This makes it a challenging yet exhilarating space to be a part of. As a freelance social media marketing consultant it’s part of my role to stay up-to-date; it’s essential in ensuring I share the very latest advice with my clients and to help them consider the potential impact on their own activities.

Social media for your business: What to look out for in 2024

Social media for your business: What to look out for in 2024


Where are we right now in social media?

At the end of 2023:

  • Global Engagement: A staggering 61.4% of the global population now uses social media. This is for a multitude of purposes: marketing, messaging, entertainment, and news dissemination, to name a few.
  • Daily Usage: On average, social media users spend about 2 hours and 24 minutes each day on these platforms. 
  • Platform Diversity: The average user is active on approximately 6.7 different social media platforms. This number includes widely used platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and YouTube. Interestingly, despite the introduction of new platforms like Threads in July last year, this figure has remained stable.

It might feel like a challenge to be present on multiple social media platforms – but it doesn’t need to be the case. It’s more important to focus on one or two platforms, that are the best fit for your target audience and internal resources than to stretch yourself too thinly. Given the minimal unique audience of each platform (for instance, only 0.1% of TikTok users exclusively use TikTok), it’s unlikely that you’re going to miss out on anything if you are not everywhere!

The Go-To Resource for Social Media Data

When it comes to staying on top of online trends and social media data – be it country-specific, platform-centric, or online video usage – is an invaluable resource. 

They consolidate data from each social media platform plus key research organisations such as Statista and GWI, providing updates quarterly.

Insights from resources like guide us in understanding user behaviour, helping in planning and decision-making.

User Behaviours

When working in social media, understanding user behaviour is crucial for anyone looking to get results.

Social Search is on the Rise: Among younger generations, in particular, social search is increasingly overtaking the use of traditional search engines. This means that we are now increasingly likely to be discovered via social media; so we need to be prepared for that in terms of how our social media profiles are set up and the content that we share.

Rise in Social News Consumption: More people are turning to social media for their daily news, moving away from traditional sources like radio and TV. For users, we need to learn how to evaluate sources for credibility; for social media platforms, the battle against misinformation and disinformation continues to grow.

Shift in Commenting: Public commenting is declining, with more conversations happening in private spaces like WhatsApp groups and behind the scenes in the DMs of platforms like Facebook and Instagram. You might notice fewer public comments on your content, understand that engagement is not disappearing – it's just taking a different form.

Being attuned to these user behaviours is essential for effectively managing and leveraging your social media presence. It's not just about creating content; it's about understanding how, where, and why your audience engages with it.

Should We Be Focusing On Trends?

While trends are valuable to recognise, and embrace as part of your social media content, their relevance to your business, brand, product, or service, and your audience, is key. This should always take priority.

A useful resource for keeping up with trends is a Google Doc provided by the social media management tool HeyOrca. Updated weekly, this document offers insights into current trends in audio for Instagram and TikTok. It not only lists the latest trends but also provides examples of how to utilise them effectively.

X: The ‘Everything App’

Since acquiring Twitter in October 2022, Elon Musk has introduced significant changes. Despite a 13% loss of its daily app users and a somewhat ‘challenging’ rebrand from Twitter to X, those remaining on the platform are still engaged, according to data from mobile research firm Apptopia. Musk is now focusing on X becoming a video-first platform. The changes on this platform need to be closely watched.

The Rise Of Threads

A notable addition to the social media landscape in 2024 was the launch of Threads, by Meta.

Threads has over 100 million monthly active users, and Mark Zuckerberg has expressed optimism about the platform's growth and its potential to host billion-person public conversations.

Threads has been progressively adding new features, such as enhanced content search capabilities. The platform was also expanded to the European Union in December, although some features like direct messaging are still pending.

While there were initial speculations about Threads being a replacement for Twitter, the user shifts haven't been as significant as expected. Threads appears to be an additional platform rather than a direct substitute.

Again, it’s one to watch in 2024 as it evolves.

Social Media Content Continues To Be Influenced By World Events

We can’t forget that social media continues to be shaped by global events and societal changes.

The need for empathy and awareness in social media content is more important than ever. Understanding the context in which your messages are received is crucial in a world still grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.

Ongoing conflicts in regions like Israel, Gaza, Russia, and Ukraine, and the persisting cost of living crisis, have wide-reaching impacts and influence on consumer behaviours.

This year we will experience several key elections across the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, and Taiwan. These events have a profound impact on social media content and activities, especially for those working in the public sector.

Past elections, like the US elections and the Brexit vote, have demonstrated the significant role social media plays in shaping public opinion and election outcomes. Platforms are increasingly held accountable for their influence and are actively planning for these upcoming elections.

To stay up-to-date with news I recommended subscribing to the sector digests emails from Cision.

The Role Of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

When discussing social media and its future, it's impossible to overlook the obvious role of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI's integration into social media and as tools to support content creation has transitioned from a novelty to almost a necessity in just a short period of time.

Social media platforms are increasingly incorporating AI to curate content. This shift is evident in the prevalence of ‘For You’ feeds, which are tailored to individual preferences, as seen on platforms like Twitter (now X), Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn.

If you have not yet defined how you will incorporate AI into your social media activities, take a look at the guidelines shared by The University of Cambridge as a good example.

Monthly Social Media Updates 

For those keen on staying in the know of how social media is changing, I co-host a live Social Media Update event each month with Andy Lambert. These one-hour sessions are designed to provide an overview of the latest trends, data, and platform updates.

The events are free to attend and recordings are always available.


Upcoming events

IPSE organises, supports and collaborates on over 100 events every year, from practical webinars, networking events and conferences. IPSE sources experts in their field to support the self-employed, with the events covering a wide range of topics.

Upcoming events


Need more help? Self-employment often means having to navigate lots of different websites with no clear source of truth. As the only not-for profit focused on self-employment, IPSE provides impartial and relevant advice on the topics that matter to you.

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Meet the author

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Luan Wise

Chartered marketer and independent consultant

Luan loves to share her passion for marketing. This is done by speaking at events and conferences, through social media (mainly Twitter and LinkedIn) and also her blog.