Be it building brand reputation, connecting with customers, or getting more eyes on your products and services, it’s undeniable that social media plays a pivotal role in all of this. However, the landscape of social media is constantly changing, which means your marketing strategy needs to evolve along with the trends.
The U.S. edition of the State of Social Media Report 2024 by Meltwater gives unique insights into the ever-changing realm of social media and digital marketing. Let’s dive in!
Meltwater is a SaaS media monitoring company that uses data to help brands innovate. Their goal is to inform global brands about the latest trends in the real world and help them unlock their competitive edge. Their suite of solutions include media, social, and consumer intelligence, as well as social listening and analytics, data and API integrations, and influencer marketing.
In order to compile this report, Meltwater surveyed 650 marketing and communication professionals from the U.S to get an insight into their practices, preferences, and perspectives on the state of social media and influencer marketing. Company types ranged from B2B and B2C to NGOs and agencies. Although responses came from people of all seniority levels, most of the respondents were directors, managers, and marketers.
Key Insights and Takeaways From The State of Social Media in The U.S. 2024 Survey
Among the survey respondents, the majority of them (nearly 23%) had 11-50 employees in their organization. Around 22% of the companies had 1000+ employees, while 19% had 51-100 employees.
Despite the varying company sizes, the majority of the organizations had very small social media teams (1-5 members) with limited resources allocated for social media programs.
Insights on Social Media
When asked about the status of their social media strategy, 34% of the respondents said that they had a social media team, but didn’t have a defined strategy yet. 26% had a social media strategy, but lacked the resources to execute it, while 17% did not have a social media team at all. Only 20% had a full-fledged strategy mapped out.
However, despite having small teams, 44.6% of the respondents believed that social media will play a more important role in 2024, while 44.2% say that it will play an equally important role. This shows that most of the organizations understand the importance of social media in marketing.
Among the reasons for using social media, raising brand awareness was the most popular (51%), followed by increasing brand awareness and connecting with customers. A few other reasons given by the respondents included acquiring new customers and establishing a thought leadership position.
The respondents revealed that brands preferred using Facebook the most for social strategy, followed by Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and X (formerly Twitter). SnapChat, Reddit, and Twitch were among the least used platforms.
However, the priority focus is shifting in 2024. A majority of the people (77%) stated that they plan on investing less time and money on Facebook and X. Instagram and LinkedIn have become the priority platforms, followed by TikTok and YouTube.
When it comes to the main social media challenges companies face, team bandwidth ranks the highest, followed by fighting the algorithm, lack of creative resources, and having no defined social media strategy.
More than 76% of the respondents said that all the social media management efforts are carried out in-house. This means that teams consisting of only 1-5 people are taking care of the entire social media program at the majority of the companies. Only 5.6% of them said that they outsource more than 50% of the work.
Out of the ones who do outsource their social media needs, advertising was outsourced the most, followed by video and content production.
More than 71% of the responders revealed that their organizations use social media scheduling tools, with 7.5% of them having planned to incorporate this into their strategy.
Despite the rapid growth of AI, nearly half of them said that AI wasn’t important for their strategy. Among those who did use AI, inspiration and creating copy were cited as the main reasons. However, 55% of the respondents do plan on using AI in 2024.
41% of the teams plan on keeping their social media budget the same, while 33% want to increase their budget.
Insights on Social Listening
Social listening allows brands to create better strategies by letting them know what customers think about their brands. 45% of the respondents agree that social listening plays an important role in their social media program, with 13% of them planning on implementing it in 2024.
The main reasons companies are investing in social listening is to understand their target audience, manage brand reputation, raise brand awareness, gather consumer insights, and effectively manage crises. The majority of the teams also consider Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and X to be the best platforms for social listening.
As a part of social listening, the most commonly tracked metrics are brand name, hashtags, industry keywords, and product mentions. However, many brands also revealed that they track relevant influencers as well as their competitors.
The main goal for brands when it comes to consumer research is using the data to create more engaging content and improve the performance of their campaigns. 49% of the respondents also plan to increase the time and resources spent on social listening in 2024.
Insights on Paid Social
71% of the respondents revealed that they do run paid social ads, with 44% of them agreeing with its importance in the upcoming year.
Facebook and Instagram were the preferred channels for running paid ads, followed by LinkedIn and YouTube.
Among paid ads formats, single images were preferred by 89% of the respondents, followed by video and carousel.
Insights on Influencer Marketing
Surprisingly enough, only 18% of the respondents said that they had an active influencer marketing program. The majority of them (62%) stated that their organization currently doesn’t work with influencers, but around 15% of them are planning to start in 2024.
Among the ones who did use influencer marketing campaigns, raising brand awareness was the primary goal, followed by increasing followers and sales. Most of them also worked only with 1-10 influencers on average.
Instagram emerged as the most popular platform for influencer marketing, with 46% of the teams preferring it. Facebook came in second. In a shocking turn of events, YouTube turned out to be one of the least popular platforms.
When asked about the budget allocated for influencer marketing campaigns, only 22.6% of them claimed that they will increase it in 2024, with almost 43% of them stating that they were still unsure.
What This Means for Social Media Marketing in 2024
Despite having very small or no social media teams, most of the brands recognize the importance of social media in marketing. As more and more of the younger generations move away from traditional marketing, social media and influencer marketing will play an even bigger role in the upcoming years. So, if you don’t have a dedicated social media strategy, the time to invest in it is now!