Fresh Social Media Trends for Local Businesses Right Now 

05.14.2024 Nick Zinkie7 min

Running a small or medium-sized business (SMB) is tough enough without the added pressure of keeping up with the ever-changing social media landscape. This guide is your one-stop shop for the top social media trends in 2024, all explained in a way that won’t make your head spin. 

We’ll break it down into bite-sized pieces, show you how to use these social media trends to your advantage, and even throw in some creative ideas to get you started. So, grab your favorite beverage (because trust us, this info is fire!), and let’s dive into these top social media trends. 

Trend #1: Social Selling is BOOMING! 

TL;DR: Social selling is about building relationships, not being “sales-y.” Offer valuable content, be yourself, and engage with your audience to convert them into loyal customers.

Remember those awkward “sales-y” posts that made you cringe? Yeah, those are out. Social selling is all about building relationships and making genuine connections with your audience. Think of it as having a friendly chat with a potential customer over coffee, but virtually (because pajamas are comfy for meetings, right?). 

Why it’s awesome for SMBs: Building trust and rapport with your audience is key to turning them into loyal fans (and customers!). Social media provides a platform to showcase your expertise, personality, and the value you bring. Plus, people are more likely to buy from someone they know, like, and trust. 

How to rock it: 

  • Focus on providing valuable content by sharing helpful tips, industry insights, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into your business. 
  • Be authentic and personable by letting your brand personality shine through! Show your audience the real you, and don’t be afraid to have a little fun. 
  • Respond to comments and messages promptly to show your audience that you care and want to build stronger relationships. 
  • Run targeted social media ads to reach a wider audience who might be interested in your products or services. 

Bonus Tip: Leverage live video features on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to host Q&A sessions, product demos, or behind-the-scenes tours. It’s a fantastic way to connect with your audience in real-time. 

Trend #2: The Rise of the Customer (and Their Reviews!) 

TL;DR: Happy customers with positive reviews are your social media goldmine! Focus on exceptional customer service, encourage reviews, and respond to all feedback (positive and negative) to build trust and attract new customers

In today’s digital world, customer reviews hold immense power. People trust recommendations from their peers way more than any fancy marketing message you can throw at them. That’s why it’s more important than ever to cultivate a community of happy customers who are raving about your brand. 

Why it’s awesome for SMBs: Positive reviews can be a game-changer! They build trust, credibility, and ultimately attract new customers. 

How to rock it: 

  • Provide exceptional customer service to gain happy customers and glowing reviews. Go the extra mile to ensure your customers have a positive experience with your brand. 
  • Encourage customer reviews by making it easy for customers to leave reviews on your social media pages, Google My Business listing, and other relevant platforms. 
  • Respond to ALL reviews, thanking customers for positive comments while taking ownership of negative ones. Publicly apologize for any shortcomings and explain how you’ll address the issue to improve. 

Bonus Tip: Find opportunities to leverage your customer’s voice by showcasing positive reviews on your social media channels. You can do this by reposting their content or by integrating reviews into your content posts. This is social proof that others love your brand, and it can encourage potential customers to give you a try. 

Trend #3: The Power of User-Generated Content (UGC) 

TL;DR: User-generated content is authentic marketing gold! Run contests and challenges to encourage user participation, and don’t forget to re-share and celebrate the awesome content your audience creates.

Move over, influencers! There’s a new star in town, and it’s your very own customers! User-generated content (UGC) refers to any content (photos, videos, reviews) created by your audience that features your brand. 

Why it’s awesome for SMBs: UGC is authentic, relatable, and trusted by consumers way more than traditional marketing messages. It shows potential customers how real people are using and loving your products or services. Plus, it’s basically free advertising! 

How to rock it: 

  • Run contests and giveaways encouraging users to share photos or videos using your product with a specific hashtag. Offer a prize for the most creative or engaging entry. 
  • Create social media challenges related to your brand and encourage users to participate by posting videos or photos. This is a great way to boost engagement and brand awareness. 
  • Re-share user-generated content to your social pages to show your audience some love when they post content featuring your brand. Be sure to tag the creators and thank them for their contribution. 

Bonus Tip: Create a dedicated UGC highlight reel on your Instagram profile. This is a fantastic way to showcase the love your brand receives and inspire others to participate. 

Trend #4: Short-Form Video Takes Center Stage 

TL;DR: Short-form video is HOT! Experiment with creative video formats, keep it concise, leverage music and trends, and add clear calls to action to capture attention and spread brand awareness.

Short-form video platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels are exploding in popularity. These bite-sized videos are perfect for grabbing attention and keeping audiences engaged. 

Why it’s awesome for SMBs: Short-form video allows you to showcase your brand personality, products, and services in a fun and creative way. It’s a fantastic way to reach a wider audience and go viral (hello, potential customers!). The best part? You can get started with lo-fi content shot on your smartphone!  

How to rock it: 

  • Experiment with different video formats like Tutorials, product demos, behind-the-scenes glimpses, funny skits – the possibilities are endless! 
  • Keep it short and sweet with videos under 60 seconds to hold attention. 
  • Use catchy music and trending sounds to help your videos get discovered by a wider audience. 
  • Add clear calls to action by telling viewers what you want them to do after watching your video, whether it’s visiting your website, checking out a product, or following you on social media. 

Bonus Tip: Partner with micro-influencers in your niche to create short-form video content. This can help you tap into their audience and reach a wider range of potential customers. 

Trend #5: Building a Thriving Online Community for Your Niche 

TL;DR: Become the go-to resource for your niche, spark conversations with interactive content, and show genuine appreciation to your community. This combination creates a thriving online space where your audience feels valued and connected, ultimately fostering brand loyalty and happy customers!

Remember that feeling of belonging to a club or group that truly gets you? That’s the magic we’re aiming for with your social media presence! Let’s ditch the one-way messages and build a vibrant online community specifically for your niche audience. 

Why it’s awesome for SMBs: Building a strong online community goes way beyond likes and comments. It fosters brand loyalty, encourages engagement, and provides valuable customer insights. Think of it as your own personal fan club, cheering you on and offering ideas to help you grow! 

How to rock it: 

  • Identify who you’re trying to reach. What are their passions and challenges within your industry? Make them the center of your content efforts. 
  • Share informative blog posts, explainer videos, or industry quizzes focused on sparking engagement and position yourself as a trusted expert. Don’t be afraid to brag (a little)!  
  • Utilize platform features to your advantage like polls, surveys, stories, and live features (Q&A) to keep your audience engaged. Ask open-ended questions instead of a yes/no snoozefest, and get the conversation flowing by encouraging thoughtful responses. Feedback directly from your audience will help you tailor your content and offerings to their specific needs. 
  • Celebrate community wins! Recognize birthdays, milestones, and acknowledge the contributions of your audience members. This makes them feel valued and strengthens the sense of belonging. 
  • Hosting live events (or co-host with complementary businesses) with Q&A sessions, behind-the-scenes tours, or even fun challenges can be a fantastic way to interact directly with your audience and expand your reach. 

Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to inject some personality! A sprinkle of humor or relatable content can go a long way in building a strong connection with your community. 

Trend #6: Go Behind the Scenes with Fly-on-the-Wall Content 

TL;DR: Show, don’t tell! Give viewers a peek behind the curtain with fly-on-the-wall content. Focus on entertainment, transparency, and using live features for maximum engagement.

Ever wonder what goes on behind the curtain at your favorite brands? Social media users crave authenticity, and fly-on-the-wall content delivers! 

Why it’s awesome for SMBs: Transparency builds trust and allows viewers to feel connected to your brand. 

How to rock it: 

  • Create short documentary-style videos that take viewers on a tour of your workspace, introduce them to your team, or showcase the process behind your products or services. 
  • Focus on entertainment by keeping it light and engaging! Use humor and storytelling to make viewers feel like they’re part of the action. 
  • Offer a glimpse into your daily operations and don’t be afraid to show the “real you!” This transparency builds trust and fosters deeper connections. 

Bonus Tip: Experiment with live video features to host behind-the-scenes Q&A sessions or impromptu tours. 

Trend #7: Get Your Meme On with Headless Content 

TL;DR: Don’t be afraid to have a little fun! Headless content uses humor, memes, and current events to create a relatable brand voice and drive engagement.

The final feature in our social media trends list is less scary than it sounds. Social media is all about conversation, and headless content helps you join the party! This approach uses humor, memes, and current events to create a relatable brand voice that resonates with your audience. 

Why it’s awesome for SMBs: Headless content injects personality into your brand and sparks engagement beyond simple content consumption. 

How to rock it: 

  • Stay up-to-date on current events and trends using them as inspiration for your content, but be mindful of staying relevant to your industry. 
  • Embrace humor, gifs, and memes as a way to connect with your audience on a lighter level. 
  • Utilize platform-specific features like polls on LinkedIn, quizzes and questions in Instagram stories, or encourage discussions on X (Twitter). 
  • Offer a taste of your brand voice by injecting personality into your content to make it feel more relatable and approachable. 

Bonus Tip: Partner with micro-influencers in your niche to create co-branded memes or humorous content that resonates with your target audience. 

By incorporating these top social media trends into your marketing strategy, you can effectively reach new audiences, build stronger relationships with your customers, and ultimately grow your community. Remember, the key is to be authentic, engaging, and provide value to your audience. 

Want to stay ahead of the curve and get exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter where we share even more social media trends, marketing tips, industry insights, and bonus resources to help you stand out from the competition.  

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About the Author

Nick Zinkie

Nick is the Sr. Performance Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team with over 8 years of experience designing and implementing digital programs within B2B, B2C, and D2C (DTC) environments. He started his career as a web designer/developer and is passionate about telling compelling stories that help connect customers to brands through digital experiences. Outside of the digital world, you can find Nick having dance parties with his cute little toddler Cora, supporting his favorite soccer team Atlanta United, and enjoying a fresh cup of coffee.

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