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Navigating the Social Media Landscape in 2024: A Guide for Outdoor Apparel Companies

Unveiling the Blueprint for Outdoor Tech Apparel Marketing Success in 2024


By Quinn Brasel




Image Source: REI


For many small businesses and marketers, a new year means a new social media strategy (or at least an updated one). After the relative quiet and pause the holidays offer, we’re ready to dive into insights and findings you can apply to your digital platforms.


In this post we cover everything from attitudes about AI amongst different generations, why you should narrow down your social platform choices to utilize only the most impactful ones, and the research behind leveraging social media platforms as powerful SEO sources.


Navigating AI in Brand Identity



Image Source: Filson Instagram


It goes without saying that AI will be the powerhouse of 2024 in many capacities, especially social media. The extent to which AI will be utilized on different platforms is completely dependent on the brand and it's specific goals, however one topic that has to be addressed ubiquitously is how we can redefine authenticity.


A fine line exists between the desire to be efficient but also remaining true to your brand. AI itself is not inherently "good" or "evil", but companies must take into consideration the way in which it contributes to the overall brand experience. If you can't say 100% of your content was created by a human, that's fine, as long as the social experience is authentic to the brand and feels right.


According to Hootsuite social trends 2024 consumer survey, 62% of consumers say they are less likely to engage with and trust content if they know it was created by an AI application. However, Gen Z reports being more confident in identifying real vs. AI generated content , while baby boomers are on the opposite end of the spectrum. This means if your audience is younger, you might have an easier time experimenting with AI.


Ultimately, you should know your audience and have a general idea in terms of how they feel about AI, then use that information to decide which tasks you will delegate. 


A few ways that you can use AI as your creative assistant to work smarter, not harder and save your bandwidth for high-level, creative projects are:


  • Suggest content ideas and even generate text, reducing the time spent brainstorming and writing

  • Create and enhance visuals for social posts, eliminating the need for extensive manual editing

  • Suggest trending and relevant hashtags and emojis


AI clearly isn’t going anywhere, with the biggest increases reported in regards to using AI in the coming year for revising text, editing images and providing customer service. 


Identifying Your Social Media Powerhouses



Image Source: Hootsuite


Working smarter, not harder also applies to social media platform strategy in 2024, and doubling down on the channels that are providing an obvious benefit. Have you ever experienced moments of existential panic when thinking about how much potential content you could/should be creating for Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, Linkedin, X, Youtube, Reddit AND Threads - to name a few? 


Running even one channel successfully requires an incredible amount of planning, creating, communication, and time overall. Maintaining active, engaging accounts on every big platform is a tall order for most teams that aren’t specifically dedicated to it, however this year the prediction is that organizations are going to hone in on the few channels they know work well for them- AND provide significant ROI. 


By taking the time to understand which channels are working for you and which ones would make sense to take a break from, run a social media audit. This way you can strategically uncover the platforms that are draining more energy than providing benefit. You can also run an ROI specific audit using tools through Hootsuite, and compare the results across platforms. 


For example, major social media platforms experienced a decrease in platform use for businesses from 2022 to 2023 including -7% for X, -11% for Pinterest and -18% for Whatsapp. While Snapchat and Youtube didn’t experience any change, Tiktok saw 16% growth.


Not seeing value? Don't be afraid to pivot, even if temporarily. 



Elevating Your Search Presence: Advanced Keyword and SEO Tactics 



Image Source: Search Engine Journal


The emphasis on keyword search and SEO strategies has become more critical than ever. As part of your 2024 strategy, create a well-researched list of keywords that align with your brand and resonate with your target audience.


Crafting content that not only incorporates these keywords but also addresses common questions within your niche is key. Educational content, in particular, holds significant value, as it is more likely to surface in search results even months after its initial posting and remain evergreen.


For Gen Z, the paradigm of information-seeking is shifting towards social media platforms, with TikTok leading the charge. TikTok's integration of Google search results and the incorporation of robust search tools like Keyword Insights underscore its rise as a go-to platform for research, encroaching on the territory traditionally dominated by Google, Facebook, and Instagram. The rising trend of longer-form videos further exemplifies this shift in user behavior. Users are increasingly turning to social networks to find detailed answers to their queries, reshaping the role of content creators who now need to provide in-depth information within the span of two to five minutes.


Notably, major social platforms are adapting to this shift by increasing their maximum video lengths. Instagram Reels can now extend up to 15 minutes, and TikTok is reportedly testing similar capabilities. Twitter's premium subscription allows users to upload videos of up to two hours long, signaling a broader acceptance of longer-form content on social media.


The evolution of social SEO strategies is evident, moving beyond mere keyword optimization in captions and profiles. The focus now lies in addressing search intent while still delivering content that entertains and educates—an approach often referred to as "edutainment." 


As we navigate these shifts, it's crucial for marketers to align their content strategies with evolving user behaviors and platform capabilities to stay at the forefront of digital marketing trends.



Crafting Authentic Connections with Niche Ambassadors



Image Source: Wild Rye


The spotlight that was once on large scale influencers is shifting to “Nano Influencers”, accounts with approximately 1,000-10,000 followers. These accounts tend to generate twice the amount of engagement as macro influencers. What sets this trend apart is their capacity for fostering genuine, relatable brand endorsements, creating a dynamic where businesses can authentically connect with their audience.


By partnering with micro influencers, businesses have an outlet to tap into smaller, niche communities and can be confident their message will resonate with the right audience. You can take the steps to do this by selecting the right influencers. Identify individuals whose follower demographics align closely with your target audience. This alignment lays the groundwork for crafting campaigns that resonate authentically with the influencer's audience, facilitating a more personalized and impactful connection.


Unlocking collaboration opportunities with nano influencers involves a nuanced approach. Employing social search methods entails exploring hashtags, observing influencer activity, and gauging audience engagement. On the other hand, an organic approach involves using specific keywords to refine your search. For instance, rather than a broad search for "top trailrunners in the world," narrow it down to "upcoming trailrunners from the Pacific Northwest in 2023."


This targeted strategy ensures that the influencers you connect with not only have the right follower base but also a genuine interest in the specific niche or topic you're addressing. As brands continue to navigate the influencer landscape, this emphasis on authenticity and precision in collaboration strategies stands as a key driver of success in 2024.


 

As  2024 unfolds, remember that every post, comment, hashtag, video, etc is an opportunity to create a meaningful connection.


Above all else, stay authentic to your brand and if a change is needed- remember there are no hard-and-fast rules about when you're allowed to experiment and pivot.


Stay tuned for actionable insights and strategies to elevate your social media game and leave a lasting impact on your target audience.


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