Future of social media: Exploring new trends and the evolving role of AI
October 11, 202310 min read
A few decades back, at a time when the internet was still finding its feet, a visionary named Andrew Weinreich laid the foundation of what we now know as social media.
Inspired by the “six degrees of separation” theory, Weinreich created Six Degrees, the world’s first social media platform. Though Six Degrees itself folded in 2001, it laid the foundation for a digital landscape that would soon be taken over by social media platforms.
Over the years, the social media domain has evolved in ways that Weinreich himself might not have imagined. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) has sneaked into every aspect of our digital lives, and nowhere is this more evident than in the growing role of generative AI in marketing and social media management.
Remember the first time you had a conversation with Siri or Alexa? It felt like an earth-shattering innovation, didn’t it? But there was something missing. The responses were often robotic, devoid of any real human touch.
ChatGPT changed all that.
With the emergence of AI tools like ChatGPT, we’ve gone way past just liking, sharing or tweeting posts, signaling a significant shift in the future of social media. From generating creative ideas and drafting content to assisting with homework and editing documents, ChatGPT has become the go-to assistant for internet users all over the world. Not just that, the conversations on social media with ChatGPT-powered bots are quite natural, and filled with laughter, empathy, understanding.
Who would have imagined, right?
As we’re on the brink of something new, it’s hard not to get all hyped up. The rapid adoption of AI and AI-powered platforms highlights the growing demand for more human-like interactions in the digital world.
It’s not just about convenience anymore; it’s about developing connections, authentic connections to be precise, especially on social media. And as AI continues to get smarter, consumer expectations for more meaningful interactions on social media platforms will grow too.
With this in mind, let’s now take a look at some of the emerging trends shaping the future of social media.
- Social media trends in 2023 and beyond
- Trend 1: The increase in new social media channels
- Trend 2: AI and big data — the new power players in town
- Trend 3: Seamless shopping takes off with social commerce
- Trend 4: The rise of the creator economy
- What’s the future of AI in social media?
- Generating arresting visual and text content
- Improving social media ad management and optimization
- Elevating brand campaign monitoring with logo detection
- The double-edged sword of deepfakes is getting sharper
Social media trends in 2023 and beyond
From the inception of Six Degrees in 1997 to this year’s new launch, Threads, the social media landscape has evolved in unimaginable ways.
Now, at the fag end of 2023, we stand on the cusp of a new era defined by the rise of AI, the proliferation of new channels, the growth of social commerce and the booming creator economy and influencer marketing scene.
Trend 1: The increase in new social media channels
Today, the social media sphere is so saturated that each platform is fiercely competing for a share of your screen time.
But the existing platforms are wrestling with a host of issues — from privacy concerns and misinformation to outright consumer fatigue — fueling a need for fresh and unique experiences. This has paved the way for niche platforms, tailored to specific interests and communities, to gain a foothold by offering personalized and authentic experiences.
But mainstream platforms aren’t far behind. They are constantly innovating by adding new features and functionalities to stay relevant. This whirlwind of activity makes for an exhilarating user experience but presents a significant challenge for brands.
As social media platforms get inundated with content, engagement levels will likely plummet, making it difficult to capture customer attention. In such a scenario, brands both big and small will have to confront a critical question: How can they stay ahead of the curve and cultivate meaningful interaction and engagement across an ever-expanding array of platforms? This question will remain central to the future of AI in social media and the overall future of social media.
Trend 2: AI and big data — the new power players in town
AI and big data have started transforming social media. No longer just buzzwords, they're now tangible forces, revamping and making our online experiences richer and better.
Through AI bots, brands can field and resolve thousands of customer queries in an instant. AI algorithms personalize online content, making our digital experiences more intuitive. And let's not forget about data — it's the golden ticket for brands — revealing everything they need to know about consumer demand and behavior patterns.
This means a gamut of opportunities for your brand. You can optimize your marketing strategies, create thoughtful content and make a bigger impact on your audiences.
As AI and big data become part and parcel of our daily lives, there are growing concerns regarding privacy, ethics and the potential for misuse. Marketing experts are waving a red flag, warning against AI and automation replacing human input entirely with AI. It could mean losing that human touch so essential to bringing creativity and strategic thinking to the table. So you need to tread carefully, using AI and data responsibly and ethically.
Trend 3: Seamless shopping takes off with social commerce
The lines between social media and e-commerce are blurring, creating a new paradigm: “social commerce.” Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have cleverly integrated shopping features, making it easy for users to discover and buy products without ever leaving the app.
It’s a win-win for everyone — consumers enjoy a hassle-free shopping experience, and brands can seize this opportunity to grow their sales and revenue. As this trend gains momentum, recalibrating your e-commerce strategy and leveraging social commerce should take precedence. This will drive sales and boost customer loyalty, all while keeping the trust of your customers as the cornerstone of your social commerce strategy.
Trend 4: The rise of the creator economy
The rapid growth of the creator economy is arguably one of the most significant developments in the digital realm. Creators, once seen as hobbyists or influencers are now recognized as valuable contributors to the economy. Platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram have created opportunities for creators to monetize their content and build their own mini business empires.
Recent research suggests that there are now over 50 million content creators worldwide. And that number is just going to keep growing!
Influencers and creators have become the new publishers in brand media plans. They will be getting more time and budget in the coming years. For example, Instagram has even launched an initiative called 'Born on Instagram' to encourage Gen Z to step into the creator role and monetize their content. And guess what? For brands, this presents a great opportunity to collaborate with like-minded creators, tapping into their social clout and reach to connect with a broader corss-section of the audience.
What’s the future of AI in social media?
Artificial intelligence is drastically changing many aspects of our daily lives, and its influence is particularly evident in the world of social media. It's behind everything from auto-moderating content and tailoring recommendations to the advertisements we see in our social media feeds.
According to Datareportal, about 4.48 billion people worldwide are active on social media. Moreover, over 150 million new users joined social media in the last 12 months. With such growth in social media users, the need for AI technology to understand customer behavior is also rising. Additionally, the AI market in social media is expected to reach $3.71 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 28.77%.
In the coming days, AI technology will continue to enhance features of social media platforms and drive activities across various use cases at scale. These include text and visual content creation, social media listening and monitoring, advertisement management, influencer research, brand awareness campaigns and more. Here’s a sneak peek into the future of AI’s influence on social media.
Generating arresting visual and text content
Generative AI has got the whole world talking and leverages text-to-image, image-to-video, image-to-image and other types of algorithms to create captivating and unique content such as images, videos, music and text. One notable AI-driven content creation tool that gained significant popularity this year, apart from ChatGPT, is Lately, a tool that continuously analyzes your already published social media posts to generate the most impactful content for your campaigns.
Another trend that has made the headlines in the field of generative AI is Lensa AI. While the app has been around for a while, its "magic avatars" feature recently took the internet by storm. Utilizing the Stable Diffusion model, Lensa crafts life-like images from text input and creates stylized avatars that blends in seamlessly with pre-existing images.
Lensa, along with other generative AI models, has stirred up quite a storm on social media, showcasing its potential to produce captivating content across a spectrum of categories.
Improving social media ad management and optimization
AI can optimize ad management on social media platforms.
With AI-powered tools, you can analyze many variations of ad targeting and budgeting. In addition, you can sort audiences, craft ad content, test ads, and improve execution and results in real time. Also, marketers and social media pros can tweak ads for more clicks and conversions. AI helps by predicting the most effective language and figuring out the best content to create. It does this based on the keywords potential buyers use when they search for similar products and services.
Elevating brand campaign monitoring with logo detection
AI is transforming the way we search for images by using computer vision technologies. Many brands are using logo detection to analyze images featuring their products on social media platforms. AI-powered tools can help your brand monitor how often your brand or product logo appears on social networks.
As visual content becomes more and more popular on social media, analyzing the use of brand images and videos, getting insights about brand mentions on social media and checking the visual content for brand logos become important.
The double-edged sword of deepfakes is getting sharper
Deepfakes, where AI is being used to create hyper-realistic videos of real individuals saying or doing things they never actually did, have caused a major stir on social media.
While it's undoubtedly a boon for the entertainment industry, allowing the revival of past legends for new shows and the creation of movies featuring all-star casts from different eras, there's more to this phenomenon than initially meets the eye. Deepfakes can be used to spread fake news, manipulate opinions or even commit fraud. And as technology gets better, this challenge is only going to get bigger.
From what we have recently experienced, the future of social media may turn out to be a bumpy ride.
As new social media platforms continue to emerge at an unprecedented rate, breaking through the noise of the ever-expanding socialverse will demand not only ingenuity but also dedicated effort.
But where exactly is social media heading? Well, it is quite evident that AI and social media will need to work in tandem to improve both marketing operations and campaigns. From content creation and optimization to influencer marketing, ad monitoring and social commerce, AI will continue to help you get more value out of social media customer engagement strategies and open up new avenues, helping you transform the way you market across social networks.