You’ve probably noticed that there have been a lot of changes on social media platforms of late.
- Twitter got a famous new owner and celebrities are quitting the platform, but it was already losing the interest of some of its more active users before the sale.
- An industry-wide slowdown leads Meta’s Facebook to layoff 13% of its workforce (11,000 employees)
- The FBI Director says that TikTok raises national security issues pertaining to national security over data concerns. India already banned it last year, along with 58 other Chinese apps.
If you can’t make heads or tails of what’s happening, Zoetica Media founder Kami Huyse explains what’s going on and how to successfully navigate it all.
Decrease in Trust
According to the most recent Edelman Trust Barometer, there has been an overall 8% global drop in trust in the last ten years.
This is in part due to people’s wariness about the information and content they’re presented with online. Widespread attempts at online manipulation and the proliferation of fake news over the past few years, which social media platforms have been unsuccessful in completely reigning in, have caused people not to know what to believe anymore.
Fortunately trust isn’t completely gone. It remains comparatively high with regard to members of one’s local community, one’s boss and co-workers, and – somewhat surprisingly, but pleasantly so – in national health authorities and scientists.
Social Media Fragmentation
Back in the early days of social media, people out of necessity flocked to the same platforms. Now, with a big increase in choices, it’s become a fragmented landscape.
Young people are gravitating towards newer social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and SnapChat, while Facebook has taken a nosedive with this younger demographic, as have Twitch, WhatsApp, Reddit, and Tumblr.
TikTok appears to be the big winner at the moment, with a quarter of U.S. adults under the age of 30 getting their news there. TikTok is also making inroads with older age groups, for example in the travel tips and recommendations space.
Twitter, meanwhile, doesn’t seem like a stable or reliable option for anyone right now since its acquisition by Elon Musk. The platform is going through an extremely painful period, with even advertisers reconsidering their presence there.
How To Manage The Change
If you’re wondering what this means for you as a professional communicator and the clients you serve, Kami recommends focusing on three main areas: Community building, creating engaged content, and following your audience to where they are.
“I don’t care what platform you’re on,” says Kami. “There’s a lot of possibilities outside of the traditional [social media] channels for community, but for you and for brands, what I would say is that you need to start creating that community with people.”
Another important part of this is creating engaged content. “This is about you connecting with the people that are in your current community,” she explains. “Even more [important] than me making content and putting it out there is me going out and proactively engaging with you and your content.”
Additionally, Kami reminds everyone that “knowing where your particular audience is at any given time is super important.” Knowing how social media algorithms work is a part of this too. She explains that on LinkedIn, for example, “the algorithm only works if you make proactive outreach… [you] can’t just come on here and livesteam once a week and expect to have a lot of engagement. You have to come on and engage all the time.”
Furthermore, she points out that “people want to deal one-on-one with people they know. People are looking for people they know, like, and trust.” The takeaway here is that “you can be as a brand somebody they know, like, and trust if you have engagement with them.”
Engaged Content Is the Key
Just throwing content out there won’t do the trick. It has to be engaged content, which can include anything from short videos and podcasts to email and permission messaging (like ManyChat).
The goal should be to build relationships at scale. “That’s the hardest part right now, building these relationships at scale, and that’s what you have to do in order to win this game,” says Kami.
Brands don’t do a good job of proactive connecting with their audiences, she points out, so there is a tremendous opportunity here to break the mold.
“You need to be answering every question [someone asks you on social media], you need to be sharing other people’s content because when you share that content, you are absolutely giving the person who created that content a dopamine boost and creating a relationship with them.” Because it happens so rarely, “people get very excited when a brand talks to them.
To learn more about how you can break through in today’s changing social media landscape, watch Kami’s entire livestream here.