Card image cap

Social networking’s 180 reflects shifting consumer behaviors

When Facebook launched over a decade ago, its original intention was big and bold – to bring the world together and create community. That is warm – and fuzzy and as American as apple pie. Globally, nearly 1.5 billion people log into Facebook every day. The power of the platform to engage and connect people makes it an important resource in the arsenal of any brand.

Even with its fair share of early growing pains, the company emerged as the social networking industry’s proverbial hand that rocks the cradle. Social network site users in the U.S. can’t contribute to snap chat or Instagram without going through Facebook’s platform.

But given the tech giant’s internal culture wars and woes and governmental and PR crises, stemming from security breaches, the company is taking a decidedly about face with its one big global community mission by introducing algorithms that support ‘living room’ communities rather than global ones. This is, by my account, following a trend already in warp speed led by consumers, rather than them innovating and shaping the future.

According to Gina Bianciani, a LinkedIn Influencer, “To be sure, Facebook isn’t going away tomorrow. But in the same way we grudgingly use Microsoft Word with a complete absence of joy, the days of Facebook’s growth and inevitability are behind it.”

So, what does the future hold, not for the hand but for those of us in the cradle?

  1. Podcasts are on the rise – from highly curated, professionally-led ones to the everyday Jack or Jill getting in on the action. Podcast are easier to produce than writing blog content and with the right producer, you can have professionally edited content to drive audiences to your website. Plus, you get to live in the experience economy by meeting new people who are guests on the show and new companies to align with your brand.

  2. Vertical Social Networks – I’ve always been a believer in affinity marketing. Today, vertical social networks are popping up so people who share common interests and shared values can build their own community, personalized and relevant to them. Organizations like ProVisors or 6 Degrees use the power of their people and shared goals to drive business connections and outcomes.

  3. Meetings and Events – The global meetings and events industry is growing across all regions of the world. This is fueling expected increases in size, duration, and budget for meetings. Additionally, companies are recognizing the importance of meetings and events to a company’s revenue and brand. And the growing disappointment of social media are facilitating face-to-face meetings, conversations, to deliver more personal networking opportunities. I wouldn’t be surprised to see in the future that LinkedIn helps the billions of users who have thousands of connections figure out how to leverage those connections through personal experiences.

  4. SMS and Private Messaging Platforms. It only takes observing behaviors to realize that unlike email that may be sent but never opened, when we hear the ding alerting us of text message, most of us jump to see who it is. Companies surely are adding text to their marketing arsenal. This in addition to seeing people move conversations with their family and close friends to iMessage, Houseparty, Marco Polo, and others will undoubtedly continue to grow.

Bianciani also believes that big brands will be the last to jump ship away from Facebook as they have institutionalized ad buying and posting with dedicated teams and budgets, despite low engagement and lack of strategic alignment.

My own two cents on social is we’ll see fewer people aiming to position themselves as thought leaders because people hungry from more thoughtful content, to create that better world Facebook had always imaged.

Want to know what one thing you can do to create community around your brand? Contact us today for a free consultation.