Although there is some debate about when social media first ‘arrived’ (some say it was 1979 with the arrival of Usenet, others 1997 with the launch of Six Degrees) there is no argument that it has evolved at a staggering rate over the past twenty years. Inevitably, some social platforms have moved with the times, while others have been caught lagging.
Facebook is undoubtedly the king of social media, but whilst its market share remains at an enormous 67.73% (source: Statcounter), user activity on the platform is on the decline. With a huge number of contenders such as Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, just to name a few, it’s easy to understand why people aren’t as active on Zuckerberg’s giant as they once were (and that’s without throwing recent privacy scandals into the mix!).
Content has also developed massively and techniques that were once unimaginable are now common practice. The rise of video, for example, has given businesses, brands and users a whole new medium with which to communicate. That said, static imagery remains hugely valuable and can be just as engaging as video when done well.
One challenge that businesses and brands face when planning their social media strategy is knowing which platforms are the most appropriate for them. Twitter, for instance, is a place for discussion and talk, whereas Instagram is more suited to the art of showing off and self-promotion. Determining where you need to focus your attention and resources can be challenging in an increasingly dynamic sector.
As virtual and augmented reality nudge their way further into technology and social media, platforms will have to adapt or face being left behind. Social commerce will develop into pathways we never thought possible, a bit like we’re already experiencing with Instagram, where you can buy a product straight from a picture. The days of searching the web looking for items to buy may well be over for the younger generation.
As content and media types develop, so will platforms. One of the strongest newcomers in recent years is TikTok, which has fully embraced video. It has gained traction and is seeing its user base increasing daily. With worldwide exposure and a whole host of young and tech-savy users, TikTok is a platform that isn’t going away anytime soon. Perhaps it’s another string to add to your social media bow?