3 Trends That Prove Social Media is Growing Up
To those steeped in the traditions of the publishing business, it may sound a bit odd to talk about the maturation of social media, which in many ways is still in its infancy. Yet social media is indeed growing up before our very eyes, and the changes we're seeing have important implications for publishers, marketers, and agencies. I've been helping companies effectively use social media technology for nearly eight years, and I'd like to share some of the important changes I'm seeing.
It's All About the "Feed"
Remember just a few short years ago, when Facebook started to take off? Marketers (aka, your advertisers) clamored to get on Facebook. Those early efforts generally consisted of repurposing a website, adding some hoped-for viral elements, and turning it into a Facebook "tab."
But of course creating a landing page experience -- even one with social sharing functionality -- never really matched the way consumers use Facebook. Consumer attention is focused on the newsfeed, which is a scrolling feed of updates from the friends and pages that they follow. And to be relevant to a social audience, that is where your content needs to be. Tabs have largely been redesigned out of existence.
Twitter has always been "feed-focused," as are other social networks such as Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. With the possible exception of YouTube -- which is essentially a landing page for videos -- most social experiences are feed-based.
Attention Is Increasingly Hard to Get
Again, we'll start with Facebook. With 1.28 billion monthly active users, and with roughly half of those users logging in on any given day, Facebook has aggregated an immensely attractive audience. Facebook users -- whether individuals or pages -- are publishing more content at the same time that users are friending and following more people and pages. This has a multiplier effect and results in an increasing amount of content competing for what is essentially a fixed quantity of attention. This may explain why Facebook developed its Edge Rank algorithms to try and surface the content that they judge to be most relevant to users.
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