Since the rise of social media in the early 2000s, threats to our privacy have increased — and it’s not completely our fault. According to Pew Research Center, 91% of Americans ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they’ve lost control of how personal information is collected and used on social media. Such public platforms are useful for businesses that use social media as an outlet for marketing (as they should be!), so how can we utilize these platforms while keeping privacy in mind?
In 2018, a scandal emerged involving Cambridge Analytica, a company that offers tools that can identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior. They were hired by a presidential campaign to acquire our personal information through Facebook profiles — the American public was outraged and Facebook’s credibility immediately dropped by 66% (NBC). Scandals such as this — and the regulation that followed — have left social media users concerned about their personal data. Despite this concern, the share of U.S. adults that use online platforms remain statistically unchanged. We’re still using social media, but according to Facebook’s creator, Mark Zuckerberg, we’re using it differently.
Before you panic about losing your social media exposure, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other “public” platforms will continue to play an important role — and will for the distant future as long as they work alongside parallel messaging applications. Striving to stay ahead of the game by keeping up with social media trends is imperative for your business’s ongoing success.
Below are some strategies and tips on staying ahead of the curve:
Move toward messaging. Identify a messaging platform that you and your customers will use.Facebook-owned platforms WhatsApp and Messenger now have more users than Facebook itself! On WhatsApp, brands can advertise by integrating ads into the app’s new Status section, which offers a similar advertising strategy as Instagram and Snapchat. This means ads will appear mixed in with friends’ stories. Additionally, consider utilizing messaging as an important inbound marketing tool — as, according to Hubspot, bots, a computer program that automates certain tasks — typically by chatting with a user through a messaging interface — are the future of marketing.
Reduce Permanence. Even in messages, your customers will value their privacy. It may be helpful to delete all messages after a month or a year by default. Exemplified by the rise in popularity of multimedia “stories” that last 24 hours, users feel more comfortable putting content out if its shelf life is limited.
Speaking of “stories”, according to Sprout Social, it’s best to start incorporating them into your strategy if they aren’t there already. WhatsApp and Messenger have incorporated the feature into their platforms, along with Snapchat and Instagram who have offered this feature for years. Stories are a collection of images and short videos, with optional overlays and effects, that a user can add to over time. These snapshots can be viewed for just 24 hours and have evolved from basic, behind-the-scenes features to branded storytelling snippets. You can post advertisements, brand highlights, polls, or even fun images for your customers to view and interact with.
Get personal. Social media users are more likely to trust people over brands. As services move more toward private platforms, there must be no doubt about who you are and whom your customers are speaking to — be transparent!
Lastly, stay vigilant. Zuckerberg says messaging is only the beginning of this social media shift — broadcasts and viral posts are being joined by earnest, personalized interactions. While you’re adapting your strategy to best reach all of your customers, remember that valuable deliverables, such as engaging content and brand representation, will remain vital in social media marketing. Social media marketing is an extremely effective tool. If your business is interested in navigating the current social media landscape, or needs assistance managing your messaging and other social media strategies, Contact THOR SOCIAL | Digital Marketing Agency for a free 15-minute consultation.