Now well into their teen years, social media platforms are in a phase of adaptation and experimentation, one that will have significant implications on the future of digital marketing and advertising for many years to come.
This new phase is overdue, as events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the rise of misinformation have permanently marred the impression that the public and brands [LD1] have of social media. Trust in these digital public forums is at an all-time low, and governments worldwide are deciding when and where to step in.
Change is a necessity for these major platforms as market share slowly erodes and competitors look to capitalize. With these forthcoming shifts comes inevitable concern for the brands that rely on these platforms to communicate with, and promote to, an audience. So what can brands do to flourish in a time of digital tumult?
Realize the Value of Strong Creative
Among the greatest casualties of the increasing distrust in social platforms has been tracking and targeting tools for advertisers. Apple’s updated privacy features, Google’s forthcoming elimination of cookies and recent EU rulings on data collection have forced platforms like Facebook to pare down their targeting offerings for advertisers.
Strategies that relied heavily on demographic targeting are not as viable. To combat this, brands need to double-down on their voice and image. Without hyper-niche targeting tools, bold, relatable creative that resonates with the intended audience is the most efficient way to elevate engagement.
In short, good creative is becoming more valuable.
Practice Brand Yoga
Even though Elon Musk’s Twitter deal is currently up in the air, significant changes are expected to come to Twitter, regardless of the company’s public status.
While cultivating a unique brand voice is crucial for success, an unforeseen algorithm change can break the most robust social media plans. For that reason, campaigns and tactics must remain flexible.
Campaigns still need to be planned out to maximize effectiveness, but it’s imperative to be able to pivot those marketing efforts on a dime if needed. As such, social marketers must be in the know about all social news and platform updates and breaking news and happenings around the world. To further support strategy shifts, marketers should be in the habit of utilizing more than one social platform to allow for execution flexibility and possess out-side-the-box thinking skills to reach key audiences in unique ways.
Brands that have a clear vision and goals for their presence on a social platform are at an advantage when these shifts happen; they need to evaluate if the new tools are of use to them or if they are better off sticking to their existing plans.
The fastest-growing social media platform in history, TikTok, has made a much-awaited change to its creator compensation policies. Since the app’s rapid rise, creators across platforms have pointed to TikTok’s monetization as its most noticeable shortcoming, offering those who get millions of views a fraction of what they would earn with a YouTube or Twitch account.
Raising pay for creators will inevitably lead to more content, as individuals who previously couldn’t afford to make their content a priority will now have the resources necessary to do so. Seeing this latest policy change, Meta has also raised their compensation standards for Reels creators in hopes of poaching talent from their main competitor.
More professional creators and content on these apps mean more competition for brands; many will need to increase their budget for influencers. Although they may have less elbow room, more micro- and nano-influencers in the space will make it much easier for companies looking to use this ephemeral video content space to partner with voices that consumers trust. Recurring use of these influencers will lead to brands owning larger, more engaged audiences.
Among the findings of our Brand Longevity Study performed in partnership with The Harris Poll was that more than three-quarters of CMOs who participated in the survey felt that greater investment in social media would enhance their company’s overall marketing strategy. As these platforms evolve to fit the needs of an audience who doesn’t trust the way they used to, a strong brand voice, adaptive strategies and a willingness to partner with trusted creators are among the most valuable tools brands can hold.