There’s no little doubt that Social Media plays a huge role in our daily lives. Many of us have multiple accounts on sites such as Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with the wider world. Each site offers its own peculiarity to keep us engaged and each can be used in a variety of ways as marketing tools for online and traditional business. Knowing how to keep ahead of the competition is a tricky business in a marketplace that is notoriously difficult to get right.
Oftentimes, social media giants come out of nowhere and can be adopted by tens of thousands practically overnight. So where now for social media and what lessons can be learnt from recent history?
MySpace was once the giant of social media. It had tens of millions of users worldwide and was famous for its flexibility in use. Users could upload their favourite songs, videos and pictures to their profiles and each looked strikingly different from the next. Glitter texts and gaudy backgrounds were par for the course on a site that was hugely popular with the young and young-at-heart. It was notoriously expensive to run because of the features that it provided- each profile could take up far more data than any Facebook page ever could. It was bought out by Rupert Murdoch just as its powers were waning and has since becoming something of a dead duck – relying recently on a ‘re-launch’ by Justin Timberlake. The mistake and the USP were one and the same – too many features.
Facebook is far and away the most popular social media site right now and has held this crown for the last few years at least. It grew out of the bedroom of the now famous Mark Zuckerberg who wanted a way for his classmates to keep in touch. Seeing the mistakes that MySpace had made, Facebook set tight controls on how much each user could adapt their page. This has led to many format ‘revamps’ which has, at times, had users up in arms – alas there was nothing they could do.
Recently this giant was floated on the stock market at a hugely inflated price but this didn’t put off many investors who jumped at the chance to own a slice of this phenomenon – just as many are doing to get their hands on Android TV’s and other smart gadgets from Visopix.com. The problem now facing Facebook is how far it’s willing to monetise its popularity by way of marketing. Many users are sick of being advertised to via social media but since half the world is on Facebook there seems little option but to stay.