There have been a number of privacy concerns surrounding the world’s most popular social media platform for quite some time. Though users are still engaging with Facebook in high numbers, there is also a significant percentage of people who are deciding to delete or deactivate their accounts. The way we use social media as end users and individuals has begun to change and though this platform used to be an essential for all businesses, especially those who operate online, the mass exodus of users suggests that this may not be the case for much longer. Though social media will probably always a play a large part in the digital marketing landscape, the rise in online conflicts, hostility and relentless targeted advertising has begun to drive people away. In this article, we discuss some of the potential alternatives that digital marketing professionals can use to engage with their potential clients in 2020.
In terms of engagement and visibility, Twitter is still an extremely effective way to promote your brand and interact with potential customers or industry professionals. The issue with the platform in 2020 is that it can be just as toxic and volatile as Facebook. Trolls, bored furloughed workers, and malicious bots can create an unusually hostile atmosphere that is far from being conducive to effective digital marketing. The key to using twitter effectively is to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to any kind of deliberately aggressive or abusive behaviour. Rather than engaging with people who set out to deliberately cause problems for you, simply block them, and move on. No explanation is needed and though this may seem quite brutal, it will save you a lot of wasted time and energy. Customer service accounts will need to be slightly more considered, but if a disgruntled customer becomes abusive on your public timeline, it is perfectly reasonable to block them for violating twitter’s terms and conditions. Abusive behaviour and deliberate attempts to cause offence or upset are not permitted and you are well within your rights to simply disengage from hostility or unreasonable behaviour online in the same way you would in the real world.
LinkedIn is still a popular platform, but it is vastly different to general social media due to it is work related focus. Recruiters, employers, and other professionals use the site to make connections with other people in their industry, celebrate their achievements and promote their services. The drawback of LinkedIn is that it attracts an extremely specific type of person and although it is popular, it does not have the same kind of reach of something as ubiquitous as Facebook or Twitter. For digital marketing professionals who work with business to business content, it can be great. Blogs, videos and even links to livestreaming conferences can all do very well, providing your page has enough connections to warrant sharing regular content. As the focus of this platform is on individuals, rather than businesses themselves, content should be professional, but still personal enough to be engaging.
Instagram continues to go from strength to strength and for those who work in visual marketing, it can be a cornerstone of any digital campaign. Though the primary focus of this platform is photographs, videos and livestreams, the textual content can also be important. Links to external sites, other social media platforms and even online stores can all be included relatively simply, and the targeted advertising options mean that you can potentially engage a large number of relevant users at any one time. There is now the option to link your Instagram account to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, a technique many marketing professionals use to avoid engaging with them directly. Posts can be published across several platforms, meaning that you can still enjoy the kind of engagement you would expect from the Facebook, without having to physically log in to the site itself. There are very few downsides to Instagram unless you work in an industry that does not use much video or photo content.
As one of the newer platforms, Vero is still relatively unknown when compared to the more established household names, however it is gaining traction and has over 10 million users at the time of writing. The main attraction for many of its users is the chronological feed. Since the algorithms for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram changed, prioritising content based on a series of unknown variables, many people have become sceptical about the way the social media giants operate. Vero markets itself as the “truly social network” but it can be used quite effectively by businesses, too. The major drawback of this platform is the cost. Thought it was free for the first million users, there is now a charge to use the service. This will not be an issue for some users, but for many, it instantly deters them, forcing them to move on to another platform. Vero is definitely worth exploring, but for now, it is not a realistic alternative to the more well-established social media platforms.
Another of the newer platforms that has garnered some attention from frustrated Facebook users is MeWe. The American based platform is being hailed as a more private alternative, which is an attractive prospect to those who are tired of being tracked online everywhere they go. Though there is no direct advertising such as banner ads or sponsored links, MeWe does allow users to pay for business pages. You cannot be intrusive with your marketing here, but you can still share content and potentially engage with your audience. The ethos of MeWe is quite different to most social media platforms and some more traditional businesses may find this a little unusual or even self-defeating. The other drawback is the lack of users when compared to the vast number of potential customers that can be found on things like Facebook. Like Vero, this is definitely a platform worth exploring, but it will take some time before it carries the same kind of weight as the more established household names.