Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – they and other social media platforms are a common part of modern day-to-day life. In fact, social media has become so commonplace that we forget it hasn’t actually been around all that long.
Much like a growing infant, social media is continuously changing and developing. The way most major platforms look today is worlds apart from how they looked just 3-5 years ago. And as appearances change, so too do behaviours and priorities.
In their current forms, there are a few things that stand out across many of the major social networks...
Engagement is everything
It might sound like stating the obvious to say that the primary objective of all social media platforms is to engage users. After all, isn’t the key aim of any service provider to generate leads by encouraging potential customers to interact with them?
However, the big difference between social media networks and most other service providers is that the objective of Facebook and its competitors is to encourage their users to engage not with them, but with each other. In other words, if you want to become popular and remain so on social media then you need to consistently post content that people will want to engage with (Like, comment, RT, share etc.)
Blurring of the (time)lines
If you’re a real SM junkie and use a variety of platforms, you may have noticed that many of them are adding an increasing number of common features. For example, Stories used to be exclusively a Snapchat feature, but now Facebook and Instagram have adopted them as well.
But what’s caused this outbreak in uniformity? Well, the answer is really quite simple: The major social media platforms have become so well established that, instead of trying to stand out, they’re now copying the most popular features of their competitors in an effort to attract the biggest audience.
Don’t be surprised if you see more and more similarities cropping up between the major platforms in the coming months and years.
Privacy is paramount
If you work in any kind of office environment then chances are you’ve heard the letters G, D, P and R uttered in quick succession so many times it’s made you want to bash your head against the nearest solid surface. Unsurprisingly, the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) guidelines have had a significant impact on social media.
You probably noticed around late May/early June this year that your social media apps and favourite websites were all of a sudden asking for you to agree to a bunch of new terms and conditions. Well, that was basically all because of GDPR. Thankfully, it didn’t require you (the user) to do much except click a few ‘Accept’ buttons.
Of course, it’s probably worth knowing exactly what your rights are when it comes to the digital use of your personal information. You can find out all you need to know at ico.org.uk.
If you want some expert tips on how to grow your social media audience, this free guide should prove useful.