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Social media is as popular as ever, but the landscape has shifted considerably over the past 15 years. Like any teenager, it eventually grows up and has to face the hard realities of adulting! From data protection to explicit content, there are many issues that must be confronted by social media platforms.
Social media marketing is still an important business channel but it needs to shift to align with this new age. We’ve outlined some of the reasons why social media marketing needs to adapt and evolve.
Privacy scandals are continuing to test user trust
When people spoke about Facebook ten years ago, it had an image of collaboration, trust, friendship and building safe connections. Fast forward to 2019 and this social media platform, as well as social media more generally, is marred by data scandals and major trust issues.
People are no longer as trusting online as they once were. Even if your brand has a strong social media presence, this may not be enough to convince your audience that you are legitimate and not just out to steal their data. Social media advertising should be a key part of your strategy, but you should also look to create a trustworthy organic presence – nothing is more important in an age of instant distrust.
Gen Z know all about influencer/brand relationships
It’s not easy marketing to Generation Z. They’ve grown up on Instagram and YouTube. They know all about influencers, and all about the brands who send them product for free or pay them to promote their goods. They’re wise to the intricate mechanics of these relationships and will not be afraid to call out social media posts that seem inauthentic.
While influencer marketing can still be useful, it’s more important than ever to understand your audience. Only look at those influencers who you know will get a good response from their audience. As well as relying on influencers, you should also focus on consolidating your brand into something that Gen Z can relate to, by ensuring your purpose is front and centre in your brand communications.
“Fake news” means people no longer trust as easily
platforms were once viewed as a great place to share information. While they still are to a certain extent, the increasing prominence of “fake news” and “deep fakes” has created an unreceptive audience. “Fake news” is more than just an expression of outrage by Trump – many people are rightly concerned that what they are being told on social media is fictitious.
It’s important for your brand to find new ways of generating trust online. Link to well-known and credible resources, speak up about important issues and show a genuine presence in an era of pretences.
There are concerns over the safety of children
Another aspect that social media marketers must now consider is the safety of children. Social media is already being linked to growing mental health issues and provocative online content can be blamed for causing unhappiness in young people.
With that in mid, safety must be a priority. While some marketers have traditionally used shock tactics to gain traction, we must all think carefully about how our content might impact a young audience. If you are too caught up in promoting images of perfection or unachievable goals through social media marketing, the negative impacts of this may well come to light.
It can be tricky navigating social media in an age where it’s so frequently linked to false information and underhand dealings. However, it still plays an incredibly important role in all of our lives and is still a valuable tool for communication.
Social media marketers today need to be authentic and offer valuable, honest content to maintain trust. Focusing on gaining trust and moulding your voice to best fit your audience will be much more effective than trying to create an “idealised” version of the world.