Social media platforms have been getting more acrimonious for a very long time. This has arguably had a damaging effect on social cohesion, individual psychology, and on a different note, marketing opportunities. It’s an unfortunate fact for web service providers that one of the costs of doing business today is dealing with the negativity that pervades major social media platforms.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that most businesses can’t simply walk away. While individual users of Facebook and Twitter can log out or delete their profiles altogether, companies and brands can’t do the same unless the public starts taking that route in droves. And that’s just not very likely to happen. Plenty of people are fed up with the leading social media platforms, but it’s rare for their aggravation to rise to a level that actually leads them to abandon all its benefits and sources of entertainment, information, or even addictive behavior.
Of course, the main thing that’s holding those people back from a dramatic change in their online activity is the simple fact that there aren’t a lot of options. At least, there traditionally have not been many options. But the internet is a place where everything lingers forever and yet nothing lasts for very long. The major social media platforms aren’t going anywhere, and any changes in their popularity will most likely be very gradual. But new players can enter the game at any moment, and their rise can be meteoric.
The recent growth of TikTok is a great example. Although the micro video-sharing site has been around for a while, it is only in the past few years that this social media platform has taken off to the point of being something that you have to be familiar with in order to feel like you’re plugged into modern internet culture. Its proliferation has also given rise to marketing opportunities, with some analysts predicting that it will be the venue for the next evolution of social media marketing.
TikTok may indeed have a special role to play when it comes to marketing to a broad segment of the population, especially younger demographics. But there may also be other social media platforms emerging which represent a different approach that marketers will be able to take in the near future. These are niche social media platforms, built around a specific shared interest or professional affiliation, and offer the promise of audiences that are already inherently interested in certain kinds of branded messaging.
There’s a great deal of value in that, and it lightens the load on web service providers when it comes to analyzing social media platforms and trying to zero in on where to target a marketing campaign. The trade-off to this is that it could make copywriting more difficult, in that users of these platforms will naturally expect a higher degree of expertise, and will be able to judge whether a branded message lives up to that expectation.
But there’s another benefit to the growth of niche communities, and it may especially exciting to marketers who are fed up with negativity on the giant social media platforms. Niche communities are a kind of throwback to the earliest days of the World Wide Web, and people who have been online for a long time will tell you that those communities often managed to avoid negativity by developing a sense of close camaraderie and strong shared identity. There’s no guarantee that the same will prove true over the long term now that people are used to yelling at one another on Facebook and Twitter, but if there’s a chance of feeling more at home online while also getting your branded message out, wouldn’t you take it?