Social Media Platforms — learn from the past, say ‘Hello’ to the future…?

The word around town, or rather my high school’s courtyard, was this cool new thing that allowed you to befriend strangers, school friends, and most importantly, My Chemical Romance and Panic! at the Disco (these are bands). The exciting marvel was this shiny new thing called MySpace…the year was 2004. A whole lifetime ago!

Those were simpler times, where every middle and high schooler was learning HTML on their own because we all wanted glitter raining down our profile, and to have a different song playing every time someone checked out our page. It truly was a magical time, where you were guaranteed to always have at least one friend (we miss you, MySpace Tom).

According to Appleton, between the years 2005 and 2008, MySpace reigned supreme above all. It was the most visited social networking site in the world, even surpassing Google in June of 2006 as the absolute most visited website in the United States. And thus began a new digital media renaissance of sorts.

But then, good old Facebook came along, and with that our HMTL skills were part of a bygone era. Like MySpace, many social media platforms have come and gone, some stay, and succeed, while others are just making their grand debut. Because of this, new skills, fields of study, businesses, products, and services, have been born from this new renaissance. As a marketer, brand, and social media user in general, a question that is commonly asked every time a new app pops up is —

Should I jump right in, or should I wait until it’s proven to be a successful platform?

Here’s the truth, your brand does not need to be on every social media app. And with that said, it does not need to jump right into every new application that hits the market. Last year, the big hype was TikTok (and don’t get me wrong, it's huge now), and right now it's a new application called Clubhouse. However, no matter how exciting it may be, a lot of research should go into making that determination. Assessing your target audience, and if it lines up with the demographics you reach, is essential.

Here’s what I would say, regardless of whether you will end up using the platform or not, going in and grabbing those coveted names and handles is the way to go (and your future self will thank you). According to Go Daddy, “you should grab your coveted name now — even before you create your business, launch a website, or even register your domain.”

So, should my brand jump right into the cool new thing? These are some tips Forbes recommends to keep in mind when using social media to build your brand, and therefore can also help in deciding on whether to jump into a new site or not:

  1. Does it offer the capability to find, join, and/or reach the right groups for your niche?
  2. Does it allow you to be consistent across all of your social media platforms?
  3. Another site to add to your social media editorial calendar, will you engage regularly on it?
  4. It is a new means of diversifying your content?

Though we may be eager to jump in at the opportunity of reaching potential new audiences, the Forbes Technology Council advises that “if your business is centered on being trendy or socially active, or your work is focused on social media channels, then you will want to be an early adopter of new social platforms.” However, it is best for the rest of us to wait until a clear value has been established for this new platform. Testing and researching are paramount, first.

Like my old friend, MySpace, there have been many social media platforms that have come and gone, and with them, something new is always learned (miss you too, Vine!).

So what’s the current hot new thing, that middle and high schoolers rave about in their Zoom classrooms? That would be the new and ever-popular TikTok giant.

Influencer Marketing Hub provides a good snapshot of all things TikTok, like what works and what doesn’t, how brands can leverage it, but it starts with the simple question of, ‘What in the world is TikTok in the first place?’, and here is your answer: “a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic.” TikTok has sky-rocketed in popularity in the past year, and the pandemic helped it raise its user count, stuck at home doing nothing but creating “dance” videos. But, what is TikTok but another close relative of the now gone (RIP) Vine application?! In my opinion, I do not believe TikTok will reach the ranks of say Facebook or Instagram, but it is a different type of platform. And to keep this momentum, TikTok must continue innovating and creating new ways to keep its massive audience engaged, if not it will end the same as its predecessor. It also needs to become more marketing-friendly, like FB and IG are, and be able to capitalize on brand engagements to stay strong in the social media game.

But, what’s your opinion? Should brands jump right into new platforms? Do you use TikTok and will it survive?

| Learning & Development Consultant | Social Media Curator | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Champion | Disney Magic Maker | Mother & Wife | She/Her/Hers |