Will Twitter’s troubles and Facebook’s fading make room for a massive mastodon adoption by brands??
Twitter’s troubles and Facebook’s fading should be a wake up call for every brand manager.
Relying on centralized social networks that live off selling their users’ eyeballs to the highest bidder may have been convenient but came at a steep price. Not only has it allowed them to centralize access and extract a monopolistic toll on brands’ communications with their fans and customers, they also may prove to be surprisingly short lived. And if they disappear all the investment in building a community there will evaporate, too.
Many brands will get a painful reminder of the ancient principle not to build your house on someone else’s ground.
Just A Blip
While the social media giants seem ubiquitous and inevitable now, their period of relevance for brands is actually pretty short. Facebook existed since 2004, but didn’t really become relevant as an commercial communication platform until after it’s IPO in 2012. Twitter’s relevance for brands started 2013 with Lisa Mann’s tweet about Oreos during SuperBowl XLVII.
If the current troubles indeed spell the end of their relevance if not existence, this gives these platforms a period of less than ten years of relevance. That is not more than a blip in the life of a big brand. So brands, having seen the potential of having a global community will look for more stable ways to keep in touch with their fans that doesn’t require them to go back to the start when the centralized social network of the moment goes out of fashion.
Feet of Clay
Don’t think the downfall cannot happen. It can and it can happen fast. Friendster, MySpace, Hi5 and many others seemed to be there to stay, maybe even unstoppable at the height of their popularity but are now either dead or damned to lead a zombie existence. The writing is on the wall for the current behemoths, too.
While Facebook’s parent company just announced a big wave of layoffs, Twitter is being gutted and thrown in uncertain waters by Elon Musk’s acquisition. TikTok, the most obvious potential escape target increasingly faces questions about its data and moderation policies given its ties to an increasingly repressive Chinese jurisdiction.
This should make brands, already skittish after Apple’s improved privacy controls tanked the return on their Facebook ad investments, think very hard on where and how they want to communicate with their customers and fans. Do they want to pour time and money into platforms that can disappear or lose relevancy over night?
We are already seeing massive shifts. Companies that relied heavily on Facebook are already massively de-prioritizing it in their ad budget, some from over 75%.
Own Your Social Graph
At their core, brands are social networks. All value of a brand is derived from the people who value it, trust it and advocate for it. It is only natural to give these people a place to organize themselves.
Examples like Sephora show that this can be a great asset, but it took them literally millions of dollars to create an interior social network. Fortunately every technology is commoditized sooner rather than later and for brands looking for a place to nurture their community, a solution ready to take up is already out there. Catapulted into the mainstream consciousness by Twitter users skeptical of Elon Musk’s intention, Mastodon is a mature and battle-tested solution to build your community on.
Brand managers used to depending on public social networks should consider what life would be like with an embedded network of passionate brand advocates. An embedded Mastodon instance in your brand might be worth it.
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