What’s trending now?
Major social media networks, including Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook report declining numbers of users or flat user growth. It’s being dubbed “peak social”. Over half of regular users (55%) say compared to a year ago, they find themselves using social media a lot less, according to new research from Regina Corso Consulting.
There’ve also been changes in social media behaviour. People are turning to platforms for information and are posting less. Engagement with Facebook posts of major brands dropped more than 50 percent over the last 18 months, according to research from Buffer and BuzzSumo.
Concerns such as privacy, fake news and too many ads are among the reasons for the growing exodus of consumers from social media platforms. Furthermore, many users, especially younger ones, are finding some platforms uncool, especially if they are being used by their parents.
Why it’s important
The plateauing of social media is, at this stage, not a cause for huge concern for marketing and communications professionals. This is because the social networks still reach millions of people. However, communications professionals will need to consider fresh strategies that tailor their messaging and delivery for unique audiences on different platforms.
They will need to take into account that while some consumers are leaving social media completely, others are turning to closed messaging platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger instead of making public broadcasts.
“What people seem to be clamouring for more and more is community, whether it’s going to private group chats on existing platforms like WhatsApp groups, or going to new platforms that have emerged,” says Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, the social news aggregation and discussion website.
What’s the butterfly effect?
Two apps that are going to become increasingly popular are Discord and Telegram. They are messaging apps with voice call capabilities that offer good alternatives to traditionally popular messaging apps. Discord has a specific focus on gamers who want to talk to one another while they are playing.
Online social gaming, such as Fortnite, has become an alternative to socialising through social networks. The wildly popular online video game has evolved into a place that’s not home or school, where kids can get together and socialise on their own terms. It’s the new mall.
Nextdoor, now active in around 169,000 neighbourhoods in the US, connects you with people who live nearby. This allows you for example to buy or sell used furniture, throw a street party or take care of local issues like potholes. Once you’ve made a few friends, their posts will begin populating your Nextdoor news feed, an experience much like using Facebook. Need a babysitter at short notice? Spotted a crime that your neighbours should be aware of? Nextdoor could be the answer. The website has indicated it will be available in South Africa at some point.
MeWe is a blockchain-based messenger with an emphasis on privacy and anonymity. The emphasis on user data protection and security means that users do not need to worry about who sees what they share. Their data is their own.
Telegram is a cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed. Developed in the UK, it is almost a like-for-like substitute for WhatsApp, with many of the same features. It was the first mainstream messaging app to offer its users encryption and has similar privacy credentials to WhatsApp.
The global hot spots?
The world wide web
By Faeeza Khan
Faeeza Khan is curious about the world around her and what the future holds. This is what attracted her to working in the trend space. Her role as Operations Assistant at Flux Trends ranges from general office management tasks to Public Relations. She manages the media appearances of the Flux trend experts and ensures that the broader public stays informed of Flux Trends research through social media
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Image credit: Christian Wiediger