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Power to the users

The past week has seen levels of disruption to the social media world that were unthought of this time 12 months ago.

First, we saw Snap’s stock market value plummet by $1.3bn after a single tweet from Kylie Jenner, and over the weekend up-and-coming social media app Vero crashed due to overwhelming traffic from users migrating to the platform from Instagram.

How did we get here?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that social media giants Facebook (also owners of Instagram), Twitter and Snapchat have an indisputable market share. Their products are ingrained in our everyday routine. They are the first apps we download to a new phone, and the first apps we open each morning when we wake up. We use them to communicate with each other and promote ourselves and our businesses, simply because their platforms guarantee an audience.

That is changing rapidly. Whilst Twitter is finally making the changes necessary to post it’s first quarterly profit in the company’s 12-year history, Facebook and Snapchat have been getting increasingly complacent with their position in the market.

Snapchat’s recent update, which made browsing the app and finding stories bafflingly difficult, led to widespread condemnation and a 1.2 million-signed petition to revoke the changes. In a disappointing response, Snapchat’s CEO Evan Speigel said,

“The complaints we’re seeing reinforce the philosophy. Even the frustrations we’re seeing really validate those changes,”

“It’ll take time for people to adjust, but for me, using it for a couple months, I feel way more attached to the service.”

The firm’s failure to act on user feedback, however, is spectacularly backfiring in front of our eyes. Kylie Jenner’s tweet and it’s immediate repercussions are proof that social media is ultimately driven by people. People whose support can make or break a business.

The tweet that sent Snap’s stock market value tumbling

Unpopular changes to Instagram’s algorithm, meanwhile, are finally causing users to migrate from the world’s fastest growing platform in search of higher audience engagement.

With user feeds no longer displayed in chronological order, users may not see posts from those they follow for a number of days, and sometimes not at all. This has caused audience engagement to decrease rapidly, with many lamenting their decreased reach and the subsequent negative impact on their businesses.

Somewhat ‘new kid on the block’ Vero caused quite the stir over the weekend, with high-profile influencers sparking a mass sign-up to the platform in protest. Vero promise a more authentic experience focused on features that are in the best interest of users. They claim that their feed is displayed in un-manipulated chronological order with zero advertising. And, significantly, no one needs to splash out in order to reach their audience.

The mass exodus’ of Snapchat and Instagram clearly show a desire for straight-talking authenticity, and most importantly a platform that puts it’s users first. Whether the social media giants listen and act upon this most disparaging of feedback remains to be seen.

What about us marketers?

The changing social media landscape presents marketers with both challenges and opportunities.

It is vital to keep a close eye on industry news and trending topics, along with real-time discussion about social media platforms.

A decrease in the possibilities to generate organic reach on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram require us to think outside the box when targeting new customers.

At the same time, new players such as Vero can present incredible opportunities during their early days of popularity and user growth.

As ever, it is all about keeping your finger on the pulse and adapting your strategy accordingly in order to achieve the best possible results for clients.