From Myspace to the TikTok app (opens in new tab), social media has exploded over the last 15 years. A digital space with almost no rules, or a true definition of what it is and where it’s going. It was the unknown, and still is.
Fast-forward to 2021, and social media is mammoth, with huge personalities presenting to an even bigger audience, insane data and gurus. New platforms seems to spring out of nowhere (see our guide what is Clubhouse? to learn about the latest). With all this change, structure, and specialised careers coming out of the past 15 years, there is one thing you should know – social media will always change, and you’ve got to move with it.
Where is social media right now?
1. Facebook 2.3 billion
2. YouTube 1.9 billion
3. Instagram 1.0 billion
4. Qzone 531 million
5. TikTok 500 million
Right now, as a brand or person of interest entering into social media for the first time, it may be daunting. How are you meant to compete with those giants who seem to have it sussed? Social Media works in mystical ways – okay, not so mystical, but more on the algorithmic, ‘understanding your audience and finding your voice’ side of things. This article will explain those in more detail.
Although these giants may have teams of creatives, copywriters and strategist, you will always have your personality. No large team can recreate that. Being authentically you has never been more desirable, and enables your audience to create a more meaningful connection to your brand.
You don’t need to bring them into your personal life, but let them see you, hear you, and find out what you stand for through your content and tone of voice. Don’t be scared to push those boundaries. How far you push is up to you. Not every piece of content or story will be a home run, and that’s okay.
It will take time to build up a network of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. So don’t be discouraged – it may also be that you are just not telling it in the right place or to the right people. Keep looking for your audience. They may be in places you don’t expect.
The question that comes up all the time is ‘how do you measure success?’ This has had people up in arms figuring out what’s important. What do you want to achieve from your content? Was it to grow your audience or create engagement? Let the intention be the measurement of success, and not your engagement rate or like for like.
Social media is powerful, but it can be incredibly fickle. Don’t let your stats entirely define what to create. If something doesn’t work, go back and look at why. Review, rework, re-publish and review again. Once you are able to determine what your audience enjoys, where they are and how you would like to show your personality, build on that. Social media is all about escalation.
Read on for a closer look at each of the big players, and how to use them to build your brand and grow your audience.
Next page: Facebook