In the Age of Facebook’s Decline
Is Social Media Marketing Dying?
Have we finally reached the point where a blogger such as myself can spin a prophetic doomsday scenario about the death of Facebook? Well no, not exactly. The mega-corporation Facebook is still alive and will continue to play a key role in our social media experience, probably for decades to come. Sorry to disappoint. However, as an advertising agency that specializes in millennial marketing, we have noticed some interesting trends that need addressing.
Why Are Teens Leaving Facebook?
Obviously, advertising on Facebook still works, and depending on your target audience, can be incredibly lucrative. But what if I told you that a large swath of your potential audience is intentionally hiding from you?
Perhaps I am being flippant, this probably isn’t new information to you, a few years ago article after article started appearing about how Facebook has lost its ‘cool’ factor with the younger audience as the site was becoming crowded with parents and other members of the Gen X and Baby Boomer cohorts that resulted in very real statistical data showing teens were opting out of the Facebook experience and moving to newer forms of social media such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter (although Twitter is also showing the early signs of decline. I’m not pointing any fingers, but we all know who’s responsible.)
Yes, I am fully aware that Facebook owns Instagram, which drives home the point that Facebook is aware of the issue and that their solution is to diversify into new, more popular forms of social media. Nevertheless, Facebook as a platform finds themselves in a precarious position, which brings me to the connection that I believe few have made.
What does it mean to have Social Media Account for a Job Applicants?
During the same period of articles that showed the decline in teen subscription rates, other articles started to appear about the willingness of companies to use Facebook as a means to vet potential job applicants. Hopefully, you are starting to connect the dots. I shudder to mention the general consensus that most businesses form when they realize that a job applicant doesn’t have a facebook page. Essentially they come to the conclusion that you are either hiding something or are incredibly anti-social. With many of these teens soon to enter the job market, it is going to cause many companies to reevaluate these foregone conclusions and find new means to evaluate potential candidates.
“But Ryan!” You scream at the cell phone you are most likely reading this on, “That’s what LinkedIn is for!”
First of all, chill out, if you are in a public space you look like a crazy person. And my response is, ‘Exactly!’ Gone are the days of the catch-all social media platform designed to appeal to the largest possible audience. Now we enter the days of the specialized social media environments, catered to a specific demographic. Facebook, in its constant pursuit to be everything to everyone, have created a platform that is too informal to be a business recruitment tool and too stuffy and uncool to be a place of youthful expression.
Metaphorically speaking, Snapchat has become the trendy bar down the street, LinkedIn is the networking event happening next door, and Facebook is the family reunion you’re going to hungover in the morning. I think it is imperative for Facebook to define exactly what it wants to be and stick with it, stop trying to be Snapchat, stop trying to be Linkedin, just be you, and we’ll love you for it I promise. Even if it is just a place to like your cousin’s baby photos.
What is Social Media’s future?
This doesn’t have to be a frightening time for businesses and it is certainly not the end of social media marketing. In fact, there are many benefits to having audiences already aggregated to a platform. I remember when I used to wonder if future generations would grow up in an environment so saturated with social media that self-worth would be inseparable from ‘likes’ and number of ‘friends’. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard GenX’ers claim that they are the last generation to value face to face interactions and so on.
The truth is I’ve had conversations with very young people who have made poignant remarks on the need for real human interactions, and they often turn the argument back on a world that makes them feel more and more pressured to engage in social media, that is, if they want to find a job. Well, I have good news, that dystopic future everyone was going on about a few years ago seems far less likely to come to pass. Yes, Facebook, social media, and social media marketing are here to stay, but the emerging generation seems far less willing to simply be complicit in Facebook’s domination of the market; they’re demanding diversity and competition in the realm of social media, and diversity and competition are always good.
written by Ryan Rockwell Thomas