Social Media: The Value of Thinking Small
In the era of Facebook, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that not everything has to be enormous. While I do believe that Facebook (and its trendy younger sibling Instagram) have achieved a scale that has completely kneecapped Snapchat, the value of small, niche networks should not be forgotten.
Recently Instagram announced that it had surpassed 700 million active users including 200 million on its Snapchat clone Instagram Stories. This reinforces the idea that most people don’t want to maintain multiple social media profiles, but that doesn’t mean niches are unimportant.
Snapchat has clearly fallen behind in the daily, ephemeral pics game, but it still has the potential to carve out a strong niche with millennials.
The scale of Facebook is intimidating; it has swallowed entire industries whole. But, much like Twitter, Snapchat can be a nice little single-digit billion-dollar business.
Social media is still very much in its infancy. We are only a little over a decade into the era where everyone on the planet is connected. While it took a few decades for TV to evolve into 1,000 channels, the idea that social media could support dozens of networks without each containing the population of a small empire isn’t far-fetched.
As Snapchat is to quirky visual chat, Twitter is to online discussion. Quora has answers to any question you could ever want to know (and some you don’t), while Pinterest is my go-to for planning Sunday dinner.
As Facebook grows in dominance, it becomes less like a network and more like the architecture of the web itself—like the phone book. While being in the phone book (or Yellow Pages) was essential to a business in the 1980s, it was not the end of the search for new customers.
This is why it is more important than ever to know who your audience is, how it consumes information, and what it’s looking for. Facebook is a great place to start, but with such a variety of smaller platforms, it is essential to understand that unless you have a social media team in the dozens, picking the networks that match your goals in critical.
So, no, Snapchat isn’t going to die, but neither is it going to become a Facebook-like behemoth, and that’s OK.
What matters is that every organization understand the value of each platform, how it fits with the audience, and how to best leverage it for results.