Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, and Snapchat go to blowswith rolling out new features and in some cases featuresthat aren’t necessarily new, but they’re new to the platform.
We’ve seen Snapchat roll out Groups, which is a pretty cool feature, in which up to 16 friendscan all chat in one group.
We’ve also seen Instagramroll out Instagram Live, which is very similar to Facebook Live, but contained within Instagram.
We’ve also seen Instagramroll out Stickers, which are very similar to the emojis that youcurrently see on Snapchat.
We’ve also seen Twitterdo away with Periscope and now roll our Twitter Live, which is essentially Periscope, but all within the Twitterapp, or the Twitter experience, without having to use a standalone app, which was previously Periscope.
And we’ve also seen Facebook roll out Snapchat-esque features within Messenger, where you can use lenses and filters very similar to what you’re used to seeing already on Snapchat.
So where I’m going with all this is all these social networks are competing for one thing and one thing only and that is our attention.
They are competing forwhat I like to refer to as market share.
Let’s face it, there’sonly so many Millennials and Baby Boomers and GenX and Gen Z out there.
There’s only so many people that can use these social networks and there’s only so much time in the day that people’s attentioncan be consumed by brands and creators and influencers and friends using these social networks.
And I haven’t mentioned otherapps that are out there, taking up people’s times and attention, like musical.
Ly and Housepartyand WhatsApp and WeChat.
These are all social networks.
And I didn’t mentionLinkedIn or Pinterest.
And let’s face it, virtualreality and augmented reality is about to disrupteverything that we know about communication,including social media.
How can brands compete in this crowded space known as social media, in which people’s timeis already being consumed and audiences are being fragmented? Well, the answer is tofocus on the social network where your brand gets the biggest reach and the highest return on engagement and quite simply, youshould be looking to use the social networks whereyour customers are on.
So if you’re company is looking to engage Millennials and younger consumers, you should probably belooking to brand yourself on Snapchat and on Instagram.
If you’re looking tohumanize your brand’s content and help tell a story of your brand in a realtime, interactive environment then you should probably be looking to use a combination of Facebook Live, provided that you alreadyhave a presence on Facebook, as well as using Twitter Live, if you have a presence on Twitter.
So my prediction for 2017is that in the next year, we will see a massive consolidationbetween social networks and how consumers use social networks.
Because quite simply, it isimpossible for consumers, I’m not talking about marketers, but I’m talking about everyday consumers, like my wife or like my friends, that use social media exclusively to engage with somewherebetween 75 to 100 friends and follow the brands and celebrities that they’ve come to love.
There has to be this mass consolidation, because let’s face it,the average consumer does not have the time in the day to hop back and forth and consume content from brands that they followbetween Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter andPinterest and you name it.
It’s just impossible.
So I think users of socialmedia are gonna come down to one decision and one decision only.
And that is, do I useInstagram or do I use Snapchat? From my perspectivethere’s a misconception around how marketers specificallylook at these networks as being one and the same.
Because the reality is that you have two completely different audiences on Instagram as you do on Snapchat and the way these networks work are not in parallel to one another.
They are completely separate.
The audience on Snapchatis already conditioned to using this app to goin and see short content that tells a brand’s or a person’s story, in a very natural and organicway and the bottom line is because content disappearswithin 24 hours, they want to either be inspired, engaged, entertained, or educated.
And I know what you’re saying, Instagram has Instagram Stories and they just rolled out Instagram Live.
But here’s the issue,most users of Instagram are used to seeing Instagram as an app where they go see static images.
They go see what looks good and they react based on what looks good.
They’re not necessarilythere to consume content and see a story or seea sequence of stories.
So if you’re a brand, here’s how you canbalance both of these out.
With the use of Spectacles, you can also use Snapchatfrom the standpoint of having influencers and even customers take over your brand’s account and tell your brand’s storyfrom their point of view.
So think of Snapchat distinctivelydifferent from Instagram.
It’s where you go totell your brand’s story, from either your point of view or someone else’s point of view.
And it’s also where, going forward, you are gonna engagemore with your customers, prospects and your fans.
Instagram, on the other hand, it’s much more of a curated experience.
So you take really nice photos, you post those photos on your feed, you now have live video capabilities that tell your brand’s story in realtime, which is completely differentthan how Snapchat is used.
So the magic question is, whois going to win the battle between Snapchat and Instagram? And that is yet to be determined.
But I will predict thatSnapchat, most likely, as they get ready to IPO, Snapchat Spectacles 2.
0 willbe the first wearable product on the market that willallow you to livestream and that is gonna causethe pendulum to swing from Instagram over to Snapchat.
So in the end, while Twitter might go away, or it might still stick around, while Facebook takes every shot possible to try to look more like Snapchat, the bottom line is that Snapchat will continue to be Snapchat, the audience that lives on Snapchat is not going away, Instagram continues to gain momentum, in fact I think you have a lot of users that are gonna be migrating over from Twitter and Facebook over to Instagram, which is still good news for Instagram, and you’re gonna see this battle and it’s gonna be the year of Snapchat versus Instagram.
On a closing note, it is an amazing time to be working in social media marketing.
Be sure to visit my website, carlosgil.
Biz for over 50 social mediamarketing predictions for 2017 from thought leaders around the world.