In the fourth quarter of 2015, it was estimated that Facebook had 1.65 billion monthly active users. Since the advent of Facebook in 2004, the social network has remained among the most popular sites around. The company has continued to innovate and adapt their product with the changing times and influx of users.
The fact that Facebook has been around for over a decade speaks volumes about the network’s popularity — popularity that few other social media sites have been able to replicate, although Twitter (310M monthly active users), Instagram (400M monthly active users) and Snapchat (100M daily active users) have tried. So what is it that these sites have that so many others would like to replicate?
They are avenues to broadcast opinions.
Before Facebook and Twitter, the only way you’d know a friend’s immediate opinion on something was if you spoke directly to that person. Now, you can send out a tweet and, within seconds, all of your followers know that you prefer original skittles to sour skittles. In fact, now you don’t even have to be friends with someone to know what their opinions are, as social media has expanded our networks to those we don’t have day-to-day contact with.
They help people connect to one another.
Social media platforms are a powerful tool for connection. They help us stay in touch with friends that have moved away, and relatives far removed. They help us keep in touch with our siblings and even our parents. Being able to share a short status or a photo of what you’re up to not only informs people, it makes them feel like they are part of your day-to-day life.
In addition to connecting with those you already know, social media helps us forge connections with new people. Think about celebrities and bloggers. We might not know them personally, but, they share their lives with us via social media. Pictures and status updates give us insight behind closed doors, letting us know someone’s personality beyond what the cameras see. Stories posted can go viral, reaching far beyond one’s original network, and people interact with them through comments by sharing similar stories and experiences.
They help brands connect with consumers.
Beyond connections between friends, acquaintances or strangers, social media increasingly helps brands connect with consumers. A customer has an unsavory experience with a company, they’ll likely tweet about it. If a customer has a positive experience with a company, they might tweet about that too. Brands are able to get feedback about products and customers can share their experiences with a certain brand.
Certain social networks have been blessed with a je ne sais quoi that makes them more successful than others in the long run. One predictor of success is noted as adaptability of the network to flex and constantly evolve as trends come and go. If a social network is lucky, it’s popular for more than six months and has the power to make a lasting impact.
For more information on making social networks work for your brand, contact Lindsey Groepper.