The End of Platform Assumptions is Nigh

Marketers have gotten comfortable with social media. I don’t mean we all fully understand the implications it can have on business or even how to effectively use various channels. What I mean is we have the easy answers…or at least, think we do.

Our brand needs to use social media? Get on Facebook, Twitter and maybe, YouTube (for commercials). Why are we using social media? To build customer relationships. What are our plans for next year? Check the trades and see what people are buzzing about.

Buzzwords and platform size have permeated the planning process for social media marketing. We avoid risk by assuming Facebook’s the right answer. We latch on to buzzwords from marketing pundits to justify investment.

That is all changing, and if you aren’t, you need to.

Your Future Customers are Changing the Landscape

The core of social media is people, and their behaviors are slowly but surely taking what many marketers have assumed and turning it upside down.

Demographics are changing the social networking landscape. A recent survey found that 61% of 13- to 18 year-olds prefer Tumblr to Facebook. Only 21% of respondents to the survey like Instagram.

Does this mean the end of Facebook? Hardly. But it does show the easy answers, which are rarely the right answers, are going extinct. As consumer behavior changes, we have to leave our assumptions at the door and refocus on the consumer, how she behaves and what she seeks out online.

Social Media is People-Driven

Social media success has never been driven by the platform. It’s always been about the people and their passions and how a brand can identify its own attributes that intersect with those people and passions.

The marketers who follow people, not platforms, and make decisions based on behavior will naturally be led to the social spaces most important for their customers and their brands.

We cannot assume anymore (we never should have). Focus on your customers, their motivations for using social media and what your brand can do to improve their lives. The platform(s) will become a natural extension of those two factors.