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Social Media Marketing Post-COVID: Marketers Predict the Future

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social media marketing post covid marketers predict the future
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What will a post-COVID world look like for social media marketers? If there’s anything we’ve learned so far in 2020, it’s that nobody can ever be 100% prepared for the future. We can predict trends, strategize and plan, but we all have to be ready to shift marketing and business strategies at any time. 

Over the past several months, we’ve been hosting discussions within the Social Media Today community to learn more about the pandemic and how it has affected businesses and our field of work. Through these conversations, we were able to identify common social media marketing trends that can help us begin to prepare for the future. 

See our recent “Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020: Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons from the Pandemic and Beyond” for thought-provoking stories, strategies and advice from marketing professionals in our community.

We followed up with our community more recently to ask their thoughts on what comes next. What will the future look like for people working in social media or digital marketing? Here’s what they predict.

Predictions:

  1. Social media jobs and creativity skills will be valued more than ever.
  2. Video content will continue to rise in production and demand.
  3. The more authentic the content, the better.
  4. Honesty, empathy, and social consciousness will win on social.
  5. Social listening and community engagement will be at the forefront of marketing strategies.
  6. We’ll be constantly adapting to new technology and changing consumer needs.

Continue reading to see what our community anticipates for the future of social media in business.

Predicting the Future of Social Media Marketing

1. Social media jobs and creativity skills will be valued more than ever.

“Everyone has had to rely more on technology over the past few weeks. From video meetings to curbside delivery – every company has had to pivot in some way to keep their business going. Everyone has had to lean into Digital and social media more during COVID and they have learned how to use it differently and better than ever before.  My prediction is that social media content from businesses will become more creative and the digital strategy will be better than ever. The businesses that pushed up their sleeves and got to work on social media marketing efforts during a major crisis will reap the rewards when the crisis starts to fade. Some businesses may have even found a new niche of online business and will continue to grow that area post-COVID.” — Anna Rudicel, Marketing Director of Cyclone Social

Lilach Bullock says, “The COVID crisis will likely make a lasting impact in the world, and social media marketing should reflect that too. Even though restrictions are starting to lift, our lives (the lives of everyone in the world, in fact!) will continue to be very different: social distancing, masks and other protective gear and so on will still to be a big part of everyone’s lives and the way businesses market themselves should reflect that. But out of all marketing strategies, I believe that social media will be the main one to thrive in the post-COVID world. For one thing, it’s easier and cheaper for brands to leverage social media and for another, people all over the world are spending more time indoors than outdoors – and therefore, more time online.”

Dhariana Lozano, President of Block & Ave., also believes social media marketing jobs will be taken more seriously moving forward. Lozano says, “I feel social media content and digital marketing post-COVID might be taken more seriously. Brands that had an engaged online presence were able to still pull their audience and create traffic, sales and new opportunities. Many brands used social media to communicate and keep their audiences updated.” — Dhariana Lozano, President, Block & Ave.

“I see a huge positive shift towards the digital world post-COVID,” says Esa Mbouw, Deputy Head of Business Administration at Swiss German University. “People of all background are adapting to the digital lifestyle and I predict they will be craving for more social media content. This means social media content would be made and delivered to a wider range of audience in all places. The older generation is now keeping up with the trends.”

2. Video content will continue to rise in production and demand.

“I think we are going to see online video continue to explode,” predicts Tabitha Jean Naylor, Owner of TabithaNaylor.com.
“I mean, look at the massive surge in popularity of TikTok since this all started. The companies growth has been incredible. In March of this year alone, it was downloaded 115 million times.”

3. The more authentic the content, the better.

Since the lockdown took place, it’s been really nice to see the human unfiltered side behind brands. Whether that’s videos in the kitchen, with kids and without dressing up, it’s been great to see authentic content. It’s going to be interesting to see whether this continues post-COVID. Similar to brands realizing that their staff can actually work remotely, I expect brands to be more comfortable with creating and publishing unedited visual content.” — Neil Sheth, Digital Content Strategist

No, authentic content is not a new trend, but a certain type of rawness and reliability is now an expectation of brands on social rather than just an audience prefrence.

4. Honesty, empathy, and social consciousness will win on social.

Tabitha Jean Naylor recognizes a shiftting trend towards empethetic messaging from brands on social media: “I think that, at least for the foreseeable future, we’re going to see brand messaging that’s much more empathetic and compassionate.

So much has already changed over the past few months. Many have adjusted their messaging to align with what’s going on in the world and within in their organization. I predict that messaging will soon focus on offering hope and positivity to counterbalance the sadness and uncertainty.” — Rachel Strella, Founder, Strella Social Media

“I think that people are looking to share their experiences so that they can have that connection to others. I also think that gratitude will play a central theme in influencing. I don’t think that audiences will have the same fan following for mega influencers like Kylie Jenner, who do a lot of self-promotion and emphasis “outer beauty” I think that she grew her fan base because there was a need for people who wanted to be like her. Now, I think people will resonate more with people that show “inner beauty” in both mind and spirit.”  — Dory Caplin, CEO of Dream Team Concepts

“The digital marketing world will increase fourfold. I see it growing exponentially every day. Social media content will be a mixed bag of truths, half truths and outright propaganda. The challenge to us consumers will be discerning truth from fiction; noise from facts and useful information.” — Roy Benford, Real Estate Consultant at KellerWilliams Realty

5. Social listening and community engagement will be at the forefront of marketing strategies.

Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com, predicts a new era of brand-consumer relationships and engagement behaviors on social. “In a post-COVID world, I think there will be a continued emphasis on the needs of the consumer. Social media will become what it has always meant to be: social. Brands will ask consumers for their feedback on how they are doing and what they can offer that has the ability to make the consumer’s life easier. Brands will listen to this feedback and implement new offerings in their company.”

“Social media content will be created that better engages the consumer — asking questions, sharing polls, and hosting mini-events like Twitter chats and movie watch-along nights that are relevant to their industry on Twitter.”

6. We’ll be constantly adapting to new technology and changing consumer needs.

As always, new technologies will appear and social media platforms with continue updating their platforms to align with new online social needs. As we’ve said before, at any moment things can change; it’s important to never rely fully on any social platform to meet all your marketing needs. For example, be prepared for data and privacy updates to limit your targeting capabilities on social.

The world will forever be changing around us, but as marketers, we seem to be well-equipt to handle any unexpected obstacles thrown in our direction.

To read more on this topic and explore advice from our community on preparing for the future, go check out the complete “Guide to Social Media Marketing in 2020: Challenges, Opportunities and Lessons from the Pandemic and Beyond.”

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Pitfalls of the Social Media Advertising Model

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Pitfalls of the Social Media Advertising Model

Paul Romer, Nobel Prize-winning economist and Boston College Professor of Finance takes us through social media’s advertising model and the ethical …

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Reddit Shares Performance Data and Growth Strategy Ahead of Coming IPO

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Reddit Shares Performance Data and Growth Strategy Ahead of Coming IPO

Reddit’s IPO is almost here, with the company filing its S-1 registration with the SEC today, which outlines its current finances and strategic goals, ahead of the pending listing.

And there are some interesting notes in the data provided.

First off, Reddit, which will soon be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “RDDT”, claims that it has over 73 million daily active users, and 500 million monthly visitors.

Which is a highly unusual split of daily to monthly active usage.

In general, most social platforms see a 1:1.8 ratio of daily/monthly users, with some variance. Facebook, for example, has 2.11b DAU and 3.07b MAU (x1.45), while Snapchat has 414m DAU/800m MAU (x1.9).

Reddit claims to have a variation of x6.8 DAU to MAU, which is way out of proportion for those averages.

Could that be correct? Could Reddit be seeing a heap more visitors who don’t come back to the site daily?

I mean, I guess, when you factor in people who might be using Reddit to supplement their Google searches, so may visit infrequently. But it’s not exactly a great endorsement of the magnetism of its product if the vast majority of people who look at the app are not interested in coming back regularly.

Reddit reported reaching 430 million monthly actives back in 2019, then switched to sharing daily active user counts from 2020 onwards (it had 52m DAU then). My assumption was that Reddit made this switch because it lost users as a result of changes to its rules, which led to the expulsion of thousands of its most controversial communities. But Reddit’s data here suggests that it hasn’t necessarily lost ground, it just opted for an alternative reporting method. Though it does seem odd.

The documentation also provides a narrative overview of the platform, which it refers to as “a digital city.”

As per Reddit’s S-1:

Reddit is a global, digital city where anyone in the world can join a community to learn from one another, engage in authentic conversations, explore passions, research new hobbies, exchange goods and services, create new communities and experiences, share a few laughs, and find belonging. People are diverse and have multiple interests. Just like in a city, where citizens are part of multiple subcommunities, on Reddit, users often belong to multiple communities.”

“Exchange goods and services?” Not sure what that refers to exactly, but…

Reddit also refers to its “constantly evolving human archive of information”, which it recently sold to Google for $60 million per year.

Which is also interesting when you consider this listing:

Reddit IPO

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman owns 8.7% of the current Reddit shares, which gives him significant sway in the company’s decisions, and it’d be interesting to know what Altman thinks about Reddit selling its user data to Google for use in its competing AI applications.

Presumably he’s okay with it. Which seems unusual in itself.

On specific subreddit usage, Reddit says that:

  • Over 500 subreddits have at least a million subscribers
  • The average active minutes for logged-in users on Reddit is around 20 minutes per day, though that increases to over 35 minutes a day for those who’ve been active on the platform for over five years, and up to 45 minutes a day for those who’ve been active for over seven years.
  • 85% of Redditors say that the platform is “where they learn about the topics they love the most”, while 83% say that conversations on Reddit are more on-topic than any other social media platform

In terms of revenue, Reddit says that it generated $804 million in revenue in 2023, an increase of 21% year-over-year.

Reddit believes that it has significant opportunity to increase its intake in the coming years, particularly due to its current revenue split, which shows that it’s heavily reliant on US users.

Here’s Reddit’s current Average Revenue Per User charts:

Reddit IPO

Reddit’s audience is split almost 50/50 between the U.S. and everywhere else, and as Reddit expands its ad business, that should facilitate more monetization opportunities in other regions.

Reddit also says that it’s exploring new technological developments to enable more ways for customers to invest to grow their business.

Then there’s the Google data-sharing deal:

“We are also in the early stages of monetizing our emerging opportunity in data licensing by allowing third parties to access, search, and analyze data on our platform. In January 2024, we entered into certain data licensing arrangements with an aggregate contract value of $203.0 million and terms ranging from two to three years. We expect a minimum of $66.4 million of revenue to be recognized during the year ending December 31, 2024.”

So Reddit does have some additional avenues of monetization, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Google partnership plays out, and whether that helps to expand Reddit’s exposure and traffic as a result.

Reddit hasn’t provided an overview of the number of shares that it’s looking to offer at this stage, though it has included a plan to offer shares to its power users within its S-1 listing:

We will invite users and moderators to participate in the directed share program in six phased priority tiers. We will assign each eligible participant to a tier based on that participant’s contributions to Reddit. User contributions will be measured in karma (a user’s reputation score that reflects their community contributions). Moderator contributions will be measured by membership and moderator actions on our platform. Tier 1 will include certain users and moderators identified by us who have meaningfully contributed to Reddit community programs. Tier 2 will include users who hold at least 200,000 karma and moderators who have performed at least 5,000 moderator actions. Tier 3 will include users who hold at least 100,000 karma and moderators who have performed at least 2,500 moderator actions. Tier 4 will include users who hold at least 50,000 karma and moderators who have performed at least 1,000 moderator actions. Tier 5 will include users who hold at least 25,000 karma and moderators who have performed at least 500 moderator actions. Tier 6 will include all other eligible users and moderators.

That’s an interesting approach to get more user buy-in, and for a platform that is still reliant on volunteer labor for its moderation and management, that could be a critical assurance move.

Reddit does note that it’s seeking a $5 billion market capitalization valuation, dependent on various factors, with more details to come closer to the listing.

Which is a high price tag for an app with questionable value, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility, and it could be where Reddit ends up when the next stage is announced.

Reddit’s initial public offering be launched after the SEC completes its review process, which is now well in motion, and set for next month.

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Florida lawmakers push to ban social media for children under 16

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Vietnam plans to ask all social media users on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to verify their identities

Social media. — © AFP/File Olivier DOULIERY

Florida moved Thursday towards enacting what would be one of the strictest bans on children’s use of social media in the United States after the state Senate passed a bill to keep those under 16 off such platforms.

The controversial bill seeks to protect children’s mental health against the “addictive features” of such platforms, amid fears over online dangers including from sexual predators, cyber bullying and teen suicide.

The legislation, which was approved 23-14, will now go back to the state House. It has already passed there, with the House speaker championing the legislation, but changes made in the Senate need to be approved in the lower chamber.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed concerns over whether banning social media for children under the age of 16 violates parents’ rights – Copyright AFP Philip FONG

It would then have to be signed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who has expressed skepticism about the legislation. Similar efforts by other states have previously been blocked by courts.

“We’re talking about businesses that are using addictive features to engage in mass manipulation of our children to cause them harm,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican Erin Grall, told the Florida Senate on Thursday.

But DeSantis, who has previously said he is sympathetic to fears over the impact of social media on children, voiced concerns about parental rights.

“A parent has the right to opt in,” he told a press conference Thursday.

The governor has argued many times that parents should have more control over decisions affecting their children, particularly in education.

Under DeSantis Florida has passed laws to curtail teaching about sex education and gender identity in schools and to eradicate diversity programs in state-funded universities.

Scores of books have been removed from the state’s school library shelves in recent months, deemed inappropriate for children by conservative parents and school boards.

Some critics say such a law targeting social media use would violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.

Last year a federal judge blocked an Arkansas initiative that sought to require parental consent to open a social media account.

Most social media networks already have a minimum age of 13 to open an account, though they do little to ensure compliance with the provision.

If the regulation is approved, the platforms will have to block children under the age of 16 from creating accounts and close those already opened.

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