Social media in 2024: What businesses must know about the changing market
A social media strategy was once seen as a valuable extra for businesses, but in today’s social media-obsessed world it’s become something of a necessity. With the online realm changing so quickly, it’s essential businesses can respond in the correct ways.
Nepal’s announcement that it will ban TikTok is a recent development that businesses should be aware of.
The country’s minister for communications and information technology, Rekha Sharma, said the decision was made because the popular video-sharing platform was consistently used to share content that “disturbs social harmony and disrupts family structures and social relations.”
Luke Lintz, CEO of HighKey Enterprises, the digital branding platform that has worked with the likes of Kevin Hart and Nicki Minaj, says Nepal’s move highlights the geopolitical risks that can impact businesses’ social media strategies.
“It’s important for businesses to monitor such developments and have contingency plans in place to adjust their marketing efforts if a platform they rely on faces restrictions or bans in certain regions,” he adds.
Farhan Siraj, the CEO of OSHA Outreach Courses, a US eLearning platform for OSHA compliance training and certification, says his business relies significantly on social media traffic and recommends that companies look at alternatives to TikTok because it might get banned in the US and several European countries.
He says: “Businesses can get a first-movers advantage by starting early on apps like Triller in case TikTok becomes inaccessible to users in more countries”.
Triller is a US video-sharing platform. Launched in 2015, the disrupter claims to have 550 million users, many of which reportedly come from India, where TikTok was banned three years ago.
Other countries that have banned TikTok include Afghanistan, Malaysia and Somalia, whilst the US has imposed a number of restrictions on the platform because of national security concerns.
Changes to Threads
The Threads app is another social media service currently experiencing change. Users of the Twitter-like app will now be able to delete their account whilst keeping the Instagram account that is linked to it. Previously, Threads accounts could only be deactivated if they wanted to keep the linked Instagram profile.
“This is a reminder that social media platforms can come and go, and businesses should diversify their presence across multiple platforms”, says Lintz. “Relying solely on one platform can be risky, as we’ve seen with the rise and fall of various apps over the years”.
Launched back in July, Mark Zuckerberg, the head of parent company Meta, said in October that the platform was attracting around 100 million monthly users.
In addition to the changes on account deletion, Meta announced that Threads users will soon be able to opt out of automatically sharing posts to Instagram and Facebook. The Verge predicts direct messages (DMs) will soon be added to the app through Instagram too.
Chris Ferris, VP of Digital Strategy at award-winning PR agency Pierpont Communications, says Threads still doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up.
“It is trying to stay away from news, but that was what made Twitter so successful”, he adds. “My advice is watchful waiting for most businesses on Threads, unless the reporters who cover your business or industry have completely jumped ship to Threads and it’s a good way for your PR team to cultivate a relationship with those journalists.”
Truth Social deep in the red
Donald Trump’s Truth Social is another example of the ever-changing world of social media. Launched in early 2022 in a bid to “stand up to big tech” companies, earlier this week a securities filing revealed the former US president’s platform had lost $73m (£58.7m) since then.
The platform is estimated to have around two million users, according to The Guardian.
Matt Caiola is the co-CEO of full-service PR agency 5WPR and the leader of its digital agency, HOW. He says: “Social media platforms, and their successes, change day by day. New ones appear, popular platforms shut down or access is made limited, and algorithms are always changing. Because of this, it is increasingly important to monitor your performance across the platforms your brand has a presence on and be prepared to shift and adapt as needed.”
Looking forward to 2024, Dr Mike Bandar, the co-founder of Instagram planning and scheduling tool Hopper HQ, anticipates “a fundamental redefinition of authenticity”.
“It’s no longer just about where the content originates but the overall brand experience it creates. To succeed in this evolving landscape, businesses need to strategically integrate AI, considering audience perceptions and establishing clear usage policies,” he adds.
“Amidst this, Platform ROI Prioritisation emerges as a crucial aspect. We recognise that maintaining an active presence across multiple platforms is challenging, and not every platform yields the same results.”