In the past year, TikTok has put a significant dent in Meta’s world of social media dominance of Facebook and Instagram. Facebook’s user numbers shrunk for the first time in the history of the company, and the brand identity of “Facebook is for old people” and “Instagram isn’t as good as it used to be” has continued to grow sentiment with younger demographics.
In retaliation, as outlined by Social Media Today, Meta is turning up the heat on TikTok and going all in on short form video. Facebook and Instagram Reels are rapidly adding monetary incentives for content creators and pushing their content out organically in an effort to get more and more users hooked on the short form video format. If you’ve made any kind of “regular” post recently on FB/IG (especially IG) and then made a Reels post as a reach comparison, the numbers aren’t even close. Meta is putting their eggs in the short-form video basket and doing so in a way that they hope will bury TikTok, or at the very least swing the pendulum of new growth back to their platforms.
Here’s a crazy idea … maybe had they not squashed the hell out of organic engagement in an effort to force people to buy more ads, this never would’ve happened in the first place?
I don’t know about you, but in the “good old days” of FB/IG when you could simply post good content on a regular basis and have organic growth, it actually made me WANT to spend money on ads to spread that content even further. Now I feel like I’ve gone to a restaurant where I’ve ordered a meal and they’ve served me a bunch of hot garbage on a plate, but tell me “well if you pay us a little bit more, then MAYBE we’ll bring you some better food. We probably won’t bring you the whole dish or exactly the food you wanted, but we’ll be happy to take your money and throw you a few more crumbs.” Doesn’t give me the warm fuzzies on the inside.
We’ve seen this pattern before … when Facebook first starting crushing organic growth, people started gravitating to Instagram. They could post nice pictures, get a bunch of likes, grab a handful of new followers with every post. Things felt fun and positive, and you felt like you could grow your brand in a simple and effective way. So what did Facebook (or Meta or Darth Zuckerberg or whatever you want to call it) do? They bought the company of course! Because while the old adage may be, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” the mantra in a trillion dollar tech world is more “if you can’t beat ’em, copy ’em, steal their market share, crush their growth, and then buy ’em out.”
So that’s what Facebook did, and then began to apply the same practices to Instagram. Oh you actually want someone to SEE your post? Give us money and then MAYBE we’ll let our algorithm robot overlords expose it to a couple new people. Or maybe we won’t, but we’ll take your money either way. Pleasure doing business with you!
The battlefield is set yet again … this time against TikTok. So what will happen next? Will Meta win this battle too? Will TikTok be able to weather the storm? Social Media Today has some observations on how this could be a total disaster for TikTok, so it will interesting to see how it all shakes out.
Regardless of how this all shakes out, the real message here for the growth and success of YOUR brand is one that we preach over and over here at The JPG Agency … OWN YOUR AUDIENCE!!!!! Social media platforms certainly have a place in your branding and marketing strategies, but they should be a supplement to your primary objective of creating a direct line of communication with your audience that allows you to engage with them on YOUR terms.
Sure … you can make a post on Facebook, or Instagram, or TikTok, or [insert next big thing here] but you’ll always be relying on that platform to actually deliver that content to people. Meanwhile, when YOU are the one who owns your audience and has a way to reach them directly, you can do exactly that and not rely on someone else’s algorithm to do it for you. Yes … this method takes TIME to achieve, but once you have that direct line of communication, you own it FOREVER, no matter what new trend or delivery system emerges.