What Does "The End of Social Media" Mean for Consumers?

October 30, 2023
Michelle Tan
Wait, what?

For the first time in my decade-long career, I was taken aback by an insight.

I entered the professional realm when social media was on the up and up. Agencies were just beginning to establish social media divisions as I was cutting my teeth (my first internship was in a social media division of a leading agency). Digital marketing outfits were emerging. My university coursework wasn't just about the basics of communication and marketing strategies; it delved deeply into crafting social media strategies and potent creative outputs. I was there at the inception of many present-day social media platforms. Joining Facebook when its main feature was “poking”, and signing up for Instagram in 2010, its launch year.

The prospect of social media's decline was not something I expected, so soon.

But, upon reflection, I shouldn’t have been surprised.

The social media realm feels a tad tumultuous. Tech behemoths have faced significant losses, both monetarily and in manpower, over the past year. The touted "next big thing" of the Metaverse seems to have lost its steam, and the platforms seem to be, let's say, 'inspired' by each other's features.

Things have even gone as far as Twitter X becoming so desperate that they’ve just introduced voice and video call features.

Need we say more?

So.. what is happening? Why is social media on the decline?

According to GWI, a leading audience research company, that younger demographics are becoming increasingly circumspect about their social media habits. Tech fatigue seems to be settling in, especially with Gen Z, who’ve grown up with social media, and are starting to feel a disconnect from reality after spending too much time online.

And what, pray tell, are they yearning for?

✨Genuine, in-person experiences.✨

Were dystopian cartoons right? Are we headed back to the fundamentals of human connection?

So, what now?

So, where do we stand now?

Don’t panic. Gen Z isn't ditching social media entirely. It remains an integral part of their lives. In fact, the same GWI study notes that Gen Z is the prime demographic to discover new brands through social media advertisements, and that both Millennials and Gen Z still value influencer endorsements.

This means that brands must appreciate the evolving nature of social media engagement. Gone are the days of relentless content churn without a second thought. And, to state the perhaps obvious mantra we've echoed for years:

your content must now resonate even more genuinely, always keeping the audience at heart.

Ultimately, social media is about fostering a community. It's not about what the you or your brand want, it’s about what your audience wants.

It’s such a simple idea but one lost or overlooked by so many marketers.

Let's not forget what catapulted social media to its zenith: it wasn't incessant brand promotion but the chance to genuinely connect with friends, family and to find your online community.

Also, it’s time you start considering the #IRL (in real life) for your audience today. Scrolling through feeds instead of chatting with the person next to you wasn't inherent human behaviour, but a learned one. However, experiencing real-life events and emotions? That's innately human.

Historically, novel experiences have always captivated people in the marketing domain. The allure of belonging to a community has remained consistent over the years. So why should today be any different?

There are, of course, myriad other elements influencing your social media strategy, but let’s save that for another time.

I should add a note of caution: this isn't a call to inundate your audience with experiential events or to force communities. It’s a reminder to be conscious about how your content benefits your audience (always ask; why would or should they care about the thing you’re putting out).

The declining social media usage trends does leave with much to think about and to reflect. If you want to have a chat about this over coffee, please reach out to us and we can have a candid discussion about where things are headed.

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