Tel Aviv Startup City is one of the collaborative communities enabled by Memeni.
Brands start to adjust to changing social media landscape, seek to form deeper relationships with users
When it first came on to the scene, social media was like an innocent child — full of promise, potential, and positivity. Well, social media has definitely entered its teenage years and it’s brought with it a certain amount of the rebelliousness, bitterness, and cynicism that we tend to associate with young adults.
What does that mean in practical terms? It means that social media has already seen multiple iterations, with companies rising up to lead for a while and then falling behind as others supplant them as leaders. Beyond that, we have seen whole ecosystems emerge and then fall to the wayside. Just think of the turbulence facing developers building apps for social platforms.
Of course, all of this is natural for any industry. Change is bound to happen, an industry will evolve in new and unexpected ways, and certain preconceptions that people had will be replaced with a new reality.
This was definitely the case when it came to the possibilities that brands saw in popular social platforms. For them, social media represented an opportunity to build a direct and free conduit to their customers and users. Back in the day, brands could rely on organic reach to speak directly to the community they had built. Now, organic reach on social platforms is limited – brands need to turn to paid media to reach their key audiences.
This trend was highlighted by Scott Galloway in a presentation captured on video (begins at 7:03). He criticized the industry calling the transition to paid reach as a “bait and switch.” Of course, this transition should be expected, after all these platforms need to monetize. Yet, the change has ruffled feathers amongst companies that invested considerable resources in building communities.
Brands turning to community building
Of course, new platforms have been a long time coming to challenge this model. One such company, Memeni, is aiming to build a white-label solution that brands can use to build their own communities (full disclosure: Memeni is a Blonde 2.0 client). Memeni is aiming to give companies a platform where they can create a community that they own and control, and that will be allowed to grow organically.
Using Memeni, organizations build social communities around issues that are important to their customers and stakeholders, all under their brand’s domain. For instance, an outdoor apparel brand can use Memeni to create a dedicated community for nature enthusiasts on their site, to share hiking tips, camping spots, and conservation drives. Community members would gain value from these discussions, as well as from tailored messaging sent from the brand, based on users shared interests and discussions.
The key difference here is that Memeni is offering this platform along a SaaS model. It’s upfront with the costs and its pitch to brands hinges on the fact that once they have invested the time and effort to build the community, they can speak directly to their users. This value can’t be overrated, and it seems likely that many brands will jump at the opportunity to create a home where their users can interact with each other, and with the brand itself.
We wouldn’t treat a teenager or young adult like a child, so why should we treat social media with kid gloves? It’s time for brands to adapt to the new reality of social media marketing, and look to innovative ways to expand their reach.Ayelet Noff is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.