On social media platforms, a new trend is emerging: communities are migrating — a challenge for platform operators and a chance for community founders.
Social media marketing is an essential part of any marketing strategy on Web 3.0. For companies, it is particularly important to answer the question of which social media should be used. Does Facebook suffice or do Twitter also play a role? And which other social media platforms are interesting for companies or which other social networks are there anyway? When choosing the right channels, marketers can gain an overview of the currently most extensive and most important social networks. The selection ranges from social relationships and pictures networks on deals for bloggers and business professionals to social video networks.
Since the World Wide Web became suitable for everyday use, like-minded people network in forums and groups. Niche communities formed. Social media platforms such as Facebook further reinforced the trend. Over the years, some platforms have risen, and others have disappeared from the market. StudiVZ and MySpace, for example, were once very popular and have gone today in the nirvana of the net.
Are social media platforms losing their communities?
Casey Fiesler, an information scientist at the University of Colorado-Boulder, has published the results of her study on Platform Usage by Fans 2018. Archive of Our Own and Tumblr were at the forefront last year. Twitter and Livejournal in midfield. In her research, she also talks about why users are leaving Livejournal. One reason for this was the arbitrary deletion of the live journal operators of groups or content. The users did not feel safe with their content on the platform. Also, Livejournal changed something in the commentary structure.
Even Twitch fought in August 2019 with scandals such as mistreatment of animals and racism in streams. According to some streamers, Twitch has problems supporting the big creator community. This creates uncertainty for banners and advertisers and could lead to emigration to competitors like Mixer or Caffeine. With the immigration of users to other platforms or self-sufficient websites, some social media providers are now struggling.
Out-migration of well-known social media platforms
Li Jin, who works in Consumer Investing for a16z, a technology company in Silicon Valley, recently tweeted that over the next few years, the larger communities are likely to disappear from well-known large providers and move to independent platforms with monetization models. This trend can already be seen in several examples.
Screenshot Twitter (Click on the picture to get to the thread).
A community of over 800,000 members of the sub-topic “Change My View” opened their website, which offers more features than Reddit. The Facebook group “What Would Virginia Woolf Do?” With over 30,000 members moved to a payment app. Members now pay $ 5 per month or $ 35 per annum to attend. The FB group was moderated and founded by volunteers and was just too big to run for free.
Reasons for moving the communities
The reasons for moving from well-known social media platforms and forums to own apps or websites are different:
- The cities have grown too much and need more digital features that the old platform does not offer (also because they are too specific).
- On the platform, there was no or not enough monetization opportunity for the founders of the communities to absorb the increased workload for the growing number of group members.
- Group members are ready to pay for niche content or content tailored to their audience. However, the group founders can not provide this curated content and associated extra work on the first platform as paid content.
- The operators of the platform do not conscientiously deal with the groups and content and delete content arbitrarily.
What can platform operators do?
The migration is a challenge for the operators of social media platforms dar. Especially because with new features and technical problems can occur. Nevertheless, existing platforms have a chance:
- Provide users with monetization opportunities such as paid content, membership fees or advertising revenue for their content
- Provide appropriate tools for building a digital business or community such as activity analysis or surveys
- Graphical highlighting of specially active members of the groups
- Highlight and, if necessary, improve the user-friendliness of the platform
What possibilities do community founders have?
To put a lot of work and lifeblood into a digital community also means having less free time. If you decide to finance your additional work with revenue, apps and websites like Amino or Buymeacoffee are available. Building your website is another way to earn income through affiliate links, sponsorship, paid content, or advertising. However, the effort is more significant here.
How the communities continue to evolve and whether the churn was just a short trend will be shown over time. Because not all populations migrate from well-known social media platforms. For some, the risk is too high, the community could be smashed, or the majority of members would not be willing to pay for content, or do not want to leave the familiar environment of the platform. In terms of usability, established platforms can still score points. Community founders, on the other hand, can choose between several alternatives.