How to adapt to the changing social media landscape

At MPWR Design, our primary focus is empowering you with a great website. However, we understand that there’s more to a company’s communications and marketing than just a website, and as such, we want to help you with some of those other important pieces. Social media is certainly one of them. The social media world has changed a lot over the past couple of years, and it’s important that you understand some of these new trends so you can continue to utilize those tools to their maximum effectiveness.

The importance of video to your social media strategy

The biggest recent change to the social media landscape is the rise of video. Between live videos, stories and reels, and short-form video services like TikTok, video is now front and center in the social media world. In a long recent update, Mark Zuckerberg shared quite a bit about how video is important to Facebook’s platform:

You’ll notice Mark covered several different implementations. First, he mentioned Reels. Facebook Reels — intended to be a direct competitor to TikTok — are short-form videos that can have music added to them. As Mark said, the goal of Reels is simplicity — making it easy for anyone to create a video. Next, Mark mentioned Facebook Watch. Facebook is designing Watch to be a competitor to YouTube, offering a better way for Facebook to archive and categorize video content, as well as suggest content for users to watch. The third form of video Mark mentioned is Facebook Live, which he says is smaller but still very important to their strategy.

It’s important to note that even if Facebook isn’t front-and-center in your social media strategy, it’s still good to know what these services are. And since each is designed to compete with another platform, it’s good to know what else is out there too, even if Facebook is the centerpiece of your strategy on social media. Whether you use Facebook or TikTok (or both or neither), know that short-form video is big right now. Whether you use YouTube, Facebook Watch, Vimeo, or something else, know that longer-form video is still in demand as well.

The ‘metaverse’

At the end of Mark’s post, he touches on a concept he calls a “metaverse.” He explains it in this way: “It’s a virtual environment where you can be present with people in digital spaces. You can kind think about this as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at.”

For awhile now, tech companies have been experimenting with ways to make the internet something you experience instead of something you look at. Perhaps one of the earliest attempts was Google’s creation of Google Glass, a pair of glasses that could augment reality with internet visuals. The concept never really took off, but the idea behind it set the stage for the metaverse Mark discusses here. Google and Facebook have both released virtual reality technology, and Apple has several related patents that demonstrate something in the works as well.

Knowing that a more immersive experience is coming, how will that affect the current internet as we know it? Mark said he sees the metaverse as the successor to mobile internet. Of course, mobile internet didn’t completely phase out the use of computers, but any website owner must think about making a website mobile-friendly (if not mobile-first) these days. There are many considerations to make, everything from ensuring images display well on mobile phones to making sure a code embed or iframe doesn’t break a site on mobile.

With these considerations in mind, we may have new questions to ask in the future to make sure our websites are keeping up with the times. What, if anything, does the site offer augmented reality users? In Mark’s words, “The defining quality of the metaverse is presence — which is this feeling that you’re really there with people or in another place. Creation, avatars and digital objects will be central to how we express ourselves, and this will lead to entirely new experiences and economic opportunities.” What sense of presence does your website offer? Are you utilizing avatars and digital objects? These questions seem foreign or perhaps even silly now, but they could be common place in the next decade.

How do we adapt to the future?

One challenging aspect of owning a website is the sense of finality. With any other product you have made, a time comes when it is finalized. If you build a house, for example, eventually the house is completed and you move in. A website, however, is more of a work in progress. It’s normal to build a site, complete it, and then publish it online — but it’s also normal to continue to add content after the fact. And every so often, it’s also important to make sure your site is still up to date. You don’t need to throw it away and start over, but think of it like remodeling your home. You don’t do it often, but it’s always an option. It doesn’t mean a website is a bad investment, of course — just that it’s important to keep up.

So when big changes like the metaverse come along, we might have to learn some new tricks and adapt our websites to the future. For now, however, perhaps the focus on video is much more important. Facebook’s algorithm is designed to promote video content and their website and app place Facebook Watch in a place of high prominence. Facebook clearly wants to compete with YouTube and TikTok as they fight their own battle to stay with the times, and we have to change right alongside them. Thankfully, it’s not as overwhelming as it may seem to get started creating your own videos, so it might be a good idea to begin prioritizing video content on your website.

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