Myspace was a game changer in the world of social media. It revolutionized the way people – particularly young people – communicated with one another. As Myspace chugged on, another social networking sight was launched that went by the name of Facebook. Since its launch, Facebook pretty much demolished Myspace and it too revolutionized the way people – and this time more than just young people – communicated with one another. Businesses, blogs, television shows all began to use Facebook to connect with their clients, readers and fans. Older people also began using Facebook which, some say, is the reason Twitter and Instagram were able to emerge and capture the attention of younger people. The same way Myspace and Facebook changed communication, Twitter and Instagram have too.
As a young person myself, I have definitely seen people my age and younger gravitate towards Twitter and Instagram and away from Facebook for reasons including getting away from so-called annoying older relatives. If you survey a random sample of adults 40 years of age and older, chances are many of them would not know how to operate “newer” social media such as Twitter and Instagram. Young people realize this and have flocked to these sites. Advertisers too have realized this and are gravitating to these new media.
The advertisement that I usually see on Twitter and Instagram tend to be more pop culture, nationwide ads. I see a lot of Coca-Cola, television shows and blogs being advertised on Twitter. While Twitter’s paid ads are not blatant ads, it is easy for an experienced Tweeter to tell the difference most of the time as Twitter usual a “Promoted Tweet” banner at the bottom of the tweet.
Instagram has just recently announced the addition of advertisements on its users’ feeds, but up until this point, I’ve only seen one paid advertisement on my Instagram news feed. This could be because of negative user feedback – many Facebook users became disgruntled with the ever-increasing amount of ads that appeared while using the site, and even attribute that to their decision to slack off on their Facebook use. Instagram, which Facebook recently acquired, may have decided to heed users’ threats to leave.
I would say that, more than paid advertisement, advertisers and brands use Twitter and Instagram as free advertising. If you can get people to follow you, you have their attention whenever they scroll through their feed. On Twitter, it is usually some witty joke in 140 characters or less. Sometimes it is a “feud” with someone else. CNN personality Piers Morgan is infamous for the Twitter feuds that he instigates and responds too. As a result his Twitter account and his brand have positively benefitted. Through Morgan’s use of Twitter, his amount of followers and reach has increased exponentially. This has not necessarily translated to television ratings as Morgan’s nightly show was very recently canned by CNN for low ratings. Nevertheless, Piers Morgan, everyone’s most hated Brit, is now more well-known than ever in America – at least on Twitter.
It seems that Instagram is a great place to build your brand if you’re a celebrity or good-looking. People seem to crave looking at attractive people. I guess that makes sense. Celebrities use this craving to their advantage by posting selfies that their fans adore. A female celebrity, who shall remain nameless, recently posted what some called a “nude” selfie in which she was in her underwear with a sign held in front of her. Parents became “outraged” because of their children seeing this. While some would see this as negative publicity, a good PR person would tell you that no free publicity is bad publicity when you’re trying to build your brand, which is what this particular celebrity has done.
Twitter and Instagram are definitely a new outlet for advertisers, companies and brands to take advantage of. And a lot of them are doing a good job at taking advantage. However, many brands have a ways to go before they fully master the art of branding on Instagram and Twitter – particularly small businesses and less tech-savvy brands. Regardless, these two social media platforms don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon and advertisers know this and are definitely taking advantage of it.