It's easy enough, as social media grows in significance, to imagine that the whole phenomenon is still 'new'. But Twitter, Facebook and Youtube are all over ten years old, Instagram is six years old, and Snapchat's last birthday cake had four candles burning bright.
So is it a reasonable conjecture to say that the social media channels we have today are likely to be the social media of the future?
Probably. Ebay (21 years old), Amazon (20) and Google (17) have dominated their particular functions to the exclusion of startup challengers and the major social media channels appear similarly secure. Unless surprise new stones get thrown from left-field the window for major innovation in social media may already be airtight.
The Farm Perspective
How multiple social media channels co-exist matters from the marketing perspective. An important fact to know is that nearly all UK farmers using Twitter also use Facebook; but not all farmers using Facebook also use Twitter.
Researching the differences showed that for farmers in the UK Facebook and Twitter fulfil almost entirely separate functions. The word clouds below are based on the frequencies of the positive words and phrases used by farmers to describe the benefits of each social media channel:
1. UK Farmers Reasons For Using Facebook
And surprising to no-one using Facebook, will be the finding that farmers also value Facebook for keeping in touch with friends and family. Friendship - that powerful people-bond - is Facebook's emotional driving force.
2. UK Farmers Reasons For Using Twitter
Twitter exists alongside Facebook because it has extra attributes, ones not delivered so easily by Facebook. The benefits of Twitter, for UK farmers include: being more 'live' and thus more easilyinteractive, facilitating new friendships and connections, and the building or discovering of networks of people with common interests.
What's your social media number?
Users each settle into their own comfortable number of channels. Your 'social media number', the number of channels you use is almost certain to correlate with your age: the younger you are the greater the number of social media channels you are likely to being using.
By being friend-centric Facebook is social media basecamp, it's where people start (are you on Facebook..?) and the friendships are the most powerful reason to stay using Facebook, other channels are added on or switched to after starting on Facebook.
If Facebook's simple to analyse (friendship), Twitter is less so. A mixture of fun and being connected with the thoughts of like-minded others and a new-found freedom to communicate with supreme ease personal news and opinions to a suddenly very much wider world. Communication without frontiers.
The easily overlooked critical success factor in social media marketing for agriculture
Social:Farmers Insight: why UK farmers use Twitter and which accounts they are following
Social media user segmentation: marketing and the vital inbound and outbound perspectives