Anonymity and Temporality in Social Media Marketing
There has been a lot of chatter in the news recently about social network for sharing secrets, such as Whisper (Celebrity gossip! Lawsuit filed!) and Snapchat (Another big brand opens up an account!).
These platforms, however, bear little resemblance to Facebook and Twitter, on which so many organizations have focused their social media marketing efforts so far. And both of these social networks are capitalizing on the backlash against sites like Facebook, which have evolved into a platform for people to put forward an idealized version of their lives.
Once you introduce a temporal nature, or anonymity, users can feel free to present — in theory at least — a more authentic version of their lives, or their thoughts at that moment. It’s an appealing switch for many users, especially the younger demographics who are joining Snapchat and Whisper in large numbers.
Whisper, a popular app that lets users post anonymously, bills itself as a mobile social network for sharing secrets. Snapchat – which allows users to send photos that self-destruct after a few seconds– is one of the hottest apps on the market right now, with more than 400 million “Snaps” sent daily. McDonald’s joined Snapchat late last week and is reportedly planning to kick off a Snapchat campaign this week.
What does this trend mean for social media marketing and PR? At the very least, organizations and brands will need to embrace social media marketing techniques that are more temporary, less tangible, and more creative. We’ve already seen some companies experiment with gamification – scavenger hunts, etc. – events, and discounts on this newer generation of social media platforms. Creating a sense of urgency will become more important, as well as time-sensitive offers, as large and small organizations alike learn to engage their audiences in this shifting social media landscape.