You would consider Snapchat social media, right?
What about Twitter?
And should we even ask about Facebook?
If you’re like most people out there, you probably answered yes to all three. And you’d be wrong. At least according to the brands themselves.
Merriam-Webster defines Social Media as “forms of electronic communication (such as Web sites) through which people create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, etc.” Going by this definition, there is no doubt that the above-mentioned brands are indeed forms of social media. However, don’t make the mistake of calling them that to their faces.
A new trend is uprising among popular social channels in which they no longer want to be referred to as just that – social media. Snapchat now considers itself a camera application. Twitter considers itself to be a news source and Facebook considers itself to be a jack-of-all-trades much more than the definition of social media can live up to.
So, we have to ask: with the popularity of social media and the high number of people using it – what benefit is it to these brands to distance themselves from the moniker?
For a brand such as Twitter it’s all about reaching new audiences. Earlier this year, Twitter announced its Google Play Store categorization change and preference to be referred to as a news source. By doing so, their hope is to reach not only the generation Y’s and Z’s that they’ve already reached but also the older generation looking for new outlets of information online.
Brands such as Facebook and Snapchat believe they benefit by shedding the “social media” categorization in a more monetary way. While making money solely off the social media title was possible, it wasn’t optimal. By allowing ads and giving brands the visibility to be seen by millions of average social media users, the platforms have found a way to capitalize and skyrocket their earnings.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of shedding the social media title for some is all about a new and improved reputation. When Snapchat first gained popularity, many assumed it was for teenagers to send provocative images. Needless to say, this wasn’t the kind of reputation Snapchat was looking for. Over the last few years Snapchat has become more brand friendly. In its earlier stages, many brands simply created accounts; posted 10 second video clips and allowed their followers a closer look into the everyday workings of their brand. With the addition of Snapchat Discover, brands are now involved in an even bigger way. Snapchat has evolved from a media-sharing platform to an outlet for news, beauty, sports and much more.
The world of social media is constantly evolving. Nobody can say they knew exactly where Facebook would be today when it started in 2004 and it’s impossible to say where any of these popular platforms will be in the next 12 years. However, one thing we do know is that whatever changes come to these platforms will be done so with monetary, reputational and growth tactics in mind.