Facebook’s old people problem
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
I suppose. In business, it’s more of the sincerest way to try and steal your competitors business away. Which is fair, since business isn’t about being fair, exactly. No, it’s about delivering something that people want.
In the Social Media world it seems that everyone is trying to copy each other right now. That makes it difficult for the user to distinguish between features on the platforms, which, in turn tends to make it easier for them to stick with the platform that they are most familiar with.
There’s not enough of a difference between Twitter’s Fleets feature and Instagram’s Stories to draw anyone away from the Gram, for instance. In fact, most businesses on Twitter are simply re-purposing their Insta stories on the Fleets feature and most Twitter loyalists are more or less ignoring the Fleets feature.
It’s just there to make sure that the small percentage of Twitter users that really love Instagram Stories have something similar to keep them around. As stated, however, most users are pretty ingrained in their platform.
So, the companies need to be careful to not stray too far from the things that make them popular with the users that they already have. Instagram shouldn’t try to be a poor man’s TikTok. I’ll just use TikTok if that’s what I’m looking for.
In that light, there is one platform that’s kind of stuck — Facebook. Specifically, the O.G. Social Media site has a demographic problem — its users are old. And painfully uncool in a space where cool is a currency.
They are looking for ways to solve that. In today’s New York Times, there is a good article that details plans by Facebook to go after young influencers to attract them to the platform as creators. This is a bit of a catch-up effort as the young people exodus from the platform was triggered by a failure of Facebook to recognize that user generated content was what was desired and that those creators would want to get paid.
The world was Facebook’s to lose back in 2015 or so and, well, it lost it. They protected themselves from that a bit by buying Instagram, but they still feel that they are losing a grip on anyone younger than about 45.
The plan is to basically throw money at it. By offering popular influencers financial incentives to create on Facebook they hope to draw young eyes back to the platform.
The question is, to use another old adage, is whether the horses have already left the barn.
Facebook is not cool and if you’re a 20-something crater do you really want to risk losing your influencer status by leaving TikTok or Instagram to create on the same site that your grandma posts her muffin recipes on and your uncle posts about how he saw a UFO down at the lake?
That’s the challenge Facebook faces.