Will your social media marketing be impacted by the fallout from this month’s riot at Capitol Hill? If your target audience includes any demographics that tend toward conservative views, then the answer is a definite maybe.
After lawmakers and journalists arrived at a general consensus that President Donald Trump had played a role in instigating that riot by repeating false allegations of election fraud, Twitter finally made the decision to ban the controversial figure from its platform. But the move came only after the president refused to remove multiple posts that were considered violations of its terms of service.
Critics of the president had long maintained that, far from being silence by social media, Trump was receiving preferential treatment which allowed him to chronically violate the TOS without facing consequences. Nevertheless, his ban has now amplified the voices of conservative commentators who fear the social media giants have too much power.
Many people have promised to boycott Twitter. The implications for social media marketing are obvious, although it isn’t clear how many people can be expected to actually follow through on the threat. Like it or not, there are only a handful of popular social media platforms, and this puts people in the awkward position of having to either relinquish that part of their online routine or else compromise their principles in order to stay engaged with their followers.
On the other hand, the ongoing controversy has brought renewed attention to the prospect of new competitors entering the field. This blog has previously made the point that the existing social media landscape will not last forever, and that social media marketing campaigns must be ready to adopt new platforms. However, the point was never that those platforms would emerge out of a wholesale rejection of the established players. And if anything, the current situation underscores how unlikely it is that this will happen.
Some of Trump’s supporters made a hard turn toward Parler both before and immediately after his ban. But the growth of that un-moderated platform came to an abrupt end when it was removed first from the Google and Apple app stores and then from Amazon’s web hosting. This isn’t a sign that new players are shut out of the market altogether. The countermeasures were justified by the proliferation of content like death threats, which wouldn’t be an issue on a new platform that emerged organically, as opposed to being an outlet for backlash.
So where does this leave you if your social media marketing is directed, at least in part, at people with a conservative worldview? Well, despite those people’s consternation, many of them will remain accessible through platforms like Twitter over the long term. Some may follow through with a boycott of all social media, but in doing so they’ll leave you with no option but to write them off from your social media marketing campaign and try to reach them instead through traditional web marketing, e-mail outreach, and so on.
Eventually, some of the people who are presently upset at Twitter and Facebook may begin to gravitate toward another alternative that doesn’t have any of the existing baggage. Your social media marketing team should be ready to take advantage of those outlets early if they really seem viable. But for the time being, the lesson to take away from this situation is the same as it ever has been. The existing reach of social media marketing is too great to be threatened by any one incident, even when it involves the president of the United States. Still, the social media landscape is changing all the time, and you need to remain watchful, and change with it.