The last decade has seen the advent, rise, and dominance of social media. It is pervasive in our work and personal lives and it has revolutionized the way many approach business and investment. Facebook, which started in 2004, now has over 1.23 billion active monthly users, while Twitter has over 218 million users. The success of social media platforms such as these has resulted in the proliferation of new technologies and indeed, whole industries.
Crowdfunding, which has only recently begun to gain popularity, owes much of its success to traditional social media platforms such as
Facebook and Twitter. From the start, crowdfunding has been inextricably connected to social media platforms and is, in fact, completely reliant on the Internet to function. This begs the question, is crowdfunding’s fate tied to that of Facebook and Twitter?
Admittedly, Facebook and Twitter are massive corporations with millions of supporters and investors, but this is not to say that they are invulnerable to market forces and consumer demand. If one recollects MySpace, it too was once considered the preeminent social media platform which would be around forever . . . Needless to say, companies come and go.
Facebook’s recent and startling admission that it was seeing a “decrease in daily users, specifically among teens,” and the fact that Twitter’s user growth has slowed down, should be noteworthy to the crowdfunding industry. Facebook’s user decline, especially amongst teens, is important because teenagers and those in their early twenties are the demographic which often champions a new technology. If this demographic is starting to leave social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, it is not a massive leap to assume that other demographics may soon follow.
That being said, teenagers and those in their twenties are not abandoning social media altogether, they are just moving to mobile media applications WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Instagram, which offer greater privacy and a more personal connection to people. While it appears that the demise of Facebook and Twitter is a long way off, prudent members of the crowdfunding industry, both entrepreneurs and platforms, should look beyond the big two and consider how to capitalize on new social media applications.
Additionally, businesses should not underestimate the value of their email lists. While individuals do change email addresses, this does not happen frequently and often the same email address is kept for years. An email list is a very valuable company asset. Once you have an email database, although there will be some loss, you have a more reliable and long term method of contacting users and investors. There has yet to be a social network that has proven that it can withstand more than a decade of use, but many email providers have. Companies should always maintain their emails and seek to continually expand this list as an alternative to exclusive reliance on their social networking strategy which may be negatively impacted by advancing technology.