**Content — especially visual — is king**
According to a study conducted by Montclair University, the social media industry is entering a new stage that has the potential to be “highly profitable.” However, CEOs like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg will need to address five key areas to ensure the success of their companies. The study emphasizes the importance of content, particularly visual content, in attracting and engaging users.
The Rise of Visual Content
Platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest have excelled in providing visually appealing content. Photos and videos have proven to be effective tools in attracting users and generating advertising revenue. TikTok, with its short-form videos, has set the trend for other social media platforms, as companies like Instagram have introduced similar features.
The study highlights the significance of visual content in today’s world, where attention spans are short and distractions are abundant. Platforms that can pivot to primarily visual content will have a competitive edge in the social media industry.
**Having an AI Edge**
TikTok stands out among social media platforms due to its addictive short-form content. However, what sets TikTok apart is its AI-driven algorithm that selects content based on users’ interests, thoughts, and emotions. The study suggests that successful social media platforms must leverage AI technology to provide personalized user experiences and valuable insights for advertisers.
AI plays a crucial role in understanding user preferences and connecting them with relevant content and individuals. Mastering AI can enable social media platforms to capture user attention and maximize advertising revenue.
The concept of the network effect is essential in the success of social media platforms. The more users a platform has, the more valuable it becomes. Meta’s empire, formerly known as Facebook, thrives on the network effect. However, new platforms have also embraced this concept by introducing innovative features.
For example, Instagram focused on visual content, Twitter implemented a limited word count, and Snapchat introduced disappearing posts. These small tweaks in business models and platform design can have a significant impact on a social media platform’s success.
**Broaden and Diversify Revenue Streams**
Advertising has traditionally been the primary revenue stream for social media platforms. However, the study suggests that platforms should explore alternative options to enhance monetization. For instance, Snapchat has added a subscription-based service called Snapchat Plus, while Twitter launched Twitter Blue.
These additional revenue streams offer promising directions for social media platforms to generate more income. By diversifying their revenue streams, platforms can reduce reliance on advertising and adapt to the changing technological landscape.
**Becoming the ‘Everything App’**
The social media platform that can successfully become the “everything app” will have a significant advantage. By expanding into multiple areas and functions, a platform can leverage its ecosystem for data mining and targeted advertising. However, achieving this feat is not without challenges.
Managing a company brand while becoming a generalized “everything app” can make it difficult to distinguish oneself from competitors. Elon Musk has expressed his intention to turn Twitter into an everything app, but the study questions whether Twitter can truly achieve this while addressing profitability and content issues.
The future of the social media industry hinges on how companies tackle these challenges. Content, AI integration, networking, revenue diversification, and expanding functionality will play vital roles in determining which platforms emerge as winners. Only by adapting and innovating in these areas can CEOs like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg navigate the evolving social media landscape.