More than a decade ago, the rise of social media offered a unique opportunity: a promise to connect us with friends and family. And at the same time, it nourished new kinds of relationships with people whom we never met, but who we felt were like-minded or inspiring individuals. This digital social era was defined by self-expression, and has dramatically shaped our modern culture.
Social media platforms were once seen as a one-stop-shop for all types of content, where we simultaneously received news and entertainment alongside personal updates and messaging. With such a sheer amount of information circulated, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to getting your brand on social media. The world of digital marketing can seem even more daunting when considering how users have become increasingly selective when consuming content over time, with many no longer willing to wade through a sea of irrelevant or uninteresting content in search of something that is of interest and creates value.
This abundance of choice has transformed recommendation engines into an essential tool. It is this shift which has triggered the decline of social media as we currently know it, with user-generated content platforms slowly shifting towards algorithms which triumph over social graphs. As a result, the takeover of recommendation media has now begun and sets a new standard for content distribution, with feeds becoming increasingly sophisticated and carefully curated based on our personal preferences. It is not a competition based on popularity; instead, it is a competition where the absolute best content wins every time.
The rise of recommended media has transformed the way we consume entertainment. With the proliferation of streaming services and social media, we are constantly bombarded with recommendations for what to watch, listen to, and read next. Whether it’s TikTok or YouTube’s personalized recommendations or Spotify’s Daily Mix playlists, these services all use algorithms to curate content specifically tailored to our individual tastes. They sit one step ahead of the game, and predict what you want to consume before you are even aware yourself.
So, what does this mean for brands who want to connect with an audience that spend more and more time consuming content online?
In actual fact—and somewhat surprisingly—it provides brands and marketers with more power.
When distribution is not primarily based on relationships or a network of people, it becomes apparent that you don’t need a big following to reach a broader audience. As long as brands continue to create content that is entertaining, inspiring or relevant, the opportunity to succeed is fully within reach. The best creators will be rewarded. And platforms will indeed pay you—in views—if your content is good enough.
Since recommended media favors maximum attention, with platforms cherry picking the contents of your feed for you, when optimizing engagement anyone can get their content go viral. However, more important content, with both a purpose and niche, will more likely find its relevant audience. And that’s really all you need: to find the people that are interested in what you bring to the table.
For TikTok in particular, the potential is massive, with the app’s search function acting as a kind of ‘new storefront’ for Gen-Z. By finding ways to tap into the TikTok community with relevance and authenticity, brands can harness the power of entertainment and therefore become more likable and inspiring than ever.
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