Two hours and fifteen minutes.
That’s the average amount of time we spend on social media every day. So around 30 percent of your total Internet time goes into replying to flirtatious chats and watching silly cat videos. Whew! Are we seriously that addicted to social media?
It seems we are.
But that’s not the real question here. Being a long-time marketing enthusiast, I am more concerned with how these big companies retain our attention.
After conducting a bit of research (and getting distracted with my friends’ vacation photos on Instagram in between), it’s evident these big social networking websites don’t just woo their users with viral content. They represent a unique purpose for their users, and all their strategies are more or less aimed to fulfill that purpose.
Let’s explore the retention tactics of the world’s most-used social media platforms.
A fast and dynamic microblogging platform, Twitter has long been struggling with user acquisition and retention.
Jack Dorsey, who was appointed permanent CEO of Twitter in 2015, refused to let it flounder. A new flurry of features have been added and it seems Twitter is back on track, even if growth might have been slower than other social networking sites. With its latest “lighter, faster and easier to use” dashboard, Twitter has garnered positive attention from its users. The round avatars, clearer typography and iconography, real-time replies and likes and decluttered UI have been received well.
Introducing the live-video feature coupled with the Explore option has made sharing news in real time easier (and let’s not forget about the increased character limit)!
And there’s more! Stricter anti-harassment and cyber-bullying features and safer DMs are extremely useful in Twitter’s operating realm. These are vital features because unrestricted bullying and verbal abuse can disrupt the citizen journalism touted by Twitter’s business model.
It’s all about serving Twitter’s specific purpose, and they are succeeding with their niche users.
Now for the biggest social networking site in the world with over 2 billion monthly users worldwide — Facebook, the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg. If there is one social networking site that almost everyone and their dog participates in, it has to be Facebook.
Facebook has retained its customers with useful tactics and regular updates. Those updates show a pattern of how Facebook grows with its audience’s needs. Whether it’s keeping up with the latest news posts or letting businesses create e-commerce pages on the site, Facebook offers a unique strategy for individuals to collaborate in both their personal and professional lives.
Some of Facebook’s features that raise its score over that of other platforms:
- Segmented inbox with better privacy options
- The ability to see who’s snooping around
- Lots and lots of secret emojis (check out the penguin and shark ones, my favorites!)
- Transferring files over Facebook messenger
- Creating a customized full-fledged “note”
- Facebook romance—a history of your relationship with someone special
- Downloading a copy of all your Facebooking
- Choosing a legacy contact
- … and there are many more
The most important feature might be the legacy contact feature. It makes a Facebook account different from any other account because it’s forever … and ever and ever! Nice work, Mr. Zuckerberg!
Our next social media website is Instagram — the photo sharing application that made sharing photos “sexier.” It’s amazing to note you can acquire $4 billion in sales revenue just by helping people share their holiday hot dog legs and hipster food snaps.
With 800 million monthly active users and 500 million daily active users, Instagram comes with a few smart and highly beneficial features that resonate with their audiences.
Live stories are one of the most important. On Instagram Stories, everything happens in real time. Influencers can interact with their followers, lovebirds can send live messages to each other, or you can just goof around over the Internet. Who cares? Since the audience can post their comments in real time, it creates an almost life-like interaction between users and followers.
While the multi-photo post and slideshow feature on Instagram didn’t take off that much, it’s a great feature when you’re posting a step-by-step recipe or makeup tutorials, utilizing before and after pictures to explain a product or subject in great detail.
Want to let your followers vote on polarizing topics or events? Instagram Polls lets you do that, enabling voting by swiping up or down. This feature gives you insights on who voted and what came out as the top choice — definitely a cool way to enhance audience participation and conduct market research.
Finally, there’s the Instagram paid partnership tool, which makes commercial partnerships more transparent and increases honesty and trust where the consumer is king.
Last but not least is LinkedIn — the most popular professional social networking site in the world, with over 500 million users from more than 200 countries!
LinkedIn’s unique value proposition is to let professionals network with other professionals from all around the world. In this regard, there are no websites that do it better. In fact, it’s like the global business yellow pages with a higher intelligence.
What makes LinkedIn so special?
- A rich profile with a great top tagline showcasing your professional identity
- An insta-mail service so you can reach the CEOs of your favorite companies
- Advanced and savable search options for everything professional
- The ability to have people make recommendations so you stand out as an “expert”
- Company pages so your business can create a solid brand impression
- Highly active groups where the top professionals share their ideas and opinions
- The occasional referral links to offers
LinkedIn is more about practical research and proactive networking than flashy or fun features. It fulfills its purpose really well, helping to make professional networking a piece of cake. That’s why many like it so much.
Retaining users can be a tough job. If you go overboard to impress them, they go away. If you do nothing, you end up in MySpace-land. Walking the middle ground can be tricky, and these top social networking sites seem to be doing quite well … at least for now. Who knows whether another Facebook or a new Twitter will suddenly pop up from nowhere and become the next big thing.
But we users don’t care much about that.
We are where the world is.