The Social Dilemma, or The Advertiser Dilemma?
Everybody started talking about it — a new Netflix documentary about social networks and its impact on our lives, behaviors, and opinions.
So we watched it, and here are a few things we retained: “Social networks are platforms where users are the product,” said the documentary. A product, as they call it, is something that will make them earn money. Basic.
From another perspective, TV and media have always worked this way, offering free information, content, and earning money by sharing advertising campaigns. So why would social networks be threatening? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Tiktok, and Google are the most influential companies today because they detain the most data. But again, why would it be threatening?
If we think about it, who forces you to upload your life on social media? Your engagement ring on Instagram? Your new job offer on Linkedin? Your vacations on Facebook? No one. We do it for self-recognition. To be a part of the group, to be desired, envied, loved, and feel important. That is the main problem of our generation. We can’t live without others’ approval, which leads us to offer all of our lives on social networks.
That being said, is it truly dangerous? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty much careful about what I post on the Internet, and I don’t care if Instagram recommends me a nice pair of shoes I’ve been looking for. It can even help me to discover new brands and support the local economy.
Social networks or media banner?
From a business point of view, those platforms are just media. Almost traditional media. They craft their algorithm to retain the consumer as much as possible to offer the advertiser the adapted target. Just like a TV channel would make an effort on the programs they offer. Till here, we’re good. If social media play a massive role in our perception of ourselves, how we picture our body image and society’s position is a little more perverse than that. We don’t make the difference between ads and content. Everything seems like a perfectly polished image, and we lose our perception of reality. Those platforms quickly became JUST media for advertisers when they were supposed to connect people. The danger here is to create a fake perfect virtual world where realness and empathy don’t exist anymore.
So, what can we do better?
As an agency, we will always advise our clients to be the most positive possible. Because of the current need, you’ll naturally stand up in the crowd. Your target is waiting for that kind of message: empowering, strong, benevolent, and smart. A brand shouldn’t be afraid of speaking out loud about their deep values: humanity, positive thinking, generosity, if it suits you, of course! Social networks were built to connect people, so we don’t see why “people” behind a brand couldn’t connect with “people” as consumers!
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