What is Mastodon? Will it change your social media marketing strategy?

May 5, 2017
By John

Let’s talk about your social media marketing strategy. Do you have business accounts for all of the following: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+? What about Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat?

That’s great, but you probably don’t need them all. It’s not worth your while having a whole stable of social networks that are grazing the field and doing very little for you. 

Social media marketing is a key ingredient to inbound success. However, like every other part of your marketing strategy, the people you want to communicate with need to be heavily researched before you reach out to them.

For instance, Pinterest is a predominantly female-focused social network, with 81% of its users being women. With men only accounting for 7% of total pins on the network, and millennials using Pinterest as much as Instagram, focusing on those outlets alone with a creative inbound strategy could be a better use of your time than posting across several social accounts, if you're looking to target women in their twenties.

Mastodon could send Twitter back to the stone age

It can sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at the amount of businesses desperate to grow who think they need to be present on every social network for fear that they might be missing out on potential leads.

A lot of commercial entities also sometimes don’t understand that the services offered by Facebook and Twitter aren’t set in stone.

Like any business, social platforms also need to beware of the competition and stay fresh when a savvy new competitor claims to be the new kid in town.

A problem that Twitter is currently facing with Mastodon, a new social network that claims to have taken the very best bits of Twitter and combined them with an open-source platform that offers more refined privacy options and easier ways to fight harassment.

The latter two are some of Twitter’s biggest problems. As useful as Twitter is, it can be also a breeding ground for some of the most poisonous opinions imaginable; so much so that the social platform is eradicating its famous egg because of its association with harassment.

Instead of being an all-in-one network, Mastodon features ‘instances’ which are specifically moderated. With one of its most popular instances outright banning bullying, pornography, file-sharing and holocaust denial, it’s easy to see why Mastodon is already receiving favourable press coverage against Twitter’s social media Wild West.

 

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That doesn’t make Twitter obsolete, though

Mastodon is still incredibly new and young, with the network only having 216,000 users a few days ago and less than 1,000 instances.

We’ve also been here before, too, with the likes of Ello. Ello was supposed to be a Facebook-killer a couple of short years ago before fading into obscurity. Its founder, Paul Budnitz, has also recently launched Wuu, described as a ‘confusing Snapchat alternative’ by The Verge.

Mastodon’s acclaim also isn’t universal, with some saying its lack of advertising options are set to send it the way of Peach, a social network which managed to stay alive for the best part of a week before crumbling.

Still, while it’s still in its early stages, Mastodon is worth keeping an eye on precisely because it doesn’t act like a traditional social network.

For years, many have been trying to create a social network that captures the best of user-generated-content sites like Reddit and complements it with the social interaction and engagement capacity of a Facebook or Twitter. Mastodon currently looks best-placed to fill that gap in the future if it’s strategic with its development.

Even if Mastodon does fulfil that potential, Twitter can still be an incredibly valuable part of any social media strategy, especially when it comes to engagement with potential leads and new audiences.

Twitter is an excellent way to engage with audiences

Two restaurant chains over in the U.S. have recently changed their Twitter strategies to focus more on brand engagement in totally unique ways to attract more of their core audience.

Arby’s and Wendy’s have loosened their ties in different ways to attract millennial Twitter users who are tired of constantly being bombarded with offers and stiff tweets.

Arby’s is instead focusing on pop culture, rearranging its food to look like comic-book characters and gaming references as well as posting gifs and memes to directly target a niche.

Arby’s director of social media Josh Martin says: “The beauty of a lot of our content is, probably 70% of the people that follow our page don’t get it. But the 30% that we’re targeting absolutely love it.”

Engagement is key to Arby’s Twitter social strategy and improving its brand perception amongst its audience. Wendy’s has a similar goal and is targeting the same niche audience, but is doing it in more radical ways than its competitors.

While it also posts similar pop-culture content in the vein of Arby’s, Wendy’s also takes a pretty bold approach and actively trolls its competitors and their followers to try and attract new audiences with its wit.

Wendy’s’ Twitter account constantly has McDonald’s in its crosshairs, trolling them with every chance it gets and enhancing its reputation amongst its followers with its approach. It’s not only a cost-effective way to advertise, but defines Wendy’s against the competition and makes it, well… cooler, too.

 Mastodon might change your social media marketing strategy, but Twitter is still cool

Knowing your audience is key to social media marketing success

Wendy’s’ social savviness also makes it look even better when its competitors try to talk the talk and fail spectacularly. KFC’s X-rated ‘hot and spicy’ joke was retracted after a few hours with a full online apology a while back, something that you can’t imagine Arby’s or Wendy’s doing.

Again, both chains have heavily researched their audiences and identified the platforms to best reach out to them in an industry that needs bums on seats to measure success.

As it should be for any business looking to enhance their brand reputation, boost their growth potential, increase the quality of their leads, improve sales or other through social media marketing, whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Mastodon or any other platform.

Find out where your audience is spending its time online, the challenges people within it face in their daily lives and how you can offer solutions with positive outreach.

Putting some budget into your social marketing efforts can also unlock the incredible target tools offered by the majority of social platforms, allowing you to reach out almost-instantly to the people who matter most to the success of your business with creative inbound marketing.

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. Make sure your social media management is helping not damaging your brand by reading our post "How to boost your brand reputation with social media management" 

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