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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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Why’s Meta (Facebook) Trying So Hard To Be Like Tiktok?

On Facebook professional mode & other social shenanigans 👀

It may not be obvious to everyone but Meta is going through an existential crisis kind of thing. 🤐

For such a large company, the instability with direction and essence is somewhat shocking but not completely unexpected.

In the last few months, Meta has gone from trying to spearhead conversations and birth of the metaverse to chasing TikTok’s shadows.

Facebook vs Tiktok

Theirs is not an isolated development, even if they are feeling the heat more than others.

TikTok changed social media and set in motion activities that forced competitors to tear up their plans and go back to the drawing board.

While platforms like Snapchat and to an extent, YouTube had it a bit easier, text and image-based platforms like Meta struggled and continue to struggle to keep up with TikTok.

TikTok changed the social media game with videos and forced those they met in the game to go back to the drawing board.

LinkedIn experimented with LinkedIn stories briefly before packing the nonsense up.

Twitter toyed with Fleets before they pushed it aside.

YouTube created YouTube Shorts, they still haven’t caught up. In fact, they are in the process of rolling out YouTube usernames that will allow you to have a username and profile that you can create videos and share under.

Meta responded with Stories, then Discover, then Reels. Still, they are nowhere close to catching up with TikTok.

That is Meta’s problem: trying to be like TikTok.

That’s never going to happen. Meta is never going to beat TikTok at the videos game. The only way they ever win the videos game is if they acquire TikTok and I just don’t see that happening.

Like I said, trying to be like TikTok is Meta’s biggest problem because they’ll never win at that.

Because ByteDance will either never sell or anti-competition watchdogs will come after Meta if they try to buy. Already, Meta has been ordered to sell Giphy due to these anti-competition rules.

When Meta comes to terms with that truth that they can’t win the videos game against TikTok, that’s when they’ll stop this wild goose chase.

LinkedIn, Twitter and co realised the folly of being driven by this ‘video is the future’ menace earlier and went back to being their original selves and developed products/features that advanced their original plans.

Video may be the future of content creation and consumption but it will not eradicate written text, pictures or actual relationship building that’s at the core of what these other social media platforms have.

It can be used to complement existing models they have, but it will not be the sole driver of the platforms.

Instead of chasing TikTok and trying to win the videos game, Meta needs to focus on doing more of what got it where it is and be better at that.

Focusing on this obsession with making everything video-driven will not help Meta become better than TikTok at videos, it’ll end up making everyone want to do videos and they’ll turn to the number 1 video platform (TikTok) to do that.

  • Facebook has 2.9 billion monthly users.
  • Instagram has 2 billion users
  • TikTok has 1 billion users

These figures are from 7 months ago.

Meta built these numbers without the video craze.

They built a community of people that were okay with writing, reading, making friends, posting pictures and a little bit of video on stories and all.

That audience is most likely not the TikTok audience. That’s why despite the Reels feature being available on Facebook, it is not catching on with original content as much as TikTok is.

People who have interest in those videos still go to TikTok to download or make them and post on Facebook.

Again, the TikTok audience was never really Facebook’s core audience. I mean, these younger folks call Facebook a platform for old people. They’ve never been fans.

Why Meta thinks it’ll steal them from TikTok with their copycat and unoriginal approach beats me.

The solution is to throw everything in to make long form content, image-driven content, that’s your stronger forte more appealing.

You commission research and focus on rewarding creators that are creating the kind of content that’s powered your platform and helped it get to this point for years instead of trying to acquire video creators from TikTok and trying to give them stars and some cash for using your platform.

Beyond that, you don’t ignore videos completely. You focus on making it easier for people running ads on your platform to create better video ads right there from the ads manager without having to use external video editors.

You retain video as part of your plans, not make it the main focus of the platform.

And if you must be part of video by fire by force, acquire one of the ones that have made a name and are fairly popular and use them to compete with TikTok.

Platforms like Likee are not a bad idea. They can’t stand TikTok but they’ll at least satisfy your craving for being part of those driving the video revolution on social.

Still on Meta, making professional modes available for profiles is another outcome of the instability that has come to be associated with the company and their product/feature development in recent times. (Will talk more about this in a follow-up post).

I don’t see professional modes for profiles lasting. It’s either it will be shut down later or it’ll be allowed to remain but there won’t be any major development to the feature. Already, the Impressions and People Reached features no longer show numbers for professional mode on profiles.

Professional mode for profiles won’t even let you run ads the way a page will and I don’t see it happening too. Meta may experiment with it but they’ll be crazy to go that route.

Facebook’s plan is to foster real relationships. Imagine what would happen if every profile had the ability to run ads and amplify their posts. Like Instagram.

While it can make Meta a lot of money, it will erode the essence of the platform, erode human interaction and turn the platform to an ads platform rather than a social media platform.

Facebook makes money from ads because it has real people that come on the platform to interact, have conversations, make friends.

Making ads available for profiles will cut that out and spell an inevitable doom for the platform. That’s why I don’t see it happening.

I also think that the furore over being able to turn on professional mode for profiles would be reduced if more people paid attention to what’s been going on with Facebook pages.

Facebook pages are evolving from being just pages in some secluded area to looking like profiles with feeds and the ability to see and interact with posts from profiles and other pages.

The new experience mode for Facebook pages work the same way as these professional modes on profiles except that it can run ads, can be used with the Business Suite product and has tons of other possibilities for individuals and businesses.

All the talks of monetization and stuff on the professional mode of profiles can be achieved using the pages.

The best part of it is that if you want, you can merge that your professional profile with a new experience Facebook page, keep your friends as followers and get to enjoy all the benefits that the professional profile would have afforded and more using the pages.

Phew! I’ve said enough. 👊🚶🏻‍♂️

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