Social Media’s Decline Creates Alternative for Occasions

Have I stated that 2023 has been a bizarre yr? I opened my keynote at this yr’s Content material Advertising World with that remark, and I really feel like I say it on each catch-up name with shoppers.

One of many weirdest issues is the pronounced decline in social media participation. A few of it has to do with a sure multibillionaire making odd selections a few explicit platform. However one thing else is happening, too. 

Related internet knowledge (gathered into a chart by Axios) reveals natural clicks to web sites from Fb and X (previously Twitter) have collapsed – dropping to (in some instances) one-sixth of what ranges seen only a yr in the past.

I’ve seen articles attributing most of this modification to Meta and X actively discouraging folks from posting information articles on their respective platforms.

However this steep social plunge entails greater than information websites. Other data signifies a basic decline in folks posting and commenting on Fb and Instagram.  

And also you don’t want formal analysis to see that enterprise and advertising content material is down on X (however we’ve got that, too, as you’ll see in our newest B2B analysis, out tomorrow). My expertise at Content Marketing World satisfied me.

For the final seven or eight years, I’d go away the keynote stage and see lots of of tweets and pictures in my feed. This yr – I counted about 20.

Nonetheless, social platforms aren’t dying. Fb content material consumption is up (although B2B entrepreneurs inform us they’re utilizing it lower than they did). Instagram Reels use is up. And TikTok continues to be a juggernaut in consumer engagement.

My conclusion: The hole between the quantity of people that create content material on social media and people who solely devour content material on social media is widening. Put merely, social media is changing into simply media.

#Social platforms aren’t dying – but they’re becoming less social and more media, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Individuals need to be social (in particular person and on-line)

It’s convention season as I write this, and publishers, occasion firms, software program firms, and all method of associations are evolving their in-person and digital occasion methods.

Information reveals the will for in-person events is strong regardless of headwinds reminiscent of inflation, well being issues, and the continued restoration of the hospitality business. CMI noticed that want within the progress of Content material Advertising World attendees and sponsors this yr.

In the meantime, digital and digital occasions are additionally rising. Our analysis reveals sustained curiosity in webinars and digital occasions. (As you’ll see within the new analysis, webinars trailed solely in-person occasions within the techniques that produced outcomes.)

The takeaway: Individuals need to be social, they usually need to devour newsy content material in a social approach. So, it is smart to prioritize occasions.

Simply keep away from this error along with your (digital or in-person) occasion technique. 

People want to consume content in a #social way. That’s an opportunity for events, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Don’t devalue digital choices

Within the early 2000s, earlier than social media took off, media firms discovered themselves compelled into new digital enterprise fashions (e.g., shifting their print publications to digital codecs). On the time, folks thought-about digital actual property subpar in comparison with the analog media of print, radio, or tv.

Media gross sales groups typically offered digital as a “make good” or “worth add” to persuade manufacturers and businesses that their print advert purchase was value it. They gave away digital promoting free of charge.

What occurred? Effectively, it labored. Manufacturers valued digital media for exactly what they paid for it. That, after all, made it arduous for digital groups to monetize content material.

In 2008, NBC Common Chairman Jeff Zucker famously stated the leisure business was “buying and selling analog {dollars} for digital pennies.” A yr later, he upgraded the assertion to “digital dimes” after which “digital quarters” (, inflation). However the sentiment remained for years – digital is much less precious and must be a cheaper method to devour content material.

Product firms did primarily the identical factor as media firms. Holistic digital content material methods didn’t exist within the early days of internet sites, blogs, and social media. Most firms merely checked out their web site or content material advertising strategy (to the extent one existed) as a digital cease on the knowledge superhighway. They noticed digital media because the cheaper different.

Over the following decade, everyone from software program distributors to media and content material brokers promoting digital-over-physical options extolled digital as simpler, sooner, and cheaper than analog options.

Guess what? It labored. Many senior leaders within the C-suite nonetheless view digital prices by means of a way more vital eye than any different.

A tv advert ought to be dearer to supply than a YouTube video. Proper? Isn’t an e-book simpler and cheaper than a “actual” e book? It have to be. Protection in a digital journal is value lower than getting an article within the printed The Wall Avenue Journal. Isn’t it?

In fact, social media democratized the power to succeed in customers organically. So, it should be cheaper than paid promotion.

A web based occasion that includes audio system and schooling have to be cheaper and simpler to create than its bodily counterpart, proper? The audio system and viewers don’t even should journey. It should be cheaper, proper?

Fallacious. Fallacious. Fallacious.

#SocialMedia democratized organic reach. So, it must be cheaper than paid promotion, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The medium doesn’t make content material precious

If the decline of natural posting (however not content material consumption) on social media says something, it’s that the platform (bodily or digital) is not what makes the content material precious. All content material – created and revealed from any variety of capabilities within the enterprise – has a typical objective: To create a constructive expertise for the individuals who devour it.

Occasions (in-person and digital) are as large a chance as they’ve ever been. They create the social alternatives folks need. They’re, by definition, scarce. And so they’re a chance to develop natural relationships with prospects.

So, right here we’re within the fourth quarter of 2023. Manufacturers and publishers face a dilemma: How can they evolve occasion content material methods to make the most of digital on the identical time all of the social is getting sucked out of media?

We’ve begun to listen to from a number of model groups on this subject.

Most often, they deal with occasions reminiscent of sales-kickoff conferences, buyer occasions, thought management summits, and so forth., like a lot bigger variations of the opposite belongings they create. In the event that they’ve been doing them yr after yr, they’ve an excellent course of for assembling every one. They’ve down the fundamental elements, prices, and efforts.

However, for essentially the most half, there’s no content material technique. No effort goes into contemplating how the content material may be reused, repackaged, aggregated, managed, or activated in numerous digital experiences (particularly if attendees aren’t sharing and amplifying the content material on social as a lot as they as soon as did).

Nobody is asking these questions:

  • How can we seize all of the shows to current an on-demand model?
  • How ought to we construction the content material to make it simply findable and reusable in different codecs by different groups and in different channels?
  • How ought to we leverage the ability of digital to make a web based model of the occasion completely different than its bodily counterpart?
  • How ought to we regulate our measurement to trace which periods folks watch on-line, how lengthy they’re seen, and different metrics that present worth to occasion sponsors?
  • How may we ask for various speaker presentation codecs to create one thing (e.g., contextual e-books) that gives a greater digital expertise than PowerPoint slides?


Sure – I simply yelled that. It’s my mantra, and I’ve it printed and taped to my pc as a result of I’m as responsible as anybody of forgetting it.

A digital occasion is not any much less precious, must be no cheaper, and may present no much less an expertise than an analog occasion. Totally different? Sure. Lower than? No.

If social media is changing into much less social and extra media, then content material groups ought to strategy speaking about occasions on social media differently. As a substitute of counting on audiences to share their experiences, plan to put up the insights and highlights from the occasion itself.

In different phrases – as a substitute of encouraging attendees to share their experiences, inform them they will expertise some parts of the occasion by means of social media. Take into account that this content material must be no much less precious than the bodily or digital occasion itself.

From a sensible perspective, for instance, you would do a stay social media interview with a speaker simply earlier than or after the occasion. 

Executing an strategy like this requires treating all the work (and the medium it’s designed for) with care and technique.

Media guru Marshall McLuhan long ago noted, “When any new [media] kind comes into the foreground of issues, we naturally have a look at it by means of the outdated stereos … We’re simply making an attempt to suit the outdated issues into the brand new kind, as a substitute of asking what the brand new kind will do to all of the assumptions we had earlier than.”

Social media completely illustrates his level. For the final decade, folks handled it as a spot the place folks develop into the media. And its decline might immediate us to settle into what social media will finally be: one other type of creator-focused broadcast media.

However it doesn’t matter what the catalyst – a disruptive enterprise change like the event of digital media or the evolution of any buzzy new interface – don’t let anybody see the evolution to new methods of delivering content material as an simpler approach.

Having audiences share content material on social media was a extremely environment friendly method to attain new audiences organically. Now that it doesn’t occur as a lot, manufacturers should develop into the media for brand spanking new audiences to find.

You’ll should deal with social media as its personal platform, with simply as a lot thought, care, and high quality management as every other content material channel.

Suppose expansively. Digital occasions, bodily occasions, social media, and content material aren’t facet initiatives. They’re THE venture.

It’s your story. Inform it properly.

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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising Institute