When social media was first a ‘thing’, most people, me included, probably saw it as just another fad. But nearly two decades on from the births of the first social media platforms, it appears as though it’s here to stay.
This article will attempt to answer the question on everybody’s lips: If social networks were Avengers, who would each one be? You can also find out how each major platform can bring a different facet to your social media marketing strategy.
I am going to issue a spoiler alert here, but with no apology – Avengers: Infinity War has been out for almost a year, if you haven’t seen it yet, that’s on you.
If Captain America is ‘The First Avenger’, then his social media counterpart must surely be Facebook. The behemoth of the social media landscape was the first social network to truly reach the masses, and more importantly, stay there. Equipped with a vibranium-shield like legal team, swatting away lawsuits, Facebook continues to push on and dominate the online media space more and more since its launch in 2004.
Because Facebook knows everything about you, it's a marketer’s dream. You can harness Facebook’s data to target ads based on almost every kind of demographic, interest or hobby you could think of. This makes Facebook the 2nd largest advertising platform in the world, and with a user base in the billions, this probably won’t change any time soon.
Facebook’s biggest rival? Younger, more hip? Step forward Tony Stark AKA Iron Man. Launched in 2006, Twitter has fast become the go to place for conversation. I myself use Twitter as a source for all things concerning sport, news, and current affairs (@tomcornall if you fancy it). I haven’t posted a Facebook status update in years, and when I see people that do, I think to myself, “why don’t you just get Twitter?”. As Facebook has become more of a playground for advertisers and brands over a social network, Twitter has stayed just that, social.
Because of the type of content on the platform, Twitter collects a lot of opinion, and using an AI process called sentiment analysis, we can now use mass-collected qualitative data, like that on Twitter, to gauge user opinion and reactions. This makes it an incredibly powerful platform, right at the centre of technology and the future of marketing.
Instagram is a place where people put out a version of themselves that they want to be. Outgoing, cool, sociable. This isn’t the place where you post depressing content, this is where people go to stalk celebrities they see on reality TV shows, or to post pictures of their dinner or glamorous nights out.
If your target demographic in any way touches the 16-35 age range, then you simply have to include Instagram in your social media and overall marketing strategy. This is the place where that market is usually most engaged, so if your content is right (and on Instagram, it has to be), then results are almost guaranteed!
Smart, professional, witty? LinkedIn can only be Bruce Banner! The Dr. Jekyll side of the relationship to Hulk’s Mr Hyde and is known for being arguably the most intelligent of all the Avengers. Probably the most obvious comparison to draw on this list of social networks and their Avengers counterparts, LinkedIn is where people go to show off their most professional versions of themselves. No angry football opinions, no beach selfies; LinkedIn is the CV 2.0, where you can grow your professional networks and find a job.
As LinkedIn is a place for professionals, it is quite often the key platform in any B2B social media strategy. The type of content that makes it to LinkedIn is often more filtered and more professional than platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, where you can ‘get away' with a lot more.
Snapchat’s target audience is the young – end of. My parents for example can’t fathom why you would want to share pictures with people on Instagram, let alone Snapchat where they disappear after ten seconds. The vain, almost arrogant nature of our friendly neighbourhood Spiderman draws comparison to the attention seeking behaviour of those on Snapchat.
One of the emerging marketing forces in the social media landscape, Snapchat is shifting more towards brands and influencers, allowing them to create more interactive content, as opposed to just having a Snapchat story consisting of three minutes’ worth of 10-second Snapchats!
With a largely female audience (81%), Pinterest provides inspiration for women on a whole range of topics, from cakes and craft projects to wedding dresses and holiday destinations. The obvious shout of what Avenger to link Pinterest to is Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. One of the original Avengers, and arguably the group’s most prominent female character, Black Widow has provided inspiration for girls and women alike for years now, and with her own solo movie on the way, she will continue to do so for years to come.
Pinterest differs slightly from the other major players in social media marketing. This difference is down to that fact that users often check Twitter or Instagram as a break from doing something else, for example. Pinterest however is a place where people go to find new ideas and new inspiration for projects. A huge 84% of users say Pinterest helps them learn new things, and 55% of them use Pinterest for shopping, much higher than other social platforms. This means they are engaged and ready to buy, so if your ad is right, expect to reap the results.
Ahh Myspace. There’s a very high chance that the first ever friend you had on any social network was Tom Anderson, founder of Myspace, the music focussed, highly customisable social network. Myspace is from a different era of social networking, just like everyone’s favourite Guardian of the Galaxy. Although still technically alive (as Star Lord himself may be), Myspace has shifted to become more of a platform for new and emerging musicians, rather than an out and out social network. Watch out, Spotify!
Unfortunately for Tom Anderson, Myspace existed in a world before social media marketing was a big deal (trust me, there was once a time). Do not feel too sorry for Tom however, as Myspace was sold to News Corp in 2005 for $580 million, so he’s probably doing okay.
Social network that never really took off? Avenger that died in Infinity War and wasn’t overly important anyway? This is prime Falcon territory. In a film series with such a range of comic book icons, for a character like Falcon, it was always going to be hard to stand out, much like Google+. Launching in 2011, Google+ probably missed the boat for social networks, with the major players launching a few years earlier and already boasting impressive userbases.
As far as marketing goes, Google+ was a bit of a non-runner. Google announced it will begin shutting the service down from April 2nd, 2019 for two reasons: firstly, nobody uses it, secondly, they suffered a data breach that affected over 500,000 users. This was undoubtedly the final nail in the coffin for Falcon – sorry, Google+.
The twin brother of Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff, Quicksilver is a fast-moving superhero who is sadly not around for very long and died some time ago. The closest social media platform comparison to him is without a doubt Bebo. For a brief period of the early 00’s, Bebo was the place to go when you booted up the dial-up modem. It didn’t quite have the niche market as Myspace, and failed to serve any real purpose (sorry, Quicksilver). Gone too soon, RIP Bebo.
Sadly for Bebo, like Myspace, it was around in a time before social media marketing was really a thing, so the world will never know if Bebo could have grown into a media giant like Facebook.
So, that should answer your question of ‘If social networks were Avengers, who would each one be?’. If you think we missed anyone out, or you want to throw your suggestions into the hat (or even if you want to do the same but for Justice League), leave a comment below!