A relatively new and emerging subsection of the broader blockchain ecosystem is the concept of decentralized social media. On way to capturing a significant portion of market share in the competitive social media industry, decentralized social media systems have the potential to disrupt traditional social media networks and revolutionize how businesses have utilized them till now. It is thus, imperative to explore what exactly is decentralized social media, and how it might affect businesses in the future.
Decentralized social media refers to platforms that operate on a decentralized, distributed network rather than a centralized server. These are powered by blockchain technology and run independently contrary to conventional social networks. The architecture of decentralized social media networks is designed in a way where data is shared on multiple servers or nodes scattered across the network. Without censorship and a central authority for data, it allows for increased security and user control.
One of the major reasons decentralized social media is gaining traction is due to growing concerns about data privacy and the use of personal data by centralized platforms. In recent years, there have been numerous high-profile scandals involving the misuse of user data by companies like Facebook, leading to increased scrutiny and regulation of the industry. Social media data breaches made up more than 40% of all records breaches in 2021. With a majority of businesses utilizing social media channels for marketing, nearly 94%, consumers are increasingly looking for securing more control over their data. Privacy is now directly impacting consumer behavior . More than 90% of consumers believe that businesses have a responsibility to protect their data. Decentralized platforms offer a more transparent and secure alternative, as they do not rely on a centralized server to store user data. Another reason decentralized social media is gaining attention is due to the increasing influence of algorithms on traditional social media platforms. These algorithms can often prioritize content from brands and advertisers over organic content, leading to reduced reach for individual users and small businesses. Decentralized platforms, on the other hand, often rely more on user interactions and recommendations, potentially resulting in increased organic reach for content, thus amplifying a business’s marketing efforts.
Decentralized social media platforms provide users with greater control over their data and privacy, as they do not rely on a centralized server to store user data. This increased control and transparency can lead to increased trust in a brand, which can in turn result in increased user engagement. More than 80% of consumers are more likely to trust a company that is transparent about how it uses personal data.
Businesses have more control over their content and how it is moderated, as they are not subject to the policies of an otherwise centralized platform. Decentralized social media channels can help businesses ensure that their content is compliant with industry regulations and avoid any potential legal liabilities. This can be important for businesses in regulated industries such as finance or healthcare. Having allowed more cognizance of their brand-related content, businesses will be able to create a safer and more positive environment for their customers. For example, the social media platform Mastodon allows users to create their own "instances" with their moderation policies. Similar platforms can give businesses the ability to tailor the platform to their specific needs and values without coming vigilance under a centralized authority.
Decentralized social media platforms often rely more on user interactions and recommendations, rather than algorithms, to determine which content is displayed to users. This can result in increased organic reach for content, as it is more likely to be seen by users if it is recommended by their peers or has received a high number of interactions. Increased organic reach will then lead to increased brand awareness and engagement, as more users are exposed to a business's content. This can be especially beneficial for small businesses and individual users who may struggle to compete with larger brands and advertisers on traditional, algorithm-driven platforms. Social media platform Steemit uses a rewards system where users can earn cryptocurrency for creating and curating high-quality content. Businesses can utilize such features to define their marketing tactics and lead to increased engagement and reach.
Building and maintaining a decentralized platform require a significant amount of technical expertise. This can be a challenge for businesses that are not well-versed in distributed systems. It also requires significant infrastructure, such as servers or nodes, to support the distributed network. With surveys showing just about 10% of businesses have deployed blockchain technology at scale, technical complexity can be a hindrance to the full-scale adoption of decentralized social media platforms. However, the technical challenges of building and maintaining a decentralized platform may be mitigated by partnering with companies that have the necessary expertise and infrastructure, or by using open-source decentralized platforms that are supported by a community of developers.
Decentralized platforms are often smaller and less well-known than traditional centralized platforms, which can make it more difficult to reach a large audience. In addition, the "network effect" - the idea that a platform becomes more valuable as more people use it - can be a challenge for decentralized platforms trying to compete with established centralized platforms. But on the other hand, decentralized platforms can be a differentiator and emerge with a major foothold in the market based on their unique features and value propositions in contrast to centralized platforms
As with any new platform, businesses will need to adapt their marketing and communication strategies to create their audience on decentralized platforms. To effectively reach and engage with their audience on such platforms, businesses may need to align with the unique features and policies of the platform. This may involve researching the platform's user demographics, adapting content to fit the platform's format and policies, and exploring different marketing and advertising options on the platform.
Most decentralized, all participating computers become individual server nodes, allowing for the encryption and decryption of data at multiple servers.
Examples: Iris, Planetary, Manyverse, Aether.
Includes an immutable ledger to store data code, and transactions on a peer-to-peer network to maintain permanence.
Minds, Steemit SocialX, and Odysee.
These platforms are decentralized in the sense that data is shared across multiple servers or nodes rather than being stored in a central location
Mastodon, Plume, PeerTube
Decentralized social media platforms can be used as a direct channel for customer service, allowing businesses to quickly and easily respond to customer questions and concerns. Currently, there are several brands globally that are utilizing social media for relaying top-notch customer service. Hotel chain online marketplace operator, Airbnb uses its official Twitter account to provide customer support and respond to customer questions and concerns. Utilizing decentralized platforms instead of conventional social media channels can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by not just ensuring enhanced security but an enhanced community experience, as well as reducing the workload on traditional customer service channels.
Currently as brands market through major social media channels, users often find themselves in a relentless flurry of unwanted advertisements and content targeted to their feeds. Decentralized social media instead can leverage inclusivity and be used to share company updates, blog posts, and other marketing content with a targeted audience. This targeted approach can be more effective in reaching and engaging with the right audience, as it ensures that the content being shared is relevant and valuable to the user. It helps in reaching and engaging with the right audience, as well as building brand awareness and establishing a company's reputation.
Social selling refers to the use of social media platforms to directly engage with potential customers and promote products and services. It is an effective way for businesses to generate leads and make sales. Studies report that businesses using social media for social selling saw more than a 45% increase in sales in the first year. Decentralized platforms can be used to showcase products and services, as well as gather valuable customer feedback and insights. By showcasing products and services and engaging with customers directly, businesses can take advantage of the unique features and capabilities of decentralized platforms to drive business growth.
Decentralized social media platforms have the potential to gain a significant market share in the future, especially as concerns about data privacy and the influence of algorithms on traditional social media platforms continue to grow.
As decentralized social media continues to emerge and evolve, businesses need to stay informed and adaptable to navigate this new landscape effectively. The potential long-term impact of decentralized social media on businesses is significant, as it has the potential to disrupt traditional social media networks and revolutionize how businesses engage with their audience. By staying up-to-date on developments and exploring the opportunities that decentralized platforms offer, businesses can position themselves for success in the decentralized social media of the future.
As a consulting firm with deep expertise in market intelligence, we can conduct market research to help you understand the potential impact of such emerging trends on your business and industry, and develop a go-to-market (GTM) strategy that takes into account the unique features and challenges of decentralized platforms. We believe that transformation is fuelled by being vigilant of emerging trends and acting upon reinventing and building capabilities. If you want to stay ahead of the curve and discover the transformation for your business potential, we encourage you to get in touch and learn more about how we can help.