Facebook has treated marketers well for the past years and made it very easy to target users with ads and gain a lot of data on profiles as well. Facebook has certainly found a way to make a lot of money and in the early stages of social media development we all expected Facebook to become very influential, which it has.
Unfortunately, people are now more and more turning away from their busy newsfeed filled with irrelevant content and ads. Users are still loyal but the engagement has gone down and most people interested in real news and stories start looking elsewhere. Suddenly platfroms like Reddit and Medium started to show up and try to fill the gap of delivering a community, which lives from the content that is generated by users. No doubt that this hasn’t worked but it’s still not the platform most people are looking for because it is so different to Facebook.
Because Steemit has the great community approach and recognizes people for their great content, it has the potential to much more than all other platforms. Being in the content industry for a while now, I saw a lot of new apps, tool and sites pup up and shut down after a couple of months. Generating a user base and awareness for a new social network isn’t that easy because so many new apps are constantly popping up and are taking users away from traditional formats.
Will Facebook still be around in a couple years?
Facebook does have a right to still be there in the upcoming years and it’s unlike Twitter, always developing new features and going with trends. Mark Zuckerberg is a smart man and has made some really smart acquisitions recently but he still can’t get the content flowing on his site. People are posting pictures, videos and chat with each other but nobody is starting to use the content features given to them. It just doesn’t seem to be the right place.
Why? Facebook is so valuable to a lot of users because you can connect with friends and family and stay updated on what’s going on in their life. It’s very much around personal stories and sharing moments with your friends. It’s not about creating content to share with your inner circle because with that you want to reach a bigger audience. You want to expand your horizon and see what else is out there. What are other people writing about? What are they experiencing?
Our mind has shifted to a global mindset and Facebook doesn’t provide the connectivity to a broader community.
In my opinion, Steemit is on the right track to bulid something valuable for a lot of people. People across the world can now share their stories and feel appreciated by it because they receive the recognition at the same time. Writers and readers can now connect and explore more content from around the world. But, Steemit is still lacking some core features to get to the next level.
Here are some features where Facebook is certainly lacking and Steemit could easily pick up on.
1. An easy to process reward system/wallet
Since Steemit is such a new and innovative system a lot of newbies aren’t aware of how the system works and probably have no idea what the blockchain has to do with all this. A lot of technical people were the first to join the community and controlled a lot of the content that was shared on here. They still do because it’s only natural that these people are the early adaptors. The wallet and reward system is not easily explain to outsiders who are not familiar with bitcoin and have never traded before. If Steemit really wants to become a bog player in the social media industries, managing the payouts in an easy way is crucial for long term success. Otherwise people won’t trust the platform and it’s success. I can’t highlight it enough that a social network needs to appeal to a lot of people to grow accordingly and therefore needs to be understood by someone in 1 sentence. Creating content around the functionalities and the system itself needs to be part of Steemit’s marketing and should be used for PR.
2. In app content and search
Facebook has already released an in-app content feature called Instant articles. So far only selected publishes can use this feature. Steemit has opened up blogging for everybody and is one step ahead of Facebook. However, the content is a focus on Steemit and one will need to find a way to better search through recent posts and follow certain categories. Not everybody has the same interests and by setting filters and using a nice UX design, it will be much easier to consume the amount of content that is being published. Similar to Twitter tools that split up the amount of content in streams, the team will have to find a good way to display the content on desktop and mobile.
3. More reach through organic traffic
Steemit has done something right in terms of SEO because it allows all blog post to be indexed by Google. Unlike on LinkedIn and Facebook, all content can start to rank in organic search results and that will automatically bring more users on to the page. There is still some overall Seo infrastructure needed to set up a good sitemap but the overall strategy will help steemit along the way.
4. More options to discover content
Facebook doesn’t really want you to discover content across the world very easily because it bases it’s algorithm on your connections. You will only ever see content that has been shared or read by friends of yours. This really limits the ability to discover more content.
Reddit and Medium have purely focused on giving people the opportunity to post content for everybody to see but both platforms still haven’t 100% figured out how to make this easier to discover. Reddit’s UI is terrible when it comes to reading through articles and just exploring new posts. In nowadays environment UX design can’t be underestimated because people won’t stay long enough on your site if you don’t invest into it. The early adapters won’t care too much about design but if you want to reach a broader audience the design needs to appeal to everybody.
5. Do not just hang out with your friends
Steemit has been able to grow a great community but it’s still missing some core features like nice profiles and easy ways to communicate with people. There are no obvious notifications when somebody mentions you and you can’t easily access the list of people you follow or filter content with that. I think it’s wise to take inspirations both from Twitter and Facebook on this but really focus on the content aspect since this is what makes steemit so special. Steemit should focus on creating professional profiles to discover content and encourage following others
6. Reward good writers and thought leaders
It’s more than a revolution that Steemit is able to reward writers for their content and I believe that this concept will go a long way. Writers never had the chance to present themselves and get rated and actually receive something in the end. This will make the platform very attractive for great writers and storytellers. It’s only fair that people are now being paid for the work they’re actually putting into the content. With the new reputation system Steemit just put in place we can see that the platform is already moving into the direction of rewarding people who submit good quality content on a regular basis. There is much more room for features like these to create a great list of though leaders for different sections/topics.
7. No user tailored and filtered content
Facebook uses a lot of algorithms to determine if you will like certain posts or not. They will study you behavior and only deliver you similar content every day. That gets very boring once you figured the system out. There won’t be anything new in your newsfeed and you will start to see the same content from the same people. It’s important for Steemit to stay away from too much personalization because users should decide themselves what content they want to interact with. The big advantage of Steemit is that it doesn’t restrict you from reading any content and doesn’t add any personalization. It’s what makes the community so special and I hope this won’t change.
Facebook is also highly dominated by big publishers who pay a lot of money to get a high reach on Facebook and publish their posts. For that reason, Facebook feels way more filtered and regulated. Not everybody sees the same information and can explore content from different sources within the app. Facebook is somehow self contained and doesn’t really want a user to leave the site. This all makes sense but it doesn’t allow for much media consumption across the world.
Because the Facebook algorithm is very smart and only shows content “relevant” to your location and language, it will never be able to offer you content that will broaden your content horizon.
Steemit doesn’t use an algorithm for a users profile and will hopefully never do because people like the autonomy to choose what content they want to consume. It has become very important to build a social network that allows for that movement of non regulated content consumption.
As you can see there are a lot of features Steemit can benefit from and leverage against the older social networks. Staying unique and not doing what everybody else is doing will be the key to success for Steemit.