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Think outside the social media box: using platforms for alternative purposes

The digital natives of the world are taking social media to a standard that the rest of us hadn’t even thought of. Instagram is for putting your prettiest face forward and Twitter is for voicing your opinions, right? That’s how it was always understood.

It seems the latest generation doesn’t agree. Users are currently making themselves known to recruiters by creating resumes for TikTok and portfolios for Instagram.

But what does that have to do with affiliate marketing? Inspiration. Maybe it’s time to break out from the boxes that social media platforms initially offer and stand out amongst the bunch. Maybe it’s time to be that hipster in the pub whining about how bad Twilight was and purposefully go against the grain.

The social media takeover

According to an article by CNBC, more and more users are using social media to gain careers in everything from entertainment to coding and lecturing. But it’s not just by keeping their LinkedIn profile updated, in fact, it seems Gen Z has forgone using LinkedIn, because “everyone is on there”.

And it’s true. In a sea of qualified and experienced post-grad students, are you going to stand out as a qualified and experienced post-grad student?

The article, titled How College Students are Using Social Media to Find Jobs, interviews Kahlil Greene, who has a TikTok profile educating the public on what he has learned in studying social movements at Yale and has used it to line up post-college plans to consult for public education.

Elsewhere, it’s not uncommon to make, if not a job, a portfolio out of your Instagram profile. Photographers, models, artists, all document their creations on the site. And yet, Instagram is entirely full of people from every industry displaying their work. It’s odd for a company to not display their Instagram prominently on every piece of marketing, even if their industry doesn’t really lend itself to it. Big companies attract staff with stories and photos of their pleasant working environments, and lone professionals display their clients, operations, or benefits from the work to the public to attract customers.

But even Instagram has become so awash with influencers and brands that it can be like shouting in a concert. Is it even possible to stand out?

How can you apply that to your affiliate marketing campaign?

The lesson here is to try something vastly different. For a minute, throw the rules out the window. Keep the very core of your brand, limit it down to three keywords, and ask yourself where you can apply them that people wouldn’t expect.

There are a lot of social media apps out there, a lot of which haven’t been used to their full marketing potential. Like Snapchat, which has a reputation for a fun time and not much more. However, in marketing, Snapchat users expect a backstage pass to your company, looking for the stuff that you wouldn’t reveal elsewhere. You can apply that elsewhere, giving behind-the-scenes insights on Instagram, and get your voice out there on Snapchat stories.

Other lesser-known social media apps include photo-based pinboard Pinterest, creative blog site Tumblr, discussion site Reddit, and writing platform AO3. These platforms are known for their generally quieter but passionate fanbase, who offer a level of loyalty the likes of Twitter and Instagram can only imagine. Look into lesser-known names like Ello, Medium, Quora, and more. These offer innovative ways of creating content that will stand out amongst the same photos everyone posts on Instagram. Even if you don’t post on the site, for whatever reason, you can create content for other profiles that will make people look twice. Boil the social media platforms you are using down to what is expected and aim to hit the exact opposite target.

How will it affect your campaign?

But maybe doing this goes against your brand? After all, you have curated a following based on your brand and by sticking to it. Won’t going against it destroy everything?

Not necessarily. There are disadvantages to strictly sticking to a brand. You can be pigeonholed, restricting creativity in your marketing campaign, which will bore your customers eventually when you are only offering the same thing. It can also allow you to become just another brand in a sea of brands.

And, as is the first rule of life, if it’s not working, change it. If your following has stagnated, or never really got off the ground in the first place, maybe it’s time to try something radical.

Plus, you might find you attract an additional or different audience that will be more loyal. A lot of companies design a product or service for one demographic, only to see it embraced by another. Maybe the Instagram users looking at your product aren’t the people who are interested, and you’d be better off transferring to Tumblr.

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