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Social media: Why are more people choosing to switch off?

Are more people switching off from social media?

Social media has a vast amount of benefits. From a personal point of view it allows us to connect and stay in touch with friends, instantly view the news and find forums of support. From a business standpoint, it enables companies to target consumers, develop and grow a brand and create a community.

However, the pitfalls of social media have been widely documented, perversely as it has gained popularity. It appears that an increasing number of Millennials are taking breaks from social media or are switching off from it all together, often due to feelings of anxiety. A study by Anxiety UK found that 60% said they felt the need to completely switch off their phones and computers in order to have a social media break. According to the Guardian, health groups have accused social media platforms of deepening young people’s feelings of inadequacy and unease.

According to research undertaken by Attest, when given the statement ‘social media has a positive influence on society’ Millennials agreed 24% to this statement, which is interestingly less than Generation Z  who were in agreement of 31%. This suggests that it may be easier to reach Generation Z if they are more open to social media, however this still leaves the challenge of reaching those Millennials turning away from social platforms.

The way in which Millennials are using social media is also changing. The focus seems to be shifting from half-heartedly scrolling through the platforms on broadcast social media, in exchange for a more intimate way to communicate with friends through private and group messaging.

As pointed out by The Conversation, if Millennials are no longer ‘liking’ posts on Facebook, therefore engaging less, advertisers might not find the longstanding value of the platform beneficial. This presents a difficulty for marketers, particularly as social media is a valuable tool for many businesses. How do they reach those who want to steer clear of social media or who mainly use it to speak to friends? Perhaps companies should make a concerted effort to digitally targeting their audience in a more concise, thorough and creative way? The changing landscape of social media will hugely affect businesses, forcing them to give more thought to their overall marketing strategy, including the use of traditional marketing methods.

If you’re interested in social media and digital marketing, find out more about our International Marketing MSc (online), which explores these themes in a digital marketing module.