by Andie Mirabal
A bill being considered in the United States Senate has the potential to change how consumers use social media as we know it. The act, introduced by Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), acknowledges the addictive features of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and proposes social media companies adjust and/or remove certain features from their platforms.
The bill, titled Hawley’s Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology Act, is intended to
reduce internet addiction and the negative psychological and physiological impacts that come with it. This includes increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. The act proposes removal of auto population of content and provide a default setting limiting use of social media sites.
If enacted, it will regulate how much content users consumer and how they consume it. For example, social media companies would be required to remove auto population of content that leads to endless scrolling, auto play for music and videos (this will not affect music streaming platforms) and would limit users to 30 minutes of the platform each day, unless otherwise directed so by the user.
While supporters of the legislation is intended to give back time and sanity to their constituents, there are some unintended consequences that could impact small business.
Social media is an effective way to connect directly with consumers as they decide everything from where to eat to what medical provider to use. It is an affordable communication and advertising solution. With the ability on some platforms to reach over 1.59 billion users daily through advertising options that cost as little as $31. It’s no wonder that social media marketing has taken the world by storm.
Based on any success of the legislation in its present form, small business will need to re-think how they connect with customers. The prospect of less content and time to reach consumers could result in:
- A smaller reach for your campaigns
- Inflation of social media advertising costs
- Fewer impressions
- Less targeted campaigns
Regardless of how, or if, this legislation moves through Congress, it provides small busiensses the opportunity to tighten up some existing best practices.
- Place a higher emphasis on earned media tactics. This relatively lower-cost approach can increase your SEO, provide company mentions in other digital realms such as blog posts and other social media feeds. It also increases the chance of your story getting in front of consumers elsewhere.
- Consider other digital media advertising options such as Google AdWords. This is a low-cost alternative that impacts searchability for your company.
- Focus on making your social media content more meaningful. If consumers only have a limited amount of time to see your posts, be sure that they are leaving a lasting impression.
To view the full bill, click here.
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