Teaching startups about Social Media

Tuesday 29 March 2022

UniCredit and Luca La Mesa analyze how the world of social media is changing and how important it is to understand it in order to allow startups to grab new opportunities and avoid wasting budget.

2:00 min

During "Value Tech for Women in Tech", we’ve had a rich agenda of meetings and networking events created by UniCredit Start Lab for the benefit of 20 female-led startups. On the second day, we met the well-known social media strategist Luca La Mesa, with whom we analyzed some trends in the world of social networks, in order to identify risks and opportunities for startup companies.

Changing social consumption habits

"Changing right now," La Mesa recalls, "are first and foremost the platforms within which users spend the most time. In November 2019, I went to the offices of TikTok in China to better understand what was happening. A year and a half later, TikTok has shown incredible growth and has made some creators who first launched content that users liked extremely popular."  

 

"During the same period, Facebook lost users for the first time. In February 2022," La Mesa continued, "news came out that users accessing Facebook on a daily basis had declined from the previous quarter. Facebook lost about one million users in North America. A drop that is honestly small - if you consider that there are still 1.929 billion active users - but that has alerted the stock markets: Meta (the new name of the Facebook company, within which there are also Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and other services, ed.) has lost over 20% of its value on the stock exchange (-200 billion dollars)."  

 

"Startups must therefore bear in mind that Meta remains the most important platform to make their company known and seek new users but it is important to keep an eye on new channels such as TikTok. There have also been experiments with new platforms that rely only on audio (Clubhouse) but they represented a 'flare-up' during lockdown periods and then gradually faded away over time."  

Between advertising and privacy

"What needs to be taken into account is that digital advertising is losing profiling capabilities since, from the Cambridge Analytica scandals onwards, there have been several events, from regulations (GDPR) to some technological choices (Apple's iOS14), that have reduced the ability to profile users. We're all gaining more "privacy" from this but the feeling is that the whole thing will still have to evolve and in this interim period startups should not rely only on social channels for their communication and customer acquisition activities."

Social and technology: new opportunities

The next trend to keep an eye on is definitely technology, as the Web 3.0 world is growing steadily and opportunities and ad-hoc professionalism will arise to manage it. Meta has already announced incredible investments to develop its Metaverse and there are many opportunities for startups that will prove to be innovative in this vein.

Subscriptions: a reward for loyalty

A final important consideration concerns new business models. More and more subscription-based services are emerging and startups that move in this direction will have the advantage of being able to clearly estimate future cash flows, the Life Time Value of users and with these metrics it could open up many more opportunities to raise capital to allow them to scale further and further. For example, recently with my team we created a training platform with a single annual subscription at a nominal price, which demonstrated how you can set up a profitable business model even with annual micro-transactions from thousands of users. The most important metric in the future will be "loyalty" and the successful models will be precisely those with higher quality and higher subscription renewal rates.