Traditional Websites – RIP

The number of Social media tools is on the rise and it seems as if there still aren’t enough to go around. We have Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn and dozen of others and now Microsoft have joined the party with the new (pronounced Social) network which, they announce, is aimed at students. When another ‘big hitter’ like Microsoft enters the market you can bet that their social network will evolve and who knows where it will be and what it will look like in a years time.

If we highlight Facebook (with over 900 million users) and we see how it has changed over the past year as a case in point. I suppose the vast majority of us are now used to the Facebook ‘timeline’ but can you remember the consternation and anguish it caused when it was first announced. Whether it is a better or worse social media tool for this change is not the question because the majority of these changes are compulsory and what the provider wants you to have is what you get.

A large number of small businesses use tools like Facebook as their only web presence and are quite happy with the functionality it provides but larger businesses tend to have an interface between their back-office databases and systems and their websites, and Facebook alone just doesn’t cut it.

What worries me, and should worry you too, is not so much the functionality, or lack of, these social media tools provide but the question of control. You are no longer in charge of how your brand is presented and you have very little say in any changes that are proposed. You wouldn’t give away control of your business in normal circumstances so why would you want to when it comes to such an important area. I would be a little scared and I think you should be too. I am not saying that there is no place for social media tools in business but ….

Will social media tools replace traditional websites? I don’t think so. Not in the immediate future anyway.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer.

What Social Media Tools Are Best For Business

Recently I was asked by a client about what social media tools would be best for their business and, without even pausing for breath, I started to extol the virtues of the usual suspects Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I am sure a lot of you social media professionals out there would recognise this scenario and might had said something similar (bearing in mind that I DO know this customers business) but it did get me thinking.

The case for social media in business is well proven but what leads us to favour one social media tool over another? Is it purely down to the popularity (number of registered users) of the tool, how the tool will benefit the individual customer or do we select it purely because it’s one of our own particular favourites? For example, does a customer need to be on Google+ as well as Facebook? If the answer is yes, do they also need to have a presence on Bebo and MySpace? Where does it all end?

Social Media Icons

A good few years ago, someone, I can’t remember who, said they bought religious items from every religious body they came across. The reason they gave was that when it came to the time of their death they would be okay because no matter what was going to happen to their soul they had covered all bases. We need to ensure that we don’t recommend social media tools with this same approach.

Social media tools need to be fully appraised and recommended to our customers simply on what business benefits they bring, how they fit into the social media strategy and, more importantly, how they fit into the greater business strategy.

Bob Thomson is an IT professional with over 20 years experience in the industry having worked as a Consultant, Director, Manager and Trainer. He has vast experience using Microsoft software packages as an individual and in businesses situations.

He is also the Group Manager of the East Ayrshire Business Forum on LinkedIn.

Bob Thomson
Owner / Managing Director
Real Options