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 So.cl (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.