Normally I’m not one to comment on the big-business side of social media (note the lack of posts about Facebook’s upcoming IPO), but lately I’ve been noticing a trend that bears some attention here, because it affects all our long-term social media strategies.
While LinkedIn continues to be the textbook example of a successful social network, many of Facebook’s recent moves have experts questioning its staying power.
I’m thinking specifically of Geoffrey James’ recent article in Inc. magazine, where he says of Facebook’s recent acquisition of Instagram:
It’s as if CEO Mark Zuckerberg is terrified of becoming irrelevant and is willing to spend insane amounts of money in order for Facebook remain on the forefront of cool. That’s a hopeless quest, though. Facebook may be many things, but it’s not cool any longer. It lost that imprimatur back when it allowed corporate pages (yes, even yours) and advertising.
The funny thing is, I’m starting to think he has a point … especially for those of us who remember a little network called MySpace.
Way before social media went mainstream, MySpace was the place to be. I was once really active on it … for about a week. I got so fed up with the constant bombardment of advertising that I switched my allegiance to what was at the time a spunky little network started by some freckle-faced kid at Harvard. It was clean, simple, easy to navigate, and focused on people connecting with people—not advertisers hawking products.
Fast-forward to May 2012, and that same folksy little network just rolled out Facebook Offers in an attempt to get a piece of the Groupon/LivingSocial pie. This just a few weeks after forking over a ludicrious $1 billion to acquire Instagram, because the startup was stealing a hair too much of its thunder.
Now let’s look at LinkedIn’s actions over much the same time period. Just last week, the network launched a new-and-improved suite of mobile apps designed to move the network one step closer to a one-stop electronic business hub. And it had its own acquisition to announce: the purchase of online presentation service SlideShare, a move that’s as natural as it is brilliant … and that sent LinkedIn’s stock price through the roof.
Don’t get me wrong, folks—I haven’t morphed into a Facebook-hater. Resonance will continue to be an active force on the world’s largest social network, and I’ll continue to advise my clients to do the same. But all of us (myself included) need to be mindful of putting all our eggs into one social media basket.
By all means carry on with your Facebook strategy … but ignore LinkedIn at your own risk.
Because today, LinkedIn may appear to be the nerdy sibling to Facebook’s über-popular head-cheerleader-type … but a few years from now, our quiet bookworm may be the last one standing.
So, that’s my rambling take on the future of Facebook and Linkedin—what’s yours? Share your thoughts in the comments; we’d love to hear from you!
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