Marketers should limit their dependence on social networks and other third-party social media players. How to start:
1. Keep it simple. If people are talking about your brand online, create a forum on your site, AND engage with them in those other forums.
2. Start to bring those people to your branded site(s) and create more direct relationships with your target audiences. Those conversations on Facebook and Twitter should be on your sites.
3. Make your branded sites more engaging, i.e. add simple Q&A functions.
4. Track your visitors and use the data to generate new campaigns and revenue.
Don’t abandon the big sites. They are really important tools for online marketing. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Change happens so rapidly. Two years ago MySpace was the hottest thing, now it’s off the radar. According to figures from comScore and Quantcast, MySpace’s total U.S. audience has declined from about 74 million in May 2007 to 46.5 million in May of this year, while Facebook has soared from 35.7 million to 130 million over the same period. How about Bebo, a promising social network purchased by AOL for $850 million in 2008, recently dumped for $10 million. This volatility in audiences and valuation is amplified by redundancy, resulting from the proliferation of new networks which do similar if not identical things (for example, the recent wave of location-based services).
You never know what the social networks will be doing next.