Often when we run training this question, or something quite similar, is posed.
“So how long until Facebook bites the dust and gets replaced by a new platform?”
“MSN and Myspace deteriorated, why not Facebook?”
“But Facebook’s IPO flopped, they’re in trouble. How long before they get taken over by Google+?”
So what’s the answer?
Nobody can predict the future, especially not in the fast moving world of Social Media.
Almost every day, innovators throw another creation out into the Social Media sphere, offering a new way for people to connect and share with each other. Many of these do in fact get traction and catch on. E.g: Instragram and Pinterest.
When platforms offer something new and different, “catch-on” rates can be very rapid. From its launch in 2010, Instagram has risen to have over 80 million registered users.
However, if one thing is certain, it’s that Facebook is incredibly aware of this. Evidenced by its consistent commitment to innovation.
Look around your Facebook presence. Anyone who has been a user of the Platform for over a year will be well aware that many of the features they see there today did not exist eight months ago.
Facebook is consistently evolving, and every time it does, it does so with its competition in mind. From profiles to timelines, offers to sponsored stories. People might have a grumble when their format changes, but people choose to hang around, because ultimately, everyone else is.
Social Media is all about connecting with people. If one platform excludes you from another, then why would you use it? It’s why you can imbed your YouTube videos on Facebook; it allows you to reach as many people as possible.
You wouldn’t sign up for Vodafone if it meant you couldn’t call people who were signed to Telstra, would you?
The most successful new social media platforms are compatible with the old ones. They offer different ways of sharing media and allowing people to connect with one another. Google took a stab at re-inventing the wheel and Google+ is now a ghost town.
Facebook’s user experience is well established. Consumers don’t want to spend their time learning how to drive a new platform unless people are already there.
Will people migrate to Google+ in the future?
Never say never, but at the moment, why would they? Facebook has penetrated the market to such a degree that unless the entire platform self-destructs and people evacuate, nothing will supersede it in a hurry.
But if it does, what then? The resources that your organisation has devoted to Social Media certainly wont go to waste. It should simply be a slow transition of resources that mirrors the movement of the masses. Sound relatively painless? It is, especially for a contingency plan.
Yes Social Media is evolving, but it’s also maturing. As platforms become more entrenched, you will see less and less of the dog-eat-dog approach from new players. The smaller ones will find ways of utilising the entrenched ones.
There will always be innovation, but innovation should be welcomed for the new opportunities it poses for organisations. You’ll never know how people are moving unless you’re in a position to look.