As consumers spend less and less time on email and on traditional websites, and more and more time on social networks, the inevitable question is, has the corporate site become obsolete?
My answer is no. I can’t imagine a brand giving up their corporate site entirely. Companies need addresses on the Web, and they can’t allow themselves to rely on a fickle social network to be that place. When you have a Facebook page, the page belongs to Facebook. They have the power – the right – to shut the page down, to change the rules, to start charging you for the page (could totally happen, and arguably already happens when Facebook will only distribute your posts to a significant number of fans if you pay to promote them).
Companies need to keep their sites, their brands, under their control and ownership, while allowing the conversation in social media to enrich their online presence and make it more interesting to users.
Social media has had a significant impact on corporate sites. Many of them include a blog now, and many more have prominent links on the homepage inviting readers to join the social media conversation. A corporate site can be fun, engaging, interactive. It can feature polls and contests and include forums and boards.
I believe that for most brands, letting go of their website, or even just neglecting it, and allowing their online identity to be completely dependent on Facebook would be a huge mistake. If you have a great website, you could still get hurt if and when Facebook changes the rules – again. But at least you’ll have a site, and a blog, and hopefully a vibrant Twitter and Pinterest accounts and maybe lots of great photos on Flickr and a few videos on Youtube.
But if all you have is a Facebook page, and Facebook changes the rules on you, you’re going to hurt much more than if your Facebook page was just a part of your online presence.
Don’t allow your brand to be tied to a single social network. Just like your investment portfolio, your online presence needs to be diversified. Ideally, you should have a well-designed, user-friendly, mobile-optimized website, an active blog, and a few social media accounts to round it all off.
As tempting and cost-efficient as it may sound, don’t allow the social media component to take over, and definitely don’t allow a single social media channel to take over your online presence.