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In Social Media strategy, should you put all your digital eggs in the Facebook basket?

Interesting piece in The Drum about Red Ant moving all of Varsity Bars digital and social media content to the Facebook page and has closed down its website as it pursues a younger audience.

I’ll say one thing for them: it’s a ballsy move.The award-winning team at Red Ant do some fantastic work and their white papers are great to read, so they’ll have done their homework on this one but it strikes me as a very short-term move. I wish them all the best for it and hope it pays off but at the same time it’s not a strategy I’d encourage others to do.

Why Facebook shouldn’t be your whole web experience

We all know the stats – 800million active users, 50million using daily from iOS devices and so on – but Facebook is only one platform and at some point, just like Friends Reunited, MySpace, Bebo, Netscape Navigator, Altavista and many others, it will fade away. Anecdotally, many people are already using it less because they don’t like the new look and how stories are presented to them.

Also, while millions are on Facebook – including around half of the UK – what about those who aren’t or don’t want to be? Can you, in a recession, take the chance of missing out on reaching them?

And if you spend all your time optimising content from a SEO point of view towards Facebook, what happens when Facebook fades away?

Your website as your hub

While many a brand can try to hard and go OTT on platforms, most now accept that it’s prudent (if the audience is there) to blog and be on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and perhaps the likes of Vimeo, LinkedIn and so on if relevant. But they all do it in combination with website and mailing lists, ensuring that they can capture a good chunk of their audience on multiple platforms (miss the blog post? You might not miss the twet and if you do there might be an email along shortly anyway – all with different content).

Again, most of the platforms mentioned above may fade away – new ones will come along, others will merge – but websites are seen as the mainstay. SEO efforts are seen as spending the majority of time on directing traffic to websites as that’s where people will buy items, learn more information and so on.

I realise that this does almost sound like “No one ever got fired for having a website” circa the old IBM argument doesn’t it? Am I just being old fashioned?

Facebook as the hub and only port of call

Varsity are doing it different – and it may well be that we’re seeing a fundamental shift here. We’ve often heard of how people do more on Facebook these days and this move reflects that. For all I’m saying the website is best as a hub, we may be seeing a change come around in which all you need is the Facebook page. The videos can be stored there, the audio, the pics, the text – everything. It’s a great way of focusing whoever is working on their social media – but will they still engage on other sites that mention them?

Having said that, there does seem to be a bit of cake and eat it approach as the company still has the main URL up and running, though it is a bit worrying when you go to the Facebook page and the first thing you get is a security warning (that may just be a very paranoid FireFox though).

But what do you think? Brave move, daft move or a stunt that can easily be reversed in a year or so if Facebook starts to dip?

3 Comments
  1. Guess it depends on who your market is Craig. We thought about setting up a private FB group to share work stuff, but as someone pointed put – not everyone’s on FB, whereas pretty much everyone has access to the internet. Will be interesting to see what happens. If it was me? I’d hedge my bets and keep a web presence as well as Facebook. Anyone remember Bebo? MySpace?

  2. Also: while Facebook has huge numbers, the overwhelming majority of account holders are infrequent visitors – some don’t go to the site for weeks or months at a time.  

  3. Hi Contently Managed, thanks for your mention :-)

    As you say, a ballsy move, but something we spent a lot of
    time considering and working towards – the first step was getting under the
    skin of the customer through focus groups, site analytics and research papers.
    Everything we saw suggested that Facebook was the right platform to concentrate
    our efforts on and the perfect place to build a truly integrated experience.

    Something to note is that, while the student focused brand,
    Varsity Bars, has moved to Facebook the mother brand, Party at the Pub (which
    encompasses Varsity Bars, Smith & Jones and few other unbranded locations),
    still maintains a strong website orientated presence at PartyatthPub.co.uk.
    Over the past few months we’ve worked hard to bring the association between the
    mother and sub-brands to life through social posting, content within the
    Facebook hub and a consistent Party at the Pub membership login across all
    websites. So, for those that aren’t convinced Facebook’s for them, all is not
    lost. They have the ability to access all of the Varsity Bars content (bar
    locations, vouchers, offers) and more on the main brand site. 

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