Why you shouldn’t send your traffic to Facebook?

Seasoned Digital Strategists (folks who have been in the online space for a long time, not just social) realize the value of having traffic come to the site as opposed to sending it out there. In a business envoirnment, we spend millions in creating and developing custom web experiences that resonate with our audience — and then we send them off to our facebook page. Why?

Why not drive them over to your site. In my past life, as their Global Marketing Leader at IBM’s DeveloperWorks, we realized the value of social media and created experiences that bridged external and on-domain experience. We learned that on our own domain can be as capitivating and social as any external social network. But it needed us to shift our marketing mindset to embrase social holistically. From advocacy programs to how we communicated our message. Frankly, brand needed to become less about the brand and more about the community it served. It wasn’t easy. But we did win the Forrester award for being the best in Social B2B space in supporting our community — on our own domain.

This allows us to serve community no matter if Twitter, Google+ or Facebook go away or morph into another network.

Copyblogger’s Sonia Simone has called it out.

Digital sharecropping is a term coined by Nicholas Carr to describe a peculiar phenomenon of Web 2.0.

One of the fundamental economic characteristics of Web 2.0 is the distribution of production into the hands of the many and the concentration of the economic rewards into the hands of the few.

In other words, anyone can create content on sites like Facebook, but that content effectively belongs to Facebook. The more content we create for free, the more valuable Facebook becomes. We do the work, they reap the profit. Same story with Twitter, Xing and other networks.

The term sharecropping refers to the farming practices common after the U.S. Civil War, but it’s essentially the same thing as feudalism. A big landholder allows individual farmers to work their land, and takes most of the profits generated from the crops.

The landlord has all the control. If he decides to get rid of you, you lose your livelihood. If he decides to raise his fees, you go a little hungrier. You do all the work and the landlord gets most of the profit, leaving you a pittance to eke out a living on.

Let’s think about that for a second.

  • Nick

    I really enjoyed reading your article and made me look at the strategy of social for business in a different light. Although I agree with your points I must also illustrate that this rule of thumb approach does not apply and suit the needs of all! In some cases, a bespoke Facebook page has helped elevate brands and business to new heights and allowed interaction on a level never before realised, especially for business platforms and websites that can’t offer the sense of community and interaction offered by web 2.0 platforms. Yes I agree that Facebook, Twitter and co may make large financial gains in the long term, but surely they allow for the creation of new revenue streams for agencies and creative firms alike. It’s not as if we are told what to charge for creation, there is carte blanche to make as much money as the client can afford to spend!

  • http://www.bilal.ca/ Bilal Jaffery

    Thanks Nick for your comments. There’s also a thread alive on SocialMediaToday.com where this post was also published as well. It’s all about Strategic perspective at the end of the day. If I am investing in my own domain, do I want to drive traffic to it? Social Media in its current form should be utilized to build awareness, relationships but then you should leverage that relationship to traffic back to the domain and host a social discussion.

  • http://www.bilal.ca/ Bilal Jaffery
  • http://twitter.com/brazensoul Emily A. Davidson

    Let’s say twitter and facebook are like real estate. Giant buildings that offer free rent in exchange for you just to live there and work in the building to make it bigger and better under their leadership.

    The more work you put in, the more powerful they get, the more people you can reach.

    I agree these giants offer a nice place full of interesting people keen on making the giant building a better place. It’s also full of amentities – you can host events, interact with anyone at anytime, make your ‘space’ your own and no one complains about noise, they ignore it.

    But should you rely on your landlord for livelihood and income? No. Do you owe them anything? Heck no. Just take advantage of what they offer and make sure you’re steady on your own feet.

    It’s a fantastic and affordable economic model for many people – but the building could fall down tomorrow. Save your tweets.

  • http://twitter.com/brazensoul Emily A. Davidson

    Let’s say twitter and facebook are like real estate. Giant buildings that offer free rent in exchange for you just to live there and work in the building to make it bigger and better under their leadership.

    The more work you put in, the more powerful they get.

    I agree these giants offer a nice place full of interesting people keen on making the internet a better place. It’s also full of amentities – you can host events, interact with anyone at anytime, make your ‘space’ your own and no one complains about noise, they ignore it.

    However, should you rely on your landlord for livelihood and income? No. Do you owe them rent? Heck no. Take advantage of what they offer and make sure you’re steady on your own feet.

    It’s a fantastic and affordable economic model for many people to connect for free – but the building could fall down tomorrow. Save your tweets.

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