Looking Beyond the Platform

A few weeks ago 12Seconds shut down, adding another platform to a growing pile of innovations and ideas that didn’t quite make it.

12Seconds users are sad to see it go, but one can be certain that another platform will rise up to take its place. How long that platform will last depends on a lot of factors, but if it does fade away, another will be there to carry on.

The Circle of Platform Life

Platforms come and go. What’s innovative one moment is either replaced by something that does the job better or becomes stagnant before fading away.

As far as social media goes, the hot platforms are Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and a few others depending on brand and audience, but as unimaginable as it may seem, these platforms will likely fade away someday in the future. Social media is just fickle that way.

Focusing on the Platforms Misses the Point

The good news is that platforms coming and going isn’t the problem for marketers. In fact, it refocuses us because we can’t be tied down by one platform. So much emphasis is often placed on the platform that marketers almost miss the point of what social media can truly do for their businesses.

Platforms are tied together by their unique quality to share and connect people. That’s what sets social media apart from other methods of marketing. That ability to share and connect should be our focus. The platform(s) we choose to do that comes later.

The benefits of focusing on sharing and connecting versus platforms has the potential to change the way businesses work. Social media will not change a business over night, but a true commitment to ongoing engagement, talking, sharing and creating through social media channels will likely move a corporation forward on a number of fronts:

  • Fostering and growing how consumers share their brand experiences
  • Opening up new avenues to provide customers information
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of customers
  • Implementing insights from online engagement in products
  • Revitalizing customer service for the better
  • Humanizing the brand

Platforms don’t bring the benefits. Commitment to engage, interact and learn from consumers does.

Who’d want to miss all of that?

When the focus is on the platforms all of those benefits can easily be overlooked, so before thinking about the platform, think about what objectives you want to accomplish, instead of looking at the platform and adding objectives going backwards.

Slowly but surely social media is changing how business is done. Platforms are not the impetus of change. It’s about how businesses use them.