I recently was involved in an argument with a potential client and at some point they stated:
"We don't need another platform, we already have Facebook."
I understood what they meant, but totally didn't agree. To make my point, I'll first dive into the semantics a little bit.
First of all, what is a platform? For me a platform is a synergetic, on topic vehicle. A platform is more than a product or a service.
A platform only has a right to exist if it lifts a topic to a new/different level. Just labelling it a platform doesn't make it a platform. And this is where it becomes interesting.
Having a radio station doesn't mean you have people tuning in to it.
Before you start your business, magazine, service, it is an interesting question to ask. Could this grow into a platform?
A good platform found the right balance between content, audience, tone of voice, demand and supply. A good platform creates value. It enables people, drives engagement, it lifts the conversations.
So basically a good or bad platform is a paradox. A bad platform can not exist, because it will not reach the level to call it a platform in the first place.
Every brand should strive to be a platform, and more and more brands understand this. Technology should enable platforms. Platforms should not be constrained by technology. Platforms should not be tailored to other value chains than it's own.
Now back on topic.
FB is not a platform, it is a platform service. Millions of on topic platforms are using Facebook and are laying and crawling all over each other.
Because Facebook it's aim is so broad, the functionality and features are broad as well. Actually the way Facebook looks at innovation is: "The site is always broken."
That means that they are always optimising the site based on user insights. Tweaking small parts to get a better time on site. Facebook looks at that from it's own value chain (their advertisers), not yours. That is important to always keep in mind.
Putting the way your target audience is communicating with your brand entirely in the hands of technology services which are primarily focussed on their own value chain is not so smart. Use the functionality they offer, but add functionality and features to create a deeper relationship.
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