As LinkedIn has recently celebrated its 12th birthday and Twitter edges closer to giving us a decade of Tweets - it’s hardly surprising that as social media platforms come of age, they are evolving and change is inevitable.
While evolution is a necessary part of keeping the wheels of social media spinning, perhaps some did not “like” the announcement at the end of April when Facebook, with over 1.4 billion users worldwide, retired its Graph API v1.0 and introduced a new lightweight Login Review process. Despite the change being announced at the Facebook F8 conference in 2014, it still took many by surprise with a number of app developers and companies, which were reliant on the API, going out of business overnight.
While not a particularly popular move it was to be expected. Social media heavyweights have taken all the risk, sunk money into the nuts and bolts of the technology and even been forced to embrace security features like no other to defend users against cyber terrorists and criminals. Just as social media for business is becoming more commonplace and marketing plans have become aligned to providers’ services, anything can change in a heartbeat.
Social media channels now form the backbone of communications and digital strategies, not to mention websites and customer service operations. When major players change the rule book it has a big impact on us. We must keep evolving ourselves and investing in digital approaches, to stay in with a chance of remaining compatible with the platforms on which our marketing strategies depend.
So what does this mean for your business? Well you may have noticed that your website isn’t connecting to Facebook like it should, that your ability to login using Facebook has become problematic, or worse – that the bespoke company app you had built only last year has become obsolete!
And the change isn’t just about Facebook Logins, some key features are also changing with Facebook Events becoming unavailable through third party apps, following the closure of API v1.0. The other major platforms have also experienced evolution of their own. Take the older brother of the platforms – LinkedIn. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn has over 364 million users worldwide and has fundamentally transformed how professionals do business, initiating a whole new industry of third party products and services across the recruitment arena. While Facebook used ‘security’ as the rationale for the recent change, LinkedIn has, in contrast, changed its developer programme explaining that the move is to safeguard ‘quality’.
Even Twitter, which has been around nine years and set the world alight with #hashtags, retweets and hyperlinks worldwide and now boasts over 300 million active users, has seen considerable change. If you were in from the start you will have experienced this shift. For example, Twitter is very good at encouraging innovation and occasionally takes the best ideas and integrates them into the platform – just think URL shorteners and picture uploads which weren’t as accessible just a few years ago.
No matter which platform your digital strategy is reliant on, you will have to keep investing to keep your technology compatible. And perhaps it is wise to think when budgeting for marketing communications or your next website investment, about how you can keep your own infrastructure compatible with the evolution of the social media channels. One of the most effective ways to do this is by investing in a modern social media risk and compliance platform built for enterprise, which is constantly updated to accommodate new social media channels and technology changes to existing heavyweights.
Because one thing is for certain, the ostrich head-in-the-sand approach will not succeed in the digital landscape.
By Michelle Leavesley, CrowdControlHQ.
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