Facebook: Glory days coming to an end?

Facebook took the social media sphere by storm when it first started and has since served as a template for many start-up social sites, but the social media scene today is no longer simply monopolised by Facebook.

Various social media entities such as Twitter, Pinterest and most recently MySpace, have now evolved with their own loyal fan base.

While none of them boast a reach as massive as Facebook, industry players, Marketing spoke to, said Facebook has responded to the growing competition in the space, evident from the number of acquisitions it made in the recent past.

Last year, Facebook acquired popular mobile photo-sharing application Instagram for US$1 billion while in 2011, it also acquired location-sharing service Gowalla to add on to its services.

Moreover, Facebook has been developing newer platforms primarily for mobile devices, an area that it is significantly weak in, said Ryan Lim, founder & business director, Blugrapes.

However, Lim is optimistic that Facebook will take active measures to "either acquire, or build new features to cater to the competition."

Eugenia Tan, director of strategy of Goodstuph said that despite the rise of players in the social media space, no one directly competes, or has successfully competed, with Facebook in terms of functionality and proposition.

"As much as Facebook's stock prices are devaluing and consumer interest waning, Facebook will not die or be under threat until a direct competitor appears and gains enough critical user mass to replace Facebook. It will still exist, albeit a shadow of its former glory," Tan said.

However, they also added that proliferation of many social media platforms has also resulted in already-minuscule social media marketing budgets being splintered further.

"These days, social media advertising budgets are now no longer all automatically channeled into Facebook but filtered into to other social media sites as well," said Tan.

It is therefore imperative for brands to not waste their resources in an attempt to have a presence on all platforms, experts warned adding that they should rather leverage on a platform that best suits their marketing objective.

"While overall social media budgets are definitely on the rise, marketers are more concerned about creating content and disseminating it through the right social media platforms," Simon Kemp, managing director of We Are Social Singapore, said.

"Brands need to stop focusing on the platforms as the start point, and see them for what they are - effective ways of nurturing communities of people who share common goals and interests," he added.

"In the coming months, the best marketing will centre on building enduring and engaged communities that interact with each other and the brand across platforms."