social networking

5 Sites Losing Traffic to Social Networks

Written by Paul Steinbrueck

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downward chart man holding headRecently Tim Bednar tweeted:

I am beginning to believe that in the next decade “search” will decline along with SEO in favor of discovery via your social network.

It struck me as something worth further thought, so I copied it to my blog ideas file and let it bounce around in my head for a while.

As it bounced around I realized there are a bunch of other things people are doing on social networking sites which they used to do elsewhere.  As a result, there are bunch of sites that are losing traffic to social networks.

Here are 5 that come to mind…

1) Google

I think Tim is right.  Some questions are better answered by friends than a computer algorithm:

  • What’s the best Cuban restaurant in Tampa?
  • Is it worth the extra $ to see Avatar in an IMAX theater?
  • I’m thinking about getting my first digital SLR camera. What’s my best option?

Don’t get me wrong, Google’s not dying.  This only applies to a small percentage of searches, but it’s a shft.

2) CNN

People are getting more and more of their news through unofficial sources like blogs and Twitter than ever before.  Never has this been more apparent than in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.  As I wrote last week, when the quake struck CNN did not have any reporters in Port Au Prince.  That first night, most of the news that came out of Haiti came from individuals using social networks.

3) Google Reader

Twitter has become something of an RSS replacement.  I keep up with a lot of blogs using an RSS feed reader, but I also follow many of those same bloggers on Twitter.  Lately I’ve found myself checking Twitter a lot more frequently than my feed reader.

A lot of other Twitter users have never used an RSS feed reader and never will because twitter provides adequate notification of the blogs they want to read.

4) GeoCities

Yeah, this is old news.  Geocities doesn’t even exist anymore.  But the point is at one time, people used to create personal/family websites and put personal news and pictures on it.  Social networks have almost completely replaced the personal website.

5) Yours

Maybe you’ve noticed, but people don’t “check back for the latest news.”  The only reason people come to your website is if they’re looking for something specific.

For example, if you run a church website, people will come to your site because they’re looking for a new church or because they want more information about a specific event they heard about elsewhere.  But the vast majority of people don’t sit around thinking, “I wonder what’s going on at my church these days. Hey, maybe I’ll go to the website and browser around for a while.”

If you want to stay engaged with your church members, customers, students, etc you’ve got to engage them where they already are – social networks, email, text messages.

What sites are you visiting less because of social networking?

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About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck.


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