I love it when companies decide to buckle down and focus on what makes them great. Innovation is essential, but it has an evil twin: mission creep. If you’re trying to keep up with your competitors’ innovations — instead of concocting your own — you might end up with a diffuse, muddled brand that isn’t known for doing anything particularly well. You need to innovate on your own terms and in a way that allows new ideas to arise organically out of what your company already does well.
MySpace is a textbook example of this. It saw what Facebook was doing and tried to bandwagon. That didn’t end well. Now the company is trumpeting a return to its roots, as we note in today’s SmartBrief on Social Media.
That’s great, but it’s not enough to simply back away from they’re doing wrong. If MySpace is going to survive, it needs to become a real alternative to Facebook’s way of doing things, not just an interchangeable alternate. It needs to embrace a new direction that makes sense for the brand.
Some things I’d like to see:
- Better privacy controls. Facebook and Google are freaking everyone out with shifting privacy terms and unintended disclosures.
- Better multimedia. MySpace is still synonymous with music and social media. Build on that. One of Facebook’s weaknesses is the clunky way it handles photos, videos and the like. MySpace should also look into capitalizing on a resurgent interest in video chat.
- Better groups. I’m a fan of niche networks. I wish it were easier to create, manage and maintain those networks in the context of a larger site — that way I could have my video game community and my political news community in the same space. Facebook groups always seemed anemic to me. I think this is one area where MySpace could leapfrog.
- Better incentives. What MySpace needs is to give old users a reason to check back in. The site should be aggressively pursuing social-shopping features, special offers and content giveaways. To overcome its weak network and lackluster reputation, the site needs to give users a reason to reintegrate the site into their daily lives.
That’s what I got. How about you? What does MySpace need to do to make a comeback?
Image credit, Carsten Reisinger, via shutterstock