It’s never been riskier for a company to use social media than it is right now. Social media requires a disciplined, and purposeful strategy and governance to guide and manage it at the corporate level. Any company that uses social media needs to view it as a serious investment, which must be managed properly to realize maximum returns.
What is Keeping Your CEO Up at Night?
Business as usual flew out the window around a year ago, and may never fully return. Business leaders are focused on how to better control and manage everything from marketing communications to even work forces that are suddenly remote for the first time. In fact, Inc. found that managing remote workers was one of the top concerns that CEOs have in 2021.
Today, I wanted to focus on helping you regain control of your digital content, and show you how to lower the risk associated with being a business and using social media. The lure of social media for marketers has always been that you will, in theory, have access to a large audience of current and potential customers. How many billions of users are on Facebook? A bunch! Which means billions of potential customers just waiting on our marketing messages! Or so the story goes…
This thinking has led to far too many companies over the years adopting a digital marketing strategy where social media sites like Facebook and Instagram served as the foundation, with support coming from owned media channels such as your blog or website.
The problem with this ‘social media as our foundation’ approach is that you don’t have control over your foundation. If your Facebook brand page is your de facto ‘website’, then what happens when Facebook changes its algorithm and lowers the organic reach that content originating from a brand receives? That’s right, your brand’s reach suffers. So how do you get your reach numbers back to previous levels? Why Facebook can help with that, let us tell you about Facebook ads!
So now you are paying to get back the reach that used to be organic. This is what happens when you marry your digital marketing efforts to a channel that you don’t control.
Wait, why is my business page restricted?
I follow several marketing/content/social media groups on Facebook. I do this as a way to get a barometer on issues that companies are dealing with when it comes to their social and digital efforts. I want to see what questions they have and what issues they are facing.
You would be surprised at how often members of these groups are sharing how they were recently locked out of their Facebook business page or maybe from running ads, and want to know what the issue could be. Often, the issue will be that the brand owner (often the CEO or maybe the company’s social media manager) posted something on their personal Facebook profile that violated Facebook’s rules, so as a result,Facebook then restricted their ability to manage their brand page as a result.
Recently, Twitter and Facebook have suspended the accounts of thousands of users for what it claims were violations of its content policies. Whether you view these actions as censorship or completely appropriate, the reality is that social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can pretty much suspend any user that it deems is violating its user agreement. So if your business is using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as the foundation of its digital communications, you are effectively ceding complete control of those communications to these social media platforms. If these platforms decide that your content isn’t acceptable, then you are gone from those platforms. Simple as that.
Regain control of your social media and digital communications
Let’s focus on taking back control of your social media and digital communications. The foundation of your digital marketing strategy should be your Owned Media channels. Such as your website, your blog, your newsletter, your podcast. These are the channels where you control the content creation, and distribution.
Social media channels should never be the foundation of your digital marketing strategy. Social media channels should SUPPORT your owned media channels, not replace them.
Remember, we want to give you MORE control over your digital communications and LOWER the associated risk. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are NOT your social media strategy, they are tools you use to support it.
How Harry’s Marketing Examples Grew Its Newsletter From Zero to 19,000 Subscribers in One Year
Harry’s Marketing Examples is a great site you should check out. I noticed this article on how Harry grew its newsletter from zero to 19,000 subscribers in one year. That’s pretty impressive!
Love this example of how to customize content for each platform you share it on. Create value on the platform, move that value to platforms YOU own, transfer the value to your email list. Love it! #ContentCircus https://t.co/ctxEH4QKhM
— Mack Collier (@MackCollier) February 3, 2021
Harry had a very simple, three-pronged strategy for his content distribution:
1 – Customize all content for the platform he was sharing it on. For instance, content shared on Twitter would be threaded and long-form. The same content shared on Facebook would much shorter and more visual. This is honestly something I am terrible at, I tend to share a link to my latest post and a picture on every platform. I need to get better about this and Harry’s strategy has got me thinking about how I can improve.
2 – Move everyone from the social media platform where they see your content, to your platform. Give everyone a reason to leave Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, and go back to your website or blog. Remember, the social media platforms should SUPPORT your digital marketing strategy.
3 – Convert visitors into newsletter subscribers. Create content that engages users on the social media platforms where they are. Get them to engage with that content and GO BACK to YOUR platform (blog/website). Then once they are on your platform, convert them into an email subscriber.
Why is this so important? Because once Harry has the social media user converted into an email subscriber, then the can connect DIRECTLY with them VIA EMAIL! He no longer needs Twitter and Facebook to connect with this person, he’s got them locked into his email newsletter.
Remember, this is about giving you MORE control over your digital communications and LOWERING the associated risk.
Social Media will continue to be volatile in 2021 and beyond
If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve been warning for a while now that 2021 will be a pretty volatile year for social media. Over the last couple of years, there will be #DeleteFacebook movements that gain steam quickly then die out just as fast. As touched on at the start of this issue, there’s a growing sense among many Twitter/Facebook/Instagram users that the companies are getting a little too ham-fisted with their moderating or policing of content. In fact, as I’m writing this, I just learned that Instagram has admitted that it is reading private messages from users and suspending users for sending messages that violate its terms of service.
Earlier this year, Clubhouse seemingly came out of nowhere to become the hottest social media app available. While its popularity has definitely waned the last few months, it shows that people that use social media regularly are hungry for new experiences and context. Gone are the days where social media simply meant, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The rise of Clubhouse shows that social media users will support new apps and sites, and that they aren’t locked into Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Twitter and Facebook are very well aware of what’s happening, and they are trying to make moves to counter a potential exodus of users:
"The company’s user base in the U.S., its most valuable market, has also started to plateau, meaning it can’t rely on simply adding users to juice revenue."
— Rasmussen Reports (@Rasmussen_Poll) February 9, 2021
Twitter can see that its user growth is slowing, and is anticipating a potential decline in revenue. So the site is considering its options, including adding a charge to some of its basic features that have been free up till now. Also, Twitter has considered charging for Tweetdeck, a popular standalone viewer that many users enjoy to better organize and follow tweets on Twitter. This is a risky move if Twitter goes ahead with it. The only way I could see this working is if Twitter added significant functionality to Tweetdeck or its basic Twitter account as a way to justify wanting to charge for previously free features. Either way, it signals that Twitter understands that it’s user base isn’t as predictable as it once was.
Earlier this year, both Facebook and Twitter decided to get into the newsletters game:
Twitter and Facebook are going to ruin newsletters, aren’t they? https://t.co/RFogVKRV57 [Interesting piece. Writers need to keep their wits about them, as my dad would say.] pic.twitter.com/r4lFjldjBq
— Ann Handley (@MarketingProfs) February 10, 2021
Twitter and Facebook can see how popular newsletters are becoming, and are attempting to incorporate newsletter functionality into its sites as a way to keep users in their ecosystem, and generate more revenue from users.
This is a big part of the reason why I want your company to seriously assess its dependence on major social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You should absolutely leverage these tools to support your owned media channels if it makes sense, but don’t become so dependent on them if they experience massive changes, or force you to change how or if you can continue to use the sites.