Happy Friday! Welcome to the first issue of Backstage Pass. Backstage Pass is designed to give you the strategic advice, as well as the news and instruction that you need to take your marketing, digital and content efforts to the next level. Please encourage your teams to subscribe as well, by clicking here. Thank you! This and every Friday we will cover a LOT of ground, so let’s dive in!
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 workforces 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. We will do a deep dive into how to more effectively manage your remote workers in the February 26th issue of Backstage Pass, so look for that.
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 defacto ‘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
During a recent #ContentCircus chat on Twitter, Steve introduced me to Harry’s Marketing Examples. It’s a great site you should check out, but 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.
Have you read my business book Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans? It’s THE business book that gives you the framework for creating brand and customer advocacy programs. An Amazon bestseller, you can learn more here.
Social Media will continue to be volatile in 2021
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 it’s terms of service.
While this is happening. a little app called Clubhouse has seemingly come out of nowhere to become the hottest social media app available. Clubhouse allows you to have audio chat rooms. It’s a completely different experience from any other popular social media platform, and I have to say I’m enjoying more than any social media site I’ve been on in the last 10 years. Clubhouse is growing in popularity despite the fact that it’s still in beta, it’s invite-only, and only available to iPhone users.
But it’s seeing massive growth. And I tell you, the vast majority of Clubhouse’s users are leaving Twitter and Facebook to spend time there. 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, they are considering 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.
Also, there’s this news about Facebook and Twitter wanting 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.
Check out Alexandra’s Branding and Marketing site Mentomics! I’m such a fan of Alexandra’s writing and smartitude at her site Mentomics. Definitely check her writing out, she’s brilliant, and someone you should be listening to when it comes to branding, learning and content.
So let’s wrap up this first issue of Backstage Pass on that note. I hope you found this news and information valuable. If so, please share this link with your teams, colleagues or anyone that you feel could benefit from being subscribed.
Have a wonderful week! See you next Friday, when the topic will be helping your company manage a workforce that’s suddenly gone remote. It’s a huge sea change for a lot of companies, and many are struggling to keep productivity up, as well as employee morale. I’ll have some strategies for making the process better and even more beneficial for your business.
See you then, and thanks so much for your time!