Back in the late 2000’s marketers were giddy about the brand new social media platforms taking off that made reaching potential customers so easy. It was exciting. With just a few keystrokes, you could reach millions of people for free. It was all the rage, and brands all over the world scrambled to create profiles and not get left behind. Those were the good ole’ days.
Experienced marketers and business people knew what was going to happen next. When the platforms got to a critical mass, they would turn on their revenue engine and make billions. That’s exactly what happened. As the platform algorithms tightened, brands saw that their posts no longer reached the same audience numbers. Instead, they were throttled back and sent messages about “boosting” the post or sent soliciting for other advertising. Silicon Valley got us addicted to their free version and when the time was right, moved the model to freemium. Their master plan earned Facebook alone more than 18.7 billion dollars in revenue in 2020. The best year ever.
That figure alone should tell you that your users, followers, and likes aren’t yours. You don’t own that data. The data belongs to them. You’re just renting it.
By January 2021, former President Trump amassed over 88 million followers on Twitter, the 6th largest audience on the platform at the time. In that same month, his account was permanently suspended. Gone just like that. Left with no other comparable communication vehicle, Trump was effectively silenced. In business terms, we call that” “out of business.”
The lesson here is not a political one. It’s that social followings are fragile and not entirely in your control.
Building over-weighted advertising campaigns on these platforms is not only expensive, it’s dangerous.
However, social media is still enormously powerful for communicating with current customers and connecting with new ones. Every brand should participate, but operate with this strategy in mind.
Instead of renting your customer information, aim to OWN it. You want to build your OWNED media.
Branden O’Neil, founder of the Atlas Rose Marketing Leadership company says that every opportunity should be taken to redirect users off social platforms and invite them to interact with your brand on your website. That’s sound advice considering a company’s website is the only online space that is designed to turn interest into action. O’Neil defines “action” as a phone call, email, form fill, or some other way the user reveals their identity and provides valuable contact information.
He continues “Once we have just a first name and email from someone, it allows us to go to work to nurture that startup relationship and make it something meaningful. Over time, a well-equipped marketer can learn more about the prospect including what specific product or service they are interested in. We want to earn the prospect’s trust and listen intently while simultaneously learning about what they want.”
If you follow this strategy, you are no longer at the mercy of social media giants. You can have intimate conversations through a combination of automated emails and personal interaction. Using this strategy, allows you to “own” the data. You are now able to communicate as frequently as you want and appear in an inbox or SMS. No longer will your message be restricted. Repeating this process over and over builds a powerful marketing engine.
How to do it.
- Cut and paste the URL from your website blog post article into a Linkedin post. Interested readers will be automatically directed to your site.
- Invite social media followers to visit your site to “enter to win” or some other promotional giveaway.
- Join relevant groups on Facebook and post only snippets of content. Invite users to click the link to your website to continue reading.
- Get help from influencers. Ask them to promote your products or services on their social platforms.
Social media remains one of the best ways to reach new audiences through paid advertising, but surviving only on that strategy isn’t always cost-effective depending on your average sales price and lifetime customer value. O’Neil gives the advice, “Go ahead and dive in deep with social platforms, but understand how to align it with your overall customer acquisition strategy. Social media alone won’t make your marketing successful. It simply fills a role in the overall marketing plan. Our goal for clients is to have them own their data so they call the shots.”