In Nick’s most recent blog post, Local Lead Conversion and How the Spaces Between Platforms Make It Happen, he defines a rented space online as, “spaces where many flock to talk, share and consume, but they do not own.” This includes social media platforms such as:
Perhaps your business has been “renting” these spaces for some time now, but have you thought about how these platforms influence the way you do business? Understanding the pros and cons of rented spaces online will help you better utilize these platforms while also acknowledging the need for owned and earned spaces online.
Pros of Rented Spaces Online
Platform is Established
The design and functionality of the platform have been decided upon — the hard work has been done. Essentially, all you have to do is fill in the blanks! As a new brand, you can have an online presence by end of day if you so wish. Besides frequently sharing relevant content with your audience, your rented space should contain your elevator pitch, your hours, your address, a link to your website and consistent branding. Simple as it sounds, this is not to be sped through. Look over your bio and about sections with the eye of a potential customer — use these spaces to answer questions before they have to ask.
Ability to Meet Your Customer Where They Are
These rented spaces online give you the opportunity to have a presence where your audience already is. Beyond that, your brand is also able to easily communicate with them! Submitting a comment card in store or finding the manager’s email address requires initiative that most people won’t take. However, tweeting at a brand or messaging their Facebook page calls for little effort. With each review, comment, and like — you are being given feedback about either your brand’s product/service or its messaging. It’s up to you to form a relationship with your customers and put their feedback to good use.
These platforms provide insight as to what demographics are interested in your brand and what type of content they’re engaging with. If you’d like to get granular, you even have access to information that asserts the best days and times to post! While the data can be overwhelming and a lot to wade through, these tools exist to help you take better advantage of your rented space online.
Cons of Rented Spaces Online
May be Temporary
While business owners are risk-takers, they know to avoid putting all of their eggs in one basket. Which is why we don’t recommend acting as though you own these platforms. Having a fully developed Facebook page isn’t an excuse to forgo building a responsive website. All of these rented spaces should point to a space that you own, a.k.a. your website, so that you’re not scrambling to get something up when a platform has a temporary glitch or worse — becomes obsolete like Vine, the app for six-second looping videos or Google Plus, Google’s failed answer to Facebook.
Folks Conning the System
Although you and a competitor may be on the same platform, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re both playing fairly. Occasionally, there are people that take advantage of the platform by capitalizing on loopholes. From constantly sharing click bait articles, buying followers and/or likes, and reposting images without giving credit where credit is due — not everyone follows best practices. At Alter Endeavors, we urge social media best practices over “black hat” marketing. Curious as to what is considered “best practices?” We’ve put together a free “Social Media Best Practices White Paper” sharing how we use best practices for our clients. You’ll have to turn to Google for more information on black hat marketing — we stay clear of dark magic.
Rules Can Change Without Warning
While Facebook & Instagram’s algorithms used to show us content in the order that it was posted, it is now prioritized in a way that’s supposedly more customized to the user. You’ll see posts from family and close friends first — while those you rarely interact with are relegated down. This makes it more difficult for brands to reach their own audience, as a roofing company or clothing store neither fit within the definition of family, nor friends. And how do you reach those who already like your page? You “pay to play” by boosting posts and running ads to reach and grow your audience. Changes like these heavily impact brands that don’t have the budget to participate, but there’s little we can do besides make due with what we’re given!
Whether you’re a social media hater or lover, it is a necessary piece of the digital marketing puzzle. We take full advantage of this rented space online for business owner’s that don’t have the time to pour over analytics or research recent changes but see the value in meeting their customers where they are. We’re always available to discuss how our Social Media Team can help manage your rented space online!