Social Media and other borrowed spaces continue to prove to us that they are both extremely valuable and extremely fickle. A little over a year ago, the Facebook algorithm made a dramatic shift, immediately shutting down businesses’ ability to reach even their engaged audiences in a “free” kind of way. And since then, their algorithms continue to shift all the time to accommodate new advertising methods, new mobile initiatives, etc. Brands have learned to adapt and rebuild but any brand that thinks its royalty status on Facebook or any other social media platform is safe lives in a dangerous fantasy.
It’s not just Facebook. Twitter completely changed the way their API works over a year ago, actually killing entire businesses that once used to be built on that API. With everything going on over at Twitter right now, a company floundering to stay relevant while finding profitability, more dramatic changes are inevitable.
Instagram implemented a much stricter API system back in late 2015 in order to fight malicious apps, but in doing so they managed to kill a ton of other apps, companies and add-ons.
The list keeps going. Social media platforms, powerful though they might be, are not permanent, especially as they are now. Controlling your own branded space matters to the longevity and stability of your brand online. And social media should be a reflection of the spaces you control online. It’s not to say that social media or other borrowed spaces (like Reddit) are not necessary. They absolutely are. But spaces like your newsletter or your blog or your website only change when you want them to, and how you want them to change.
With 10,000 Facebook followers, you can only engage them with the Facebook wall (only a fraction will see) and Facebook ads (which is limited to the amount of money you spend). With 10,000 email subscribers, you can engage them with a newsletter built however you want, to suit whatever need you might have. If you are a clothing company, sending out an email about your latest and greatest pieces to people who care is worth its weight. Have a controlled space to direct subscribers to is worth its weight in gold.
If you are a plumbing company, start a plumbing blog with plumbing videos. Most of the content you create and post on your site will always be relevant, it will always matter. If indexed properly with the right keywords, that content will rank well with Google and drive folks back to your site, your blog. And don’t just have a shingle hanging when they get there. Give people direction on your site. Show them where to go next, what to do next. Because what matters to you as a plumbing company (or any other service company) at the end of the day? Leads.
Websites are not dead. They are not obsolete. It is necessary to rebuild them every 3-5 years, but that should be because of the changing,growing nature of your business as well as to accommodate the changing nature of how people view the internet (hello, mobile.)
And it’s not to say that we discredit social media. Quite the contrary. Social media can prove indispensable to the building of an email list or when driving new prospects to your site. But that’s just it. These spaces are there for the assist. They are the pathways that lead to those controlled, authoritative spaces.