Is it time to panic when your favorite social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are down?
Does your school district or company rely on social media too much?
In this article, I discuss why you should not stake your entire digital marketing strategy on social media.
The Case Study of Vine 2016
In case you have not heard, Vine is dead. It happened over two years ago. The once famous, six-second video social media platform was shut down by its parent company Twitter. Fast forward to March 13, 2019, and Facebook and Instagram are down across the globe.
Purchased by Twitter six years ago for $30 million, it appeared at the time to be a smart decision by Twitter to break into the rapidly growing video segment on social media. But like many social media platforms, the social media kingpin Facebook chewed it up and spit it out. Thousands of professional Vine artists are now looking for “real work” (or since moved to Instagram).
Painful for those that made a living on the platform, Vine’s death does teach us a valuable lesson about social media. That lesson being that social media is a tool, not a platform to house your real estate for your company or school district.
There is No Place Like Website Home
I have heard many times at conferences and speaking engagements that people have considered using Facebook as their website. Why not, right? Everyone is on Facebook, right? Right???
Well, no they’re not, but even if you think they are, you need to fear that dreaded Facebook algorithm. An algorithm that has slowly eaten away at our user’s eyeballs on Facebook, and other social media platforms over the past few years. Your fans are never going to see all of your posts. Not anymore.
You have to remember that when you play on rented land, you are playing by the owner’s (Facebook and Instagram’s) rules. Those rules could be a pesky algorithm, or quite simply closing up shop leaving you in the social media desert.
This is why it is so important to have a website to call home. That is why it is so important to use social media platforms as a tool to drive fans to your website (and hopefully collect a few email addresses).
If your website is going to be YOUR hub, it has to be slick. It has to have relevant information that is engaging with dynamic pictures. It has to be easy to navigate where users can find what they are looking for in three clicks or less. Once they find what they are looking for, you have to have a clear “Call to Action” to help them take the next step in the funnel process.
The World is Flat… Don’t Fall Off the Edge
Even though social media has connected us together like never before, we have to be careful to not get too comfortable. What works today, won’t work tomorrow on social media.
You have to remember that these platforms are a business. Their goal is to keep their shareholders happy. What’s good for the bottom line might not be great for you and me. You have to become an expert about everything you are a part of. You have to be aware of the trends that will impact your business, school district, or schools.
Five Websites I Read Everyday
Is Facebook changing their algorithm again? Is Twitter about to die? Is Instagram about to charge people for using its platform? You have to know these things. Don’t sail your boat off the edge of the social media world.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Social Media
I am guilty as anyone to be addicted to using social media. It’s easy, it works, and that’s where the people are. You just have to be smart to not put all of your eggs in one social media basket.
Here are three important things you can do to renovate your district’s marketing strategy:
1. Conduct a Website Audit
Is your website easy to navigate? Is it visual and not full of boring text? Are you creating niche hubs, or are you “throwing up” on your website with no clear flow? You must examine your website and make sure it is working. This is your home. Always respect your home.
2. Start Collecting Emails
I know, I know… you have Blackboard Connect; it works just fine. Mass emailing is a great tool to send very important messages to your parents and staff, but the real gold is when you can target specific groups, who are interested in specific things.
MailChimp and Constant Contact are great tools to collect email addresses for niche groups to send personalized emails about information they want to read about.
You can still use social media to help you collect these email addresses, but the great thing about your email lists is that they are your email lists.
Unlike Facebook fans or Twitter followers, you are never going to lose your contacts if one of those companies decides to call it quits or change their business model. The email addresses are your databases you can use to get personal with your followers.
3. Have a Plan if Things Go South
You need to have a plan. Nothing last forever. You must have a Plan B, C, and D.
Do not get left in the dust when things start to pivot. If they pivot, you must pivot. You must learn to swerve. You can have safety nets, but you must have solid plans in place as well.
Just remember, all of those Vine stars that are out of work. I really hope they had a Plan B.
I am not trying to paint a picture of the social media apocalypse. I am just trying to say that we all need a plan. And in our plan, we must have a way that we are going to nurture or own land (website) and have a strategy to have it grow.
Do you have any questions about social media or website development? Leave your questions in the comment section below.