The most common social media questions I get from bloggers regarding social media profiles are: How many profiles should I have? Which social media platforms should I be on? What is the best social media marketing strategy? Plenty of the “social media experts” answer these questions saying that the best option is to be everywhere in order to get the biggest reach. I disagree with this. My belief is that you shouldn’t just create social media profiles because of the buzz about the different platforms and because everyone else says they are using them and they are saying that you should be using them too.
Investing time and money into building a Facebook fan page can now be considered a waste of your resources. You completely rely and depend on Facebook and Facebook doesn’t care about you. You may have noticed a big drop in your page reach and engagement. Facebook is squeezing the content reach and you can expect your organic reach to hit zero. Facebook wants you to pay in order to reach people that like you and that want to hear from you. Here’s how you can stop relying on Facebook and make your content marketing and social media strategy platform neutral.
Facebook is a business
We should not complain about Facebook. Don’t forget that Facebook is a business, it is not a charity organisation. Their main goal is to make money for their shareholders and they can do whatever they want to do with their own site. Accept this and work around it. There are more than one billion people using Facebook actively so it is a major player and can help you get your content in front of more eyeballs.
Create shareable content
Your content is where you need to start any social media strategy. Content with a substance is your key to virality. Create content that thrills and delights people. Content with irresistible headlines that make people click. Content that informs them, educates them and/or entertains them. Content that they just must share with their friends, family and networks.
Word of mouth and social media is critical to the success of your content. Don’t forget that. This doesn’t mean that your should focus all your efforts on building your social media profiles, but it does mean that you need to make sure that your content spreads on Facebook and other social media. Empower your visitors to help do this for you. Facilitate sharing. Use one of the many WordPress plugins. Include prominent share buttons and inviting call to actions to share on strategic points on your site and in your content. Publish content that has social sharing at the heart. See for example Buzzfeed quizzes.
Own rather than rent
It’s better to own your platform rather than rent it. Same as when you have to choose between using WordPress or going with Tumblr or Blogger. Don’t invest heavily in platforms you don’t control and own. You end up relying on someone else. Someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Deemphasize asking your visitors to like you on Facebook as you don’t own nor control your Facebook page. Facebook does. Focus on building your own following on your own terms – this could be as loyal visitors to your site, subscribers to your feed, subscribers to your mailing list and ideally your customers.
Diversify your social media presence
If you are everywhere, you will end up nowhere. It may look impressive to people that are not very experienced in social media: “Wow, you have 300 social media profiles, good job!“ But having all these social media profiles doesn’t really mean anything. It means nothing at all actually for your goals, unless you main goal is to have too many social media accounts.
Creating too many profiles and covering all this ground is very ineffective way of spending your time. Trying to do too many things at the same time equals you losing focus. The results will not be positive nor productive and you will not get any closer to reaching your objectives or your goals. You have experienced that when setting up an account at a new social media platform doesn’t automatically get you anywhere. You have zero followers and zero reach. A lot of time and effort spent on the platforms is actually needed to get the momentum going and nobody has enough time in a day to cover multiple social media site.
Having a minor amount of influence on a large amount of inactive social media profiles is not something to write home about or something that will give you more traffic or more revenue. On the other hand a concentrated effort on the most relevant platform or a couple of platforms is. I focus my efforts, my time and my energy on social media profile(s) that have the biggest effect and I try to develop them into platforms where I have a good reach. This is similar to the 20/80 principle. 20% of your tasks will deliver 80% of your results. 20% of your profiles will deliver 80% of your results. Identify which profiles are working and focus on them fully.
Don’t be platform dependent. Do not overcommit to one platform. Diversify your social media presence. Go other places where your people are. This could be on other social media sites. This could be on forums. Could be on sites like Reddit and Stumbleupon. Facebook might be big, but it is not the only place where people interested in what you do spend their time online.
Dethroning the King Facebook
There may be platforms willing to dethrone Facebook by helping sites and brands reach their audience better. Explore Twitter and see how that works for you. What about Tumblr? Check out Google+. There are no organic content reach restrictions and activity on there could have benefits for your search engine rankings. LinkedIn’s publishing platform is another interesting option. Evaluate which of the platforms you feel can help you get the best results. Use these platforms as vehicles to reach a new audience and help you drive people to your site where you can build a large following that you fully own and control.
I would recommend you ask yourself some questions when considering creating another social media profile in order to figure out which way to proceed:
- What is the purpose?
- Is my target audience there?
- What impact and potential does this platform have?
- What is the workload?
- What can I expect in return?
Don’t ignore Facebook advertising
All this doesn’t mean that I recommend you leave Facebook. Paying for advertising and paying to reach a targeted audience is still okay. Just be strategic about when you use it. If you are a writer that focuses on providing great content for free, you probably don’t want to advertise and pay to reach people. It’s not good for your wallet. You want the quality of your content to do the talking and spread the word for you. But what about when you have something to sell? In those cases it makes sense to use Facebook advertising and the targeting options it offers you to find people that want what you have.
Use this as an opportunity
You can use this situation as an opportunity and explain to your audience what is happening and how you would like them to help you. Be honest and explain them that they will not be able to get all the updates by liking you on Facebook. Inform them why that is and help them make the right decision by inviting them to subscribe to your mailing list for example in order not to miss any updates.