I recently read an article on some obscure opinion site about how Facebook had shut down a man’s political opinion page without warning. Said man was complaining about how he had spent over $300,000 in ads to get in front of his audience of almost a million likes, and how it was unfair of Facebook to just shut him down and take his entire livelihood away from him with no warning whatsoever.
Now, I don’t know if this story is true or not, because honestly, I don’t care. There are many elements in the story that scream “exaggeration” to me. But it got me thinking about something that I talk with prospective clients about a LOT. Maybe you’ve noticed, or maybe not, but I don’t offer Social Media marketing services. At all. I will incorporate pages & profiles into websites and funnels, but any posting or advertising on those channels is left ENTIRELY up to my clients. Even my own social presence is hugely lacking.
So why do I generally avoid social? There’s a couple of reasons, but for the purpose of this article, I’m going to focus on this: Anything you do on Social Media can be shut down at ANY time, without warning and without reason. Most people on social don’t actually read the TOC. They’re happy to blindly sign up and agree to anything just to use the service, and then get upset when they’re notified of a TOC infraction.
A lot of smaller businesses find great success on Social Media. They have huge followings and engaged groups, and people that actually reach out to them via these channels. They are making money using nothing but Social Media. So it’s difficult for them to see that they need to have outside channels as well. The thought of investing in a website or an email marketing strategy seems pointless to them, and oftentimes my explanations probably feel like I’m pitching my services to them.
But here’s the thing: It’s not about what *I* can do for you. Sure, I will build you a stellar website or email strategy if you want to hire me to do that for you, but ultimately, my only goal is to get you to understand that you don’t own your business on Social. You are building your business on borrowed land, land that comes with a LOT of conditions that you’re probably not even aware of. All it takes is one slip up, and all your hard work - and your entire contact list - is gone. Never to be recovered.
Are you prepared to take that gamble? Will your business survive if people can no longer find you? Will your business survive if you can no longer reach your prospective clients?
You don’t own any of your social media contacts. Social platforms offer you a service. And just like any other business, they reserve the right to refuse service to anyone at any time for any reason. Even if you COULD export your social contacts (some services allow it, most don’t), without that platform you really have no way to reach them.
So what can you do?
You can start creating an email list and transitioning your page likes to it.
Most email marketing services allow you to create a social sign up form. If they don’t, they provide a link to your form that you can share to your page and ask people to sign up. As with any other sign up form, you want to make it easy for your contacts to sign up and give them a reason to do so. So when you’re signing people up, make sure you have a plan and stick to it.
Also, be prepared. Just because you have an engaged social following does NOT mean that everyone on your list is going to want to sign up for your emails. There are a lot of different reasons why people follow you on social, and not all of them will translate to email.