With Facebook in the news for its privacy practices and the lax care of your personal data, there have been a number of calls for people to delete their Facebook accounts. The hashtag #DeleteFacebook is trending, and high-profile personalities are participating. Elon Musk deleted the Facebook pages of SpaceX and Tesla this week, and Mozilla, which owns the Firefox browser, dropped its Facebook advertising. Facebook is even facing calls for congressional investigations as a result of the scandal.
Are users over social media?
Facebook lost nearly $80 billion in market value since last week’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, and even prior to this latest news, the amount of time users spend on Facebook has decreased. The number of daily users dropped at the end of 2017 for the first time, and young people are leaving the platform.
It’s not just Facebook. Less than a month after Snapchat lost $1.3 billion in market value when a tweet by Kylie Jenner criticized Snapchat’s redesign, Snapchat lost another $800 million after Rihanna called out the company for an offensive ad featuring the pop star.
Social media is not going away any time soon, but it is a reminder to businesses who depend on it to keep it in proper perspective.
What should businesses do?
If you’ve heard me speak, you know I recommend making your website the center of your digital marketing strategy.
You have to remember that social media is rented land, meaning platforms like Facebook make the rules. For example, when Facebook recently changed the News Feed to prioritize family and friend posts over business or publisher posts, organic (or free) reach for businesses declined yet again.
We’re not going to stop going online, we live there now. But, if you make your website the hub of your digital marketing strategy, you have control over the content and the message there. Your website, your rules. You can also save time and effort by creating content that works for search engines as well as social media. For most businesses, search still drives more traffic than social media.
Use social media as a way to extend your reach, interact with prospects and customers, and drive traffic back to your website. When social media is an outpost in your strategy, you can quickly adjust to changing realities or try something new knowing that your core messages and content are on your platform.
Your goal should be to convert your website and social media traffic, as well as your advertising traffic, to owned traffic. These are people you can contact directly (and reach them!). Email marketing is still one of the best value and ROI platforms for developing that know, like, trust factor critical for small businesses and nonprofits. Even millennials still choose email as the most widely preferred method for businesses to communicate with them.
- Paid traffic = advertising
- Earned traffic = organic search, social media comments and shares
- Owned traffic = prospects and customers you can directly contact (email addresses)
Taking a cohesive approach to your digital marketing and social media efforts saves you time, allows you to experiment and adjust to fast-changing realities, and gets you better results.
Cal Newport, a Georgetown professor and author of the book Deep Work has an interesting article this week about the distinction between the social internet and social media. Social media are platforms controlled by large companies in an effort to make money. Social internet describes the internet’s ability to provide connections without restrictions set by individual companies. He gives ideas on how to take advantage of these connections outside of the algorithmic rules of the social media platforms, including owning your own domain.
The ability to connect with our target audience and provide a better experience for our customers while doing what we do best is the promise of the connected world for businesses. Implementing this doesn’t require spending all your time on social media and following every latest trend. Start with a clear idea of your audience, the problem you are solving, and a digital marketing plan that builds on the knowledge and services you are already providing to your customers. And build it on your own land.