What if I tell you that you do not own your social media audience?
Yes, you just rent them!
Talk about Facebook, what if the platform decides to terminate your account for some reason? Do you still have any control over the hundreds of Facebook followers that you had?
No, not at all.
Let me tell you a story, a story of an Indian viral news website, much like Buzzfeed, Wittyfeed. They were getting millions of traffic, all from Facebook, and generating a revenue of INR 40 crores (5+ million USD) per year. And all of a sudden, for some reason, Facebook deleted their page, blacklisted their domain, and even deleted founders’ personal profiles with verified badges; without any clarification.
Scary, isn’t it?
And not just Facebook, any other social platform like Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Pinterest; they have a right to terminate your account at any time.
What’s the solution then?
In short, build an audience that YOU own. The best example can be an email list, collect your readers/customers emails and that enables a direct communication mode between you and the people.
Other options would be the search engines like Google, Duck Duck Go, Bing, etc. You can optimize your website so that it ranks better on the search engines and people can discover it from there. Your website will still be dependent on the search engines but here, you own all your content, search engines just help with the discovery.
Unlike social media, search engines do not take your content into custody.
Am I saying that you should not create social media accounts for your brand?
No, I do not mean that. Create social media accounts but do not completely depend on them. Do not make the mistake of getting all the traffic just from the social platforms.
Collect your audience emails, make them download your apps, make yourself discoverable on the search engines, and discover other ways to truly own your audience.
I have seen some businesses running only via a single Instagram page — that’s a very risky thing to do. I’d suggest expanding to other social platforms and starting to collect their emails ASAP.
What could Wittyfeed have done to avoid the damage?
WittyFeed was getting 95-98% of the monthly traffic from a single platform, Facebook. They kept operating the same way for 4-5 years and didn’t try to expand their reach to the other platforms, search engines, and especially did not build an email list.
Much like Buzzfeed, Wittyfeed could also have started newsletters to own their audience.