I saw a tweet this morning, suggesting that true social media marketers would be able to survive social media without blogging, email or any other form of digital marketing. Got my spinners spinning for a little. While the temptation of wearing a purity badge as a real social media marketer is weirdly satisfying, it doesn't make a lot of sense economically. You are probably not into the game just for the bragging rights. True, they are a great perk, but the end goal that will enable you to keep playing is profit, and doing social media exclusively will steer you away from profit.
Most of social media marketers would probably agree. Most of grandmothers would agree too, as they frequently remind you to not put all of your eggs in one basket. In fact, an argument can be (and is being) made for exactly the opposite - you should occupy and work as many channels as possible, and not just social media.
It might have been Gary Vee that said you should be everywhere (and if Gary Vee said it, it's basically like Jesus said it, right?). I must agree. Creating the content is the hardest part, sharing it requires minimal effort compared to it. So what if it doesn't fit the channel 100%? You'll still reach different audiences there basically for free.
The main point that got me thinking was why would you rely only on social media? That is probably what provoked me to write this. You must never rely, or even trust, the social networks.
They are huge efficient money making machines, and they only care about what they can get from you. Never forget that, memorize it, hang it on your wall, tattoo it on both of your arms, three times per arm. You almost always watch their ads, sometimes pay for your own ads, help them keep people on their platform by providing your valuable content for free, give them data about your interests and your network of friends, or as it's most usually the case, a combination of those.
There was this guy I knew a few years ago, let's call him Alex (even though he was named Tray), that had put all of his eggs in the Facebook basket. He had a great page developed pretty well, with about 100.000 thousand likes, and his business was based entirely on that page. He used it to drive traffic to his website, which was quite honestly just your average pop news and gossip portal, but he made some decent profits from ads. You probably guess what happened to him and his company. One day Facebook decided to switch up the algos again, and his page was in the feeds of his likers at about 5% of the previous rate. 5%! That's a 20 times decrease in traffic to his website. Yeah, there was no website a few months after that. You probably know an Alex (named Tray) as well.
If you go around the blogs of most of the influential social media marketers, you'll probably notice two things. One: most of their articles are list articles which are usually completely useless. But that's another topic.
Two: over half of their content is not really about social media. It is often a mix of topics related but distinct from social media, other forms of marketing such as blogging, copywriting, email, advertising, sales, and in some cases even personal development, business development, and they occasionally throw in cooking for the fun of it. There's a reason for that. Social media can never work in isolation (though it can do just fine without mentioning cooking :)). It's not just about algorithm updates, you need to invest in building trust with your audience on your own platform, where hardly anything that EvilCo does can touch you. The people with email lists of targeted 100.000 subscribers will never care about what Facebook decides to do.
One set of channels that I often see neglected are online forums. Nobody should afford ignoring so tightly knit, targeted communities full of people passionate about a niche. These communities are hard to penetrate, and that should not scare you but encourage you. The best restaurants and night clubs are either the ones you don't know about or the ones hard to get inside. Plus, it's not really that hard, they just don't like mindless marketers very much and have low tolerance for spam, which is something that is slowly becoming the rule everywhere online. Similarly, sites which are somewhere in between classical HTML4 age forums and social media, sites like Reddit and Quora, should also be covered with more attention. True, that's a lot of work, but I try to devote as much hours in the day at working and providing value on those communities as I can. Why? Because people listen. I have a few thousands of followers on my main product social media accounts, and often when I post content there, I feel like I'm shouting to someone 3 blocks away in a storm. The audience is targeted, but social media is crowded. On the forums and subcommunities there are a smaller number of people, but they are pretty much genuinely interested in the topic. I try to make the content at least somewhat valuable, either by offering my honest opinion, sharing something I've learned, or just trying to have some fun. That has value online, and these kinds of communities acknowledge that, and often times reward it.
You should certainly use social media to advance your marketing goals, but it should always be one part of a bigger whole. As time goes by, we will see social media become one of the most important parts of digital marketing. As younger generations keep looking at email as a thing of the past, social media will take up a big part of the online attention from it. It may never eliminate it, but it will reduce it drastically. Social networks will always try to keep people as long as possible on their platforms, and on the receiving end of that inevitable rule of evolution will be blogs, but they will never be truly killed neither, the number of entrepreneurs is growing with every year and a lot of them would never accept not having control of their own platform for their business.
Advertising will die. A network will appear that is completely distributed, and nobody is the owner. Or everybody is the owner, which is kinda the same thing depending how you look at it. That network will have no investors or stakeholders to justify its existence to, and there will be no reason for that network to run ads. As people have always hated ads and will continue to do so, the distributed networks will slowly eat away the current big boys of today, and that will be the death of advertising. We are a few years away from that happening, so we can't just sit around waiting.
The central piece of your business in the digital world will usually be your website or your blog. Without it, you will always be at the mercy of the algorithm updates, and will never have a truly stable online marketing strategy, and by extension a business. No matter how hard people try to be social media marketers in the truest sense of the word and avoid everything outside that bubble, that will always remain a bad idea.
You should love all digital marketing equally. When it comes to social media, there's no better way to handle it than using HustleCool.