The other night, when I was standing in line for a comedy show, the guy behind me glanced up from staring at his phone and said, “So many people these days are making a living off of social media.”
“Oh? Is that right?” I played dumb, hoping he would elaborate.
Social Media Guy continued to explain the “possibilities” for financial success on Snapchat, Vine, and YouTube.
“Hmmm. Very interesting,” I replied.
Since I was off the clock, I refrained from giving him a lesson about digital sharecropping and how the real beneficiaries of these social media “possibilities” are the companies who build social media platforms and encourage people to create content on them — on platforms content creators don’t own.
I saved that lesson for you. This week’s Copyblogger Collection is a series of three handpicked articles that will show you:
- How to avoid the trap social media networks want you to fall in
- How to invest your time on social media in a smart way
- How to create social proof for your products and services that is independent of any one social media network
As you work your way through the material below, think of the following lessons as a mini social media content strategy course.
Warning: the following information from a Fast Company article on distributed content — the practice of publishing original content to specific platforms — may disturb you.
Writer KC Ifeanyi’s main point is that “if distributed content is the (immediate) future of publishing, it needs to be a bigger part of any social strategy.”
He also states:
Using social media to draw attention to your site where, hopefully, audiences will engage with additional content just isn’t effective anymore.
What? Where are the details about the dangers of building an audience with distributed content on a platform you don’t own?
After you spend an enormous amount of time and effort creating content for these platforms, here are some possible damaging consequences:
- The platform could start charging your audience money to continue to view your content.
- The platform could limit who sees your content.
- Advertisers could pay the platform to use your content to promote their companies.
- The platform could change their content format and specifications.
- Your content may be repurposed in ways you did not intend.
All of that, and more, is possible because these social media networks don’t owe you anything.
Your relationship with your audience is vulnerable when it occurs on someone else’s property. That property’s owner has control over the future of that relationship.
Ifeanyi further explains:
With the average user logging 1.77 hours per day on social networking sites, up from 1.61 in 2012, the logic of how to use platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and even Snapchat needs an upgrade.
Before you blindly advance your distributed content efforts, review Sonia Simone’s classic article Digital Sharecropping: The Most Dangerous Threat to Your Content Marketing Strategy.
For even more information on the subject, Sonia outlines What Happens at the Crossroads of Content and Social Media in a recent episode of her podcast, Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer.
You’ll discover how to use social media to benefit your business and avoid the heartbreak that can occur when you give any social media platform too much power.
My rant above was not intended to encourage you to shut down your social media accounts.
I wanted to reiterate how important it is to evaluate where you invest your time when building your audience.
So, don’t run away screaming every time you see a #hashtag. Instead, learn how social media can complement the content you produce on your own digital platform.
Demian Farnworth offers six helpful tips in The Proper Way to Automate Your Social Media Activities (and 5 Other Best Practices).
Social media accounts reflect who we are. They’re like the cologne or perfume we wear.
Discover how you can use your social media profile as an authentic extension of yourself.
As I previously mentioned, social media platforms can change their features and policies without any regard for how that may affect you.
For example, Twitter recently announced that they are removing share counts from their social share button.
This move may disrupt people who rely on Twitter’s share count numbers as social proof that their content is relevant, interesting, and share-worthy.
But don’t worry. If you expand your outlook on what social proof is, you can create it without depending on any one social media network.
Earlier this week, in her article A 7-Point Plan for More Shareable Content, Sonia notes:
If your audience is helping you get the word out about your content, we’re counting that as a share.
Demian reveals how you can make testimonials work in your content marketing in his article, Launching a New Product? These 5 Tips Will Get You the Testimonials You Need.
He reminds us:
As an entrepreneur, you need to think of your customer as a child who’s been burned one too many times. Who’s been hoodwinked, ridiculed, and neglected. Who’s defensive, reserved, and hard-nosed.
In fact, this is the case. Your job is to win the trust of that child.
With testimonials, you can win the trust of new prospects by showing them how existing clients and customers rave about your products and services.
You’ll learn how to start gathering testimonials in the early stages of your product or service development, so you’re prepared for your official launch.
Make social media work for you
Use this post (and save it for future reference!) to benefit from social media activities after you’ve first established a business that provides unparalleled value for your target audience.
We’ll see you back here on Monday with a fresh article to kick off the week!