BitConnect… Facebook… YouTube… If you read certain websites, blogs, hang out on Twitter (sorry it feels like home) it seems like the power vacuum is eating itself.
The subreddit for BitConnect buyers, alone, is a graveyard riddled with crying adults saying they have lost all of their life savings for what they were promised was a sure thing. YouTube creators are being met with emails that dictate specific subscription and viewing numbers to still be eligible for monetization. Then… there’s Facebook — pushing off the majority of publisher content for the sake of togetherness. For the record Zuckerberg, you aren’t John Lennon and Facebook isn’t your “Imagine” so stop with the manifestos and the fuzzy slide decks preaching social media togetherness.
Men and women about to be divorced (BitConnect losses), large brands, small businesses, and creators now find themselves within a new playground — a minefield of expectation wrapped in the promise of money. Follow the rules, but there really is no guarantee.
So, I ask as I read about your life falling apart, your comments about what do I do next, where can I make money — don’t put your eggs in one basket. The people hurt most by this are those who saw it as their main stream for awareness, for money, for fame, for glory. The people who are truly doing things successfully see the value in diversification. You need to have your money, content, and presence in multiple places. I’m not a banker so I’m going to go into a diatribe about the funds you need to get into or how aggressively or conservatively you should invest. However, for marketing, the power comes with a multi-channel approach. I am still a steadfast Inbound Marketer and I don’t believe you have to or should be everywhere, but be where you know your audience is.
Many of the strongest performing YouTube creators have already been abandoning the monetary ship that is Google Adsense. After major brands pulled their ads from Google due to questionable (at best) ad placement on certain videos and channels, Google went into a highly authoritarian view of monetization and started being too conservative when it came down to what is eligible for monetization. Creators have started Patreon accounts so that their subscribers can individually give money to keep the channel going as well as get video shoutouts, name recognition in post, and behind the scenes/exclusive content in exchange for what they pay monthly. Other creators use Twitter, Facebook (especially with the new Creator App), Instagram, Snapchat, personal websites, merchandise, and brand advertising/reviews in order to keep money rolling in. They have diversified.
Why wait for YouTube to dictate the fate of your brand, your livelihood when this change has been happening for a while now?
This one hurts. I live and work in a region where Facebook has been the marketing bread and butter for most businesses. When I’ve asked people their marketing strategy the response is predominately, “I have a Facebook business page” and that’s about it. Don’t get me wrong, it has helped my region grow, build awareness, garner attention from larger brands that have since seen the beauty and potential that SW Virginia holds. It’s easy to use — most people are used to posting content on their own personal pages, boosting is broken down into steps that business owners can navigate and the ads are incredibly cheap compared to other options. But, and this can get me into trouble, but just having a page is not a marketing strategy. It’s a step in a marketing strategy.
With Facebook making changes to their feed, content isn’t enough; ads aren’t enough. With Facebook’s creator app being launched last year, it is an interesting time for individuals to be the face of their company, using the creator app to get strong data as if they were a business page. Could you be the face of your company or do you need to look elsewhere?
If anyone is benefitting from these changes, it’s influencers. As an individual, I can post on social and be given a clear connection to my friends and family. If I’m a popular blogger, my influence is worth even more. I can push a brand where a brand can’t push itself. I can be an ad that doesn’t look like an ad. I can be a trusted voice that looks different from ads. An influencer can create awareness, growth, leads, and revenue… all in exchange for money, goods, etc. The influencer is about to get even stronger. When you think about your brand, is there a blogger, a person on Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat that embodies who you are. If you are retailer, who is the manifestation of your dream customer? What do they look like? What types of clothes do they wear? How would you describe them?
But, what if I can’t afford an influencer?
Welcome to the fan club! Brand Ambassadors are the most priceless thing I will talk about in this post. Brand Ambassadors love you, your brand, your product, your service, and they tell everyone how amazing you are. These are the people who send new customers your way all the time. These are the people who give you positive shout outs on social media and create positive awareness for you FOR FREE! No matter what happens in the digital marketing space, word of mouth WINS! Take care of your customers/fans/audience. When they love you, love them back. The businesses that have hardcore fans that are always sharing their content are the businesses that don’t need to worry about future Facebook changes. They will always have someone with their back.
Where do we go from here?
You need to have a clear understanding of your identity and what it means in the marketplace.
- Who are you?
- Who is your audience/customer/persona?
- What do they want?
- Where is your audience? (Social Media, Print, Websites, Blogs, Email)
- What is working for your competitors? (Do a competitive analysis and see what is and isn’t working for them. I use Social Insider IO for this)
- What is your competitive advantage?
- Use social listening to see what people are saying about your brand and any major topics and keywords you use (this is crucial and a never-ending task)
- What is your digital ad budget? (what does a customer/conversion/lead mean to you financially?)
- Which channels will you advertise?
- Which channels will you post content?
- Who are your brand ambassadors? Do you currently acknowledge them or make them feel special?
- Are micro-influencers right for you? Who has your audience? What is their engagement rate? Can you afford them?
- Be prepared for more changes.
This isn’t over. These are not the last changes that will happen in digital marketing, but having a set path and strategy for how you are going to tackle your image in other baskets besides YouTube and Facebook are crucial. It’s time to adapt and get going.