Do you want to own or rent your social media channels?

Social media is a great innovation allowing businesses to expand their market reach and engage with new audiences. It allows businesses to connect with little or no marketing budget and opens up a new world of business like never before.

However, the one thing that many businesses forget is that they don’t own those audiences. That’s right – you are simply renting your audience from these social giants. Mr Zuckerberg owns your Facebook audience since they are signed up to his platform. At any time he can change the rules and ask you to pay for access to your followers. In fact it is happening already with organic reach being less than 5%. This means when you post something on your Facebook page less than 5% of your followers will see it.

It is now a pay to play platform.

As a business, you want to have full control over your marketing messages and platforms so if you want to own and not rent your audience you need to move people from your social media channels to your ‘owned’ channels. This refers to the channels you fully control like your website, blog, email list.

You still want to engage, start conversations and build your fan base on social media but then you need to encourage them to connect on your own channels. This could mean incentivising them by offering a reward for subscribing to your email newsletter or by offering exclusive blog on your blog.

Your owned channels should be your focus for ongoing communication with new followers. This has much more marketing power and can be monetised by using simple tactics to move your audience along the path to purchase. Example: When you move someone from just being a follower on social media to signing up to your newsletter you can then communicate with them by setting up a series of automated emails that trigger once they sign up. This should always be education focused and add value to their day in some way – don’t start spamming them with sales messages. When you stay in touch with them, they are getting to know you and you are adding touchpoints so when they are ready to buy, you are at the top of their list. Makes sense right?

The business case for owning over renting is very clear, particularly when it comes to monetising the time & resources you have spent to build your audience on all your social media channels. Not all real estate is created equal.

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