How To Take From Social Media & Bring It All Back To You
The decline of organic reach, meaning fewer people seeing what you’re posting on social, is well documented. People now accept that paying to be seen is the norm.
However, if you build your own, independent space, social becomes a means of distribution, where it becomes the magnet attracting people back to you.
The way you do it is to play by someone else’s (i.e. the social media platform’s) rules, but with a clear goal of bringing people back to yours. Social becomes the place where you communicate your relevance to people who then follow you into your own space, where they can choose to subscribe, buy from you or just get to know you better.
This article is about what you can gain by taking maximum advantage of the places, notably social media platforms, that are not owned by you. You play by their rules but get people back to your home. It’s time to spend more effort on making that home look great, i.e. your website or your email newsletter. And spend less time worrying about what their (Facebook’s, LinkedIn’s) next move is going to be.
In fact, you could say – there’s never been a better time for you to be using social media to bring people back to your own space.
What Is Happening –
Fewer people are now seeing your posts
Facebook, in the past week, announced another thumbs down for organic reach.
Facebook is rolling out a change to the way impressions are calculated. This is to filter out duplicate organic impressions and to align reporting between organic and paid social posts. What this means is a reduction in the way that it calculates organic page impressions, so a reduction in reach.
During the summer, Trust Insights, looked at engagement rates on Instagram (from 3,637 brands) and noted a decline from the start of 2019 to July.
So What Does This Mean?
If you’re relying on marketing within a social platform then, over time, fewer people will be seeing your message. The only way round this is to increase budgets to help with visibility. This puts pressure on small business owners who are under the cosh to take out ads to boost performance.
The more you live a life by someone else’s rules, the less independence you have. It’s the equivalent of going to Glastonbury and staying by the main stage all day because you have a good space, but the acts on there aren’t quite what you wanted to see – the good stuff is happening elsewhere.
You can accept that this is just how it is and dedicate budget to promote your posts and becoming enslaved by the social platform. Alternatively, you can take what you can, while you can, from social platforms and put your energy into creating something far more powerful that you, yourself own.
Some call this stealing, others call it being inspired.
I’ll call it stealing as it involves no monetary transaction and the intention is that you, and not the social platform, benefits from it.
The Way To Do It
If you’re going to steal – this is how it works:
Build your home or shopfront (this is your website)
Create your narrative (blog, video, podcast or live events)
Focus on building your email list (this is key) so that you’re keeping in touch and directing your audience
Use social purely as a means to distribute from and spread your ideas (without resorting to living your life within a particular platform)
Take from social back to your home
The objective is to move away from being held hostage by algorithm changes to a place that is far more stable, where you are in control. It’s by no means some covert operation to take on social media platforms but rather to game them so that you can build stronger relationships within the places that you do have control over.
How Can You Do It?
The examples I’m going to share are what I’ve been doing with Facebook and LinkedIn – taking people from social platforms and bringing them back to mine.
When I say “bringing them back to mine” I mean getting people to subscribe to the weekly You Are The Media email, rather than them just having a look around the website with my having no means of knowing who they are.
Being upfront about the value you offer is key.
The goal is to support someone to make a decision. This is not about achieving more likes but about getting someone to act. This includes deciding to attend an event (buy) or to leave their details to join the YATM community (subscribe).
Facebook – The YATM Facebook Group was set-up in August 2018.
The Facebook Group is controlled as people request to join. I was initially worried that this was going to turn into a place for free advertising, where people would post their offers, how good they are or any means to direct the spotlight back to themselves. I was very wrong.
The YATM Facebook Group has become our community’s water cooler place, where people get to know each other and learn about upcoming events in the YATM calendar.
The group has allowed communication to be in the moment. For instance, shortly after a YATM Lunch Clubs, I’ll write a post within the group of the main points from the session. This allows people who couldn’t make it (and those who were there), to read some of the main messages delivered.
The lesson here is that if you build an audience, you can find other places for people to interact on an ongoing basis. Perhaps the next step could be to use https://www.whatsapp.com/business
The downside is that when you play in someone else’s space, someone else makes the rules, not you. Earlier this year Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook Groups “are at the heart of the experience.” In the past week, Facebook has now announced that they will try out ad placements in groups.
This has been You Are The Media’s main source of using organic distribution to drive people to subscribe/buy. LinkedIn has introduced two new offerings that can support your efforts:
LinkedIn Live: At some point in 2020, LinkedIn Live will be rolled out fully. At the moment it’s invite only, so we’re fortunate to be part of the test phase. If you’d like to apply to use LinkedIn Live, click here and fill out the form.
The great thing with the LinkedIn Live beta rollout is that it hasn’t yet turned into the Sainsbury’s half price toy sale with hoards of people clambering over each other in one place. The great thing with live video is that it’s great for getting people to speak from the heart and say what they believe in, not just sell.
I have started using Switcher as my broadcast app (this is not an affiliate recommendation and spent $350). This is proving useful as it helps you put together a live production.
I’ve started introducing captions as well as image overlays – it’s still pretty raw, but it does give the feeling of being more of an in-the-minute presentation, not just a talk.
Captions and overlays add interest to and break up the video, making viewers feel they’re participating. Of course they also provide the opportunity for people to subscribe to the YATM weekly email. My last video featured a sign up screen that resulted in six new subscribers. It may not sound a lot, but it was six new people who moved seamlessly from social, “back to mine.”
LinkedIn Events: Following on from the beta rollout for LinkedIn Live, October also saw the global rollout of LinkedIn Events. You can now create events within LinkedIn for free and use the platform to signpost your on- and offline activities.
You can do this via the panel on the left side of your home screen dashboard where there’s an option to add an event. This becomes a page in itself on which you can share updates, see who’s shown interest and also follow up with people who are potentially going to attend.
The whole intention here is to use LinkedIn to your organic advantage, before it starts to become part of a paid-for model. You have to play by the LinkedIn rules, but if you can share a message and encourage others to come to your side, this becomes your directional tool.
This represents the most critical part of your endeavours. Whether it’s via live video or through using the events set-up, your success is not down to the media that’s freely available but the message that you deliver and how you deliver it. For instance, if YATM Lunch Club was just another networking event (albeit one that’s been going for coming up to four years), it would be struggling as it would have to compete with a host of other local options. The Lunch Club being part of a greater YATM whole is what gives it its power.
Four things to think about to round up this section:
1) You have to work hard to not sound the same as others
2) Your message has to be tailored for each social network (not cutting and pasting in one place and replicating everywhere)
3) You have to be active in the places you’re committing to
4) Declining organic reach is ok, when you build a space that people subscribe to
It’s Ok To Take, As Long As Your Message Is Strong
Take advantage of what is readily available (and for the most part free), but have an objective to bring people back to you.
As Lauren McMenemy says in an article from SkyWord, “You need to have a central hub for your content, somewhere that you drive your audience to, rather than from. And that hub should be owned by your brand—something like the company website, or a branded content hub.”
Taking from another space is by acknowledging the unwritten etiquette of another platform but turning it into your advantage.
The make or break though, is the strength of your narrative and the ongoing message that you deliver. No one is going to subscribe if they see a message that is sporadic and does not have a clear overall purpose behind it. No-one is going to convert, buy or subscribe when they feel there is nothing in it for them.
The biggest question when taking on board an approach to seize from other spaces is to recognise where the right people are and then find them.
When people become comfortable, they will step forward when the time is right. This will allow you to get to know your audience far better and be able to tailor what you produce so it’s relevant to them.
Let’s Round Up
There are still social places that allow you to play by organic rules, but you have to apply a goal that is more than just focused on likes and shares.
Get your website looking right
Create your message
Make your subscription offer look welcoming (and relevant)
Build your audience
Constantly be creating something worth sharing
Distribute these message on social
Ensure people enjoy their time with you
Continue distributing your message to your growing audience
If you want to sell to an audience, you have to build your audience first. Organic reach is plummeting. This is why it presents a fantastic opportunity for you to be recognised as a reliable pair of hands that can prove to people that spending some time with you, is a good investment. You can genuinely use other spaces to your advantage.
To make it work, you have to make sure that the place you bring people to – your place – is the place they feel looked after, and that this is something they can’t get elsewhere.