And help everyone in the process…
Benefits Of Social Media
Facebook has more than a billion people on them. That’s an astounding number. It means, no matter your target audience – you will always find someone who is on Facebook.
One way to grow on Facebook is to create a page. Initially, when Facebook was new – they approached the companies and asked them to create pages. Because the companies had fans so they can like their page. And once you have followers on your page, you rule. Now companies can make a post and it will show up on the feeds of all people who have liked your page.
It was a win-win situation for everyone. Facebook has ads all over so they always earn money. The companies got an easy way for to reach all of their fans. You post something and it shows up on their feed. And fans got the message from the brands they like. And everything was fair. If you don’t like a brands post, you can hide – or remove your like.
Facebook started promoting pages to creators. So many creators who were new jumped to Facebook and shared post, advertised, brought fans from other platforms. And then built an amazing connection with their audience.
Again, everyone won – the creator got a hassle free way to reach their fans on their feed. Fans loved seeing posts from creator. And Facebook was getting money from ads. Again everyone was happy and the game was fair.
Things once in a while would go viral on social media. And then it would bring new fans and sales along. The very genesis of social media is virality. If enough people likes your post, it is shown to their friends too and so on. It creates a chain. So there was a natural hidden gem in social media pages. Your post could go viral – once a while.
After almost everyone was on Facebook and they had made effort to have thousands and millions of followers – Facebook did an unfair move.
They started limiting posts reach when a brand page would make. For example, if your page has 10,000 followers. Your post will be shown to just 100 people. Citing it was for better user experience. Which is a lie. Because if someone doesn’t like your post, they can hide or even unlike a page to stop following you.
You asked Facebook what is happening – what’s the use of having 10,000 followers when you can’t reach them. And they provided with a solution – pay money and they will show them to the users.
If they really cared about user experience, they wouldn’t show the post for anything. But that was just a ploy to get money from you. And now you are stuck, you have build your business on Facebook, your fans are expecting a post from you. And now if you don’t pay, you would have to literally start from beginning.
Although social media has and will provide benefits to you. Eventually, it all depends on their mood and what they think is right. Your business can go out of business if you rely heavily on social media.
First they lure you, then trick you and then ask you to pay. It’s all about making loads of money. That’s why you should use social media as a secondary or tertiary route. And not your primary method. Else, you will always be on the ledge. And you can fall anytime the owner of the social media doesn’t likes you.
Also, there are other issues like when a social media is biased. And they want your post to reflect a certain bias. You will be forced to do that or else limit your exposure.
YouTube has dictated what is right as per them. And now YouTubers have to do exactly that or they will face issues like less money or less reach or sometimes both.
The only types of videos you will see on trending is when it’s not controversial. Because YouTube is making policies in line with the advertisers bias. So they might proclaim that they are a creators platform, instead they are an advertising platform. And you are there to fill in the gap. And slowly, you as a creator is losing value because almost all companies are on YouTube. Even if all creators shut their account – it won’t affect YouTube.
YouTube lured creators to make YouTube the biggest platform. And then they welcomed corporate and now creators have been sidelined.
Always, keep a backup plan when your whole career is dependent on one social media. Because most YouTubers have no option. Video hosting is expensive. So it is a good idea to build a second business irrespective of YouTube with your YouTube leverage. So you are safe when YouTube tries to fail you.
Disguise But Social Media
There are many websites which pop up. And they promise you reach and money. For example, hubpages, Medium and many more.
And when you write on them – you realize they have a structure to help you, community to feel close in and growth like none. You work hard, write articles and make impact. You write comments, reply and be a part of the community. Slowly, you have followers which you have earned. Now, they get your articles in your feed because they follow you.
Slowly, when you have convinced many others to join the platform, they have grown big. Now, they don’t need you. So they partner with big companies to make content. And only their content shows up in the feed. Now, if you stop creating they don’t care. You have made others a habit to go to their platform. And now, they can meet their content needs from others.
You don’t matter. Even if you write something, they will not show it to all your followers. Instead, they will introduce a recommended feature. And unless they recommend you, your article won’t show to your followers or beyond. For that recommendation, you have to follow their arbitrary rules. Which doesn’t exist before? You are forced to do as they wish or leave the platform.
You are now back to square one. So, remember, there might be platforms which might promote you but they will be just another social media.
Always, have your home. A personal website, blog on hosting of your choice. And email connection so you don’t have any worry about things to go out overnight. And you can use other platforms as a promotional thing. So go on Medium or hubpages or Twitter. But as a promotional thing and not as your main thing.
Use social media to get fans to your website or blog. And your personal newsletter. Collect their emails. So you can use an email client to email them anything you promised. And they can view them in their email inbox. This is the best user experience too. Because fans willingly buy in the newsletter. And if they don’t like what you are sending, they can unsubscribe.
You are safe too. Tomorrow, if twitter goes out of business or any other social media business. You are safe. Because people often don’t change email address and if Gmail goes out of business. All you have to do is email asking for their new email id. You still have the connection. You can email your fans their preferred way.
Medium doesn’t allow you to send a message to all your fans. Nor do Linkedin or Twitter or Facebook. When you have email address, you can email all your fans. There are 2 sides – first you have the connection control so your emails reaches all your fans inbox. Because people don’t change email client and email client hardly goes out of business. And even if it does – you can email your fans before the deadline, ask for their new email id. And boom, your business still rocks.
Emails Are Like Phone Numbers
Email is the best connection you can have with your fans. Phone numbers once shared – it becomes difficult to share it again. You don’t want to change your phone number. Because you have shared it with everyone. And someone might call on your number. Maybe they have just your phone number and nothing else.
So, when you get a phone number, you keep them. Maybe over the years, you might take in new numbers. But you will keep your old number active.
Same is the case with email ids. You have shared your email id to bunch of places. And so you don’t want to change them. Sure, you might get new email ids over the years. But you will not shut down any email ids you own.
You can change social media but you keep your email. So, if you have to built a fan following based on your leadership, email rocks.
Your fans might change the social media, check it less. And also, social media controls the reach. But with email, you can send emails at your convenience. And your fans will open them at their convenience. Also, your fans will check their email ids often.
Email is personal, anticipated and welcomed newsletter from the people you admire.
The key here is to use this privilege with care. Don’t spam, use the connection to send emails which are useful and keep your promise.
Most of the companies go wrong when they stop keeping up their promise. It doesn’t have to big. But whatever it is, you have to keep it. For example, you can make a promise to share good recommendation. So do that. You can make promise to give stellar customer service. So doesn’t matter how big or small you become, keep that promise.
A promise when made and kept – will help you succeed. And if it doesn’t, it will translate as a useful thing to do in your next venture.
One to One Connection
One to one conversation is gold. When your friend sends you something, it’s personal. And you feel the connection. Somehow when you write something on social media, it’s public. Literally, everyone can see them. And your reaction is public.
But when you send an email, it is personal. Although it is sent to many people. It’s as if – all of them are like a single minded individual. Because the ideas resonated and hence, all of them have chosen to receive your email.
It’s not public. Your fans can reply and it is sent to one person. It’s an amazing feeling. Therefore, there is less rage, hatred and more love when the connection happens over email.
Take the example of the Convert company. They help you send emails to your fans. They are a big proponent of plain text emails. Because when your friends sends an email, it isn’t some image heavy and bright colours. It’s text, it’s meaningful and there is a story. Convertkit takes care of the outer appearance of your email. You as a creator need to take care about what goes inside.
When you email your fans, check for any typos. See the story, what’s in it for them. Also, don’t be pushy. Give, give and give. And then maybe ask one time. That’s how a relationship is built in the modern day internet time. You don’t lure your fans into giving you email address to scam them. You want them to grow, succeed and make an impact.
Give so much value that they can’t comprehend what’s going on. And then ask for something once. You will be surprised by the disproportionate high returns.
But it’s not that. You thought of the long-term, you thought about your fans. You thought about the connection.
Email Conversation Is Personal, Anticipated & Welcomed
When you buy stock of companies – it might happen that you will have some news. Which will guarantee that a certain stock with skyrocket. And if that happens, the only logical conclusion is to buy all the stock you can from the company. And then after 10 years, you can reap the rewards. But none of this is true. The chances of this happening is almost zero. That you might get struck by lightning than you will get news of such stock. Often it is when the things have gone out of hand that you get to know about it.
Take the example of bitcoin – for the longest time no one believed in it. Those who hold the stocks were either rich already or the ones who were thinking about getting something out of it. Maybe spend to get a pizza.
Only when the bitcoin prizes exploded you got to know about it. And then you tried to catch the wave by investing. But it was already too late. It often it.
The best strategy is to diversify your investments. Maybe you believe in a particular stock, buy few other promising stocks too. That way, your chances of doomsday will go down.
When you are building your presence online – having everything on social media is a big problem. Buy a domain name from one company, host it on another. And collect email address from a lead company. And send emails from another email service provider. That way you will have leverage in every form. Also, the most important piece of information – email address is stored with 2 companies on your behalf. Also, make a backup every month just in case.
If everything has to fail, email will be the last one to fail. And social media will be the first. Because social media keeps changing. They might introduce one feature and remove one. You have no control. You have to follow their norms.
Many entrepreneurs have stated that the biggest mistake they have made is not capturing the email address when they started. And essentially, building a connection economy.
Here is a quote from Seth Godin on value of connection and it’s relation to apparent success:
Put your idea into a format where it will spread fast. That could be an ebook (a free one) or a pamphlet (a cheap one–the Joy of Jello sold millions and millions of copies at a dollar or less).
Then, if your idea catches on, you can sell the souvenir edition. The book. The thing people keep on their shelf or lend out or get from the library. Books are wonderful (I own too many!) but they’re not necessarily the best vessel for spreading your idea.
And the punchline, of course, is that if you do all these things, you won’t need a publisher. And that’s exactly when a publisher will want you! That’s the sort of author publishers do the best with.
If you have connections – email address of your fans. Then you already have the biggest thing you need. Rest is just a checklist and you are a success.