I’ve had Social Media on my mind for a while now – a few months!
I see people on Social Media believing in a lot of falsehoods about the platforms they’re on.
And, perhaps, the biggest falsehood there is, when it comes to Social Media, is the belief that their profile is theirs.
Folks, let me express this caringly –
Your Social Media profile, your account, is not an asset you own.
It doesn’t belong to you.
It belongs to the owners, whoever they may be, of the Social Media platform.
This goes for huge organisations with millions of followers, to one-person band businesses with only thousands of followers.
Your Social Media account is rented space.
There is a tendency to consider one’s Social Media as an asset.
Well, quite frankly, because it does not belong to you, it cannot, and I dare say, it should not, be considered an asset.
I say this simply because at any point, your account can be taken away from you, regardless of the amount of followers you have acquired.
Look, I’m an SEO guy. I look at Social Media with an SEO lens on.
A Social Media platform is simply a website.
A website that has user generated content.
A website that operates like any other website.
A website that’s dependent on two crucial factors in order to flourish – relevancy and interactivity.
Both of these factors are self-built within Social Media, which are designed to be activated by its users.
What I’m saying here is that a Social Media site is a website that’s built by the people who use it.
And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
There is a lot of great things that come out of Social Media.
For contributors, content creators, they are able to wield a platform, and earn a living.
For users, they are able to engage with, and even indulge in, the content they seek.
For the owners, well, they get to enjoy the fruit of their labour. And they deserve it.
Many sites have tried to go the user-generated content route, and have been unsuccessful in creating a dynamic system that has meta-benefits.
Having a Social Media account means you’re able to share in the benefits that come from Social Media being a thing!
However, you are renting the platform.
As someone who is renting the platform, you can be removed from it, and you can lose all the work you have carried out on it – just ask Donald Trump!
We’re approaching a shift in power dynamics with big tech firms, and because it is big tech firms that own Social Media sites, we’re approaching a shift in the way Social Media operates.
There’s an upcoming power struggle between governments around the world, and Social Media platforms, and this is likely to bring about a lot of changes for account owners.
The biggest change is likely to be in the form of accounts being terminated – on a whim!
Whether you’re a ‘big wig’ or ‘small time’ account holder, you have to realise that you’re operating on rented platforms.
You do not own the platform.
You also, don’t actually own the content you produce on it – on any platform that’s not yours.
If your account were to be deleted, and you do not have a backup of the content you published on there, you’ll be without that content.
Just take a moment and think about this –
Let’s say you’ve spent 10 years on a Social Media platform, and have amounted 4 million followers.
Four million people subscribe to your account, and you’ve spent ten years helping to build the Social Media site, promoting them (before you promote yourself), and even helping them attract more people to contribute to the platform.
After 10 years of work, the platform is an income generator that you rely on.
Suddenly, without any warning, message or correspondence, your account is deleted.
And it will not be reinstated!
What if you were on 3 or 4 other Social Media platforms, that have all done the same thing? Outright banned you?
What if they all banned you?
It’s happened before. Recently, in fact. Just ask Donald Trump.
There’s an old school marketing saying that I think is apt these days.
The saying is ‘don’t build your house on rented land’.
Having a Social Media account is like being on rented land.
If you’re seeking to build a house on that land, you should acknowledge that the land can be taken away from you.
It’s happened before, it can happen again.
Remember Squidoo? Hub Pages? Heck, even Ezine Articles?
A lot of businesses were reliant on them in the early years of Web 2.0.
What was the outcome with these sites…?
It’s happened before, it can happen again.
I dare say, in the culture we’re in, it’s likely to happen again.
Think about this for a moment…
You have the ability to build a following on any Social Media platform.
You achieve this by creating and publishing content on there that’s engaging, compelling, etc, etc.
You have to build an audience before you can earn a revenue from the platform.
As building an audience means publishing content on the platform, you’re helping to build the platform.
Just as your promotion of your Social Media account means you promote the platform first, the development of your business on Social Media means you develop the Social Media platform, first.
Is your Social Media account an asset, or a liability?
Are you spending more time developing someone else’s website over your own?