Many of the questions I get asked these days revolve around social media. You know the usual suspects: Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes clients want to know about Tumblr or Google+ or Pinterest. From there the discussions move on to “outliers” such as Vine, Instagram, and others. We spend a lot of time going over the plusses and minuses as well as how to advance the client’s goals using these platforms. It’s a valuable exercise but it points out something that I think is given short shrift and which is today’s topic.
Every one of the aforementioned proprieties creates next to no content on its own. Users generate nearly everything. Unfortunately, everything users – and businesses fall into that category – put out there isn’t presented to the massive user bases these platforms have built. So, as Facebook said in a New York Times interview:
On any given visit to Facebook, the average user could potentially see about 1,500 items, the company said, from wedding photos posted by a close friend to a mundane notice that an acquaintance is now friends with someone else. Since no one has time to scroll through that many Facebook posts, items in the feed are ranked to put the most recent and relevant posts near the top.
In fact something like 85% of the people who “like” a page don’t see posts from that page in their news feed on a regular basis. As a brand, you’re at the mercy of the news feed algorithm which is constantly changing. So often in the effort to expand our reach to the broadest possible base, we give up control of the distribution in a platform that we don’t control. We do, however, have something that we can do – and probably are doing – that should, in my opinion, be our tp priority: our own websites.
We own our websites. They are our home base on the web. We can control everything on it although as I’ve written before, if you’re permitting comments be judicious in your moderation and be sure you’re behaving in a way that prompts mostly positive user response. We can be sure that the new visitor’s first encounter works just as well as the long-time fan who checks in every week. The time and resources to support social are far greater than those required to support home base, and because the number of outlets is expanding, so too are the resources to support them properly. But even if they were equal to those required for home base and it became an “either/or” choice, I’d advocate quality of encounter along with assured exposure over quantity and less control.
Don’t misunderstand. I believe strongly that brands (and my clients) need to be in social channels. Not, however, by letting their web homes get run down while they’re off in cyberspace doing so. That’s my take – what’s yours?