For more than 14 hours yesterday, the world's biggest social media platforms went down. Globally. And as someone who spends a lot of their life online, yesterday's outage was a bit of an eye-opener in more ways than one.
First of all it reminded us of an important point when it comes to social media. Your profile is not your asset. And yesterday's outage was a good reminder of just how little control we actually have over our social media platforms.
The reality is, for a lot of us, that's an easy thing to forget. With decent audiences, and regular income directly from our profiles, it's easy to think that your profiles are business assets. But what's key here is that they're not owned. So when a social media network experiences mass outage, what happens to all our hard work? Not to mention that audience or community that we've spent so long nurturing.
Yesterday reminded us: our profiles are not our real estate. We're just renting the space, and if the platform goes down overnight, we're going to be out on the street! So to speak, anyway.
If you spent any time on Twitter yesterday (and a lot of us did), you'll have found a community divided. Half enjoying the 'break of the outage, half realising what it really meant and how much we really are in the pocket of these big network.
Social media is a fantastic phenomenon. It's changed our world. It's transformed the way we communicate, make friends, do business. But as yesterday showed, you can rely solely on a great presence on these platforms alone.
We need other tactics.
We need assets that we can own.
And if you started reading this on LinkedIn, hello! Of course the above point is EXACTLY why I brought you over here... because now you're reading this on an asset I own!
1. Don't put your business in the hands of a social media platform
Rule number one: own your assets. You might have a great profile on Instagram, but like we've already talked about, it's not actually yours. In the blogging / influencer world, we've seen a slight decline in blogging, in a traditional sense of the world. And we've seen a huge rise in the number of Instagram influencers. These individuals, with sometimes eye-watering audience sizes, rely on the platform alone to reach their followers. And with rapidly falling attention spans, and a need for instant gratification, we're happy to just look at the pictures it seems. But if the platform goes down, or disappears overnight, it leaves you with very little.
2. Build your website into a great resources for your ideal client or customer that keeps them coming back
Kind of linking with the first point but your website is your shop window to the world. I preach this to clients on an almost daily basis - and yet, I'm guilty of neglecting my own little shop window. I've not updated my blog in almost two years. TWO. And while it's been for positive reasons - being busy with great projects - I realise it's now grown a little out of date. Which is why you'll see things start to change around here soon! If like me, you've been a little lazy when it comes to updating your site, don't worry. Let yesterday's outage be the kick up the arse you needed to get your little corner of the internet in order. Great websites are like gardens, they need a little nurturing, and you need a little patience. Remember, the fruit is the last thing that grows. Don't know where to start? Content marketing, or inbound marketing is still one of the biggest ways to attract and keep a loyal customer. Think about your buyer personas and what matters most to the people you're selling to. What assets can you create (and host on your site) that will help them out? What will keep them coming back to you?
3. Grow your mailing list
Since all the chaos and bureaucracy of GDPR, it feels like we've got a little scared of email marketing. Or at least very wary of it. But as long as you're not buying lists and you're giving your customers the chance to opt in and out, whenever they like, there's really nothing to fear. Mailchimp is an incredible (and free!!) service that lets you build a list in an ethical way - with the right disclaimers, and of course, the right protection for your customers' data. If you've not already installed one - there's also a feature to add a pop-up (which you'll have seen when you first landed on my site) that's really easy to set up. And if you've not already got a mailing list, or a Mailchimp account, there's really no time like the present!
After such a long outage, we're probably unlikely to see another one soon. But never say never. And if nothing else, hopefully this post might inspire you to spend a little time tending to your own internet garden.