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Take Your Marbles And Leave

By July 25, 2016 No Comments

Wake up dear reader, maybe, it’s just a craze, a phase we were going through but between me and you the habit continues. I’ve felt worse but I’ve felt better so take a seat on the naughty step and we’ll seesaw to the letter…

You’ll notice this months columns nipple count is up there with the Daily Sport and for good reason. None of them are real. They’re all reconstructive tattoos done by Modern Electrics’ very own Kerry Irvine. It goes without saying that these tattoos are life changing, positive, pressured, emotional and incredibly well done. This kind of tattoo really does change lives, I’ve watched Kerry create these for some incredibly brave ladies and I’m immensely proud that they were done in my studio by such a talented artist. I would have loved to be able to share them with you via my instagram and Facebook pages to show other brave women, the NHS and the world in general what an amazing thing an actual artist can do when faced with such a sensitive subject. But I couldn’t…

I couldn’t because the images are not considered to be within the terms and conditions set out by the aforementioned social networks. They are – apparently – offensive and disturbing and there is nothing I can do about it. Why? well – and here’s the point of this months column – I don’t own my social media channels. Never have, never will and neither do you own yours…

Like email, like electricity, social media is a miracle. Social media helps unknown voices get discovered. Social media helps people to express themselves. Social media can expose corrupt government lies, Social media dissolves the barrier between “maker” and “consumer.” With social media, everyone can be an artist and share their work publicly. These are all very beautiful things.

But, are you a social media landlord or renter? Do you own your Twitter, Instagram account or Facebook page? The answer is simple – no you don’t. Chances are, most of your social media activity happens in rented environments and somebody else is making the rules. Ask yourself ‘what would happen to my business if Facebook and/or Instagram banned all tattoo images tomorrow?’

If that’s a scary thought maybe you should looking at turning your social media marketing (yes sharing you tattoo pictures is considered marketing – don’t be afraid it’s not that dirty a word!) into truly owned vs. a rented social channel. Can u dig it?

Couldn’t happen? Certainly not to you? Wise up sucker…

Recently the Facebook page for the world’s largest social media magazine – Social Media Examiner – disappeared. Yep! Gone completely without warning! This page had over 380,000 followers and is an excellent source of information but for some unknown reason it went! What transpired from messages posted in response to why this happened was this has happened to numerous pages with fans of just a few hundred, to one with over 3 million followers!!!

This proves that can happen to anyone at any level. You don’t own your fans or your page so if your page goes you lose contact with these all people.

It was not that long ago that Facebook openly promoted, and provided the ability to build big follower bases. Many businesses pursued this strategy diligently and prospered from their efforts. That is until Facebook practically wiped out their organic reach, and started charging to access what many thought was their own databases. They want you to put money behind those posts and boost them out so they’re seen.

No matter whether you were a big proponent of Google+ or a hater, that doesn’t seem to matter anymore.  Apparently, Google+  as we all know it now, may be dying off. Hopefully, we’ll walk away from this news understanding that nothing is constant in the world of social media (anyone remember MySpace?). One day, tools that were once free might become terribly expensive, at least for smaller organisations. Or a site or group that you participated in successfully might arbitrarily change policies. Any social media channel where we dedicate our focus, energy & money might change, sometimes radically, or possibly even go away. And you have no say whatsoever about these private companies’ decisions. Therein lies the “WHY” you need a back up plan. The why is simply because you do not own your on-line databases, you never did, and never will! However, the things that you own in social media, like your website and your email list, can’t be taken away from you or changed without your consent. You own them.

So what do we do?

If you are concerned about dealing with the pace of change in the age of social media, here is a tip. Don’t put all your eggs in someone else’s basket…

The best option is to build your presence wherever your fans may reside. Whether that is on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or anywhere else they may be. Once you have some momentum, start moving them to databases you do control, such as your mailing list on your own website. Put most of your online efforts toward building your assets, not theirs. Sure, be on Facebook but don’t become so dependent that it can hold you virtual hostage. Same with Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and all the rest. Use them while they are working for you but be ready to say ‘see ya’ if they push you too far.

Currently Facebook and Twitter posts only reach around 2% of their fans and followers, and less than 0.1% of fans and followers actually interact with each post on average. And recent FB tweaks have made it even less likely that our unpaid posts will actually be seen by our fans so we might be better off investing in social features that exist on our own websites, or in smaller, more niche social networks. It’s time for us to start building social relationship strategies around sites that can deliver value. On all of your social media channels, it’s IMPERATIVE for you to make sure you are building a community that is YOURS!  Consistently drive this community to your website, your blog, and your email newsletter sign-up box. You want to continue the online engagement and dialogue, but make sure to take control of cultivating your community so that they’ll want to come back and visit your website and receive your regular news.  Delivering your news directly to their inbox is still considered one of the best ROI’s in online marketing.  (You can Google the phrase “Email Marketing ROI” and see tons of articles/stats on this subject.)

The bottom line: you don’t own accounts hosted on external social networks, you only rent them. And access to data is limited. If social media were truly owned, we would have control over the experience, access to our fans, and full control of the content. Let’s be honest, the reality is quite different. Public social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter don’t enable us to access our own data. And Facebook now charges pages to reach their own fans and followers.

The key lesson here is DO NOT put all your eggs in someone else’s basket. Do not purely rely on rented social media platforms for all your marketing. Always make sure you list build so that whatever happens outside of your control, you have a database of email addresses that allows you to retain contact with your fans.



What can I do to get my Facebook fans on to my mailing list?

Here are a few tips to help you get your Facebook fans on to your mailing list:

  • Have an opt-in form
    Put an opt-in form on your website so that when you post your blog on your Facebook page and readers get taken to your site, they have the option to sign up.  Put one in the sidebar and at the top or bottom of your blog posts so that people can easily subscribe to get future news and information delivered directly to their inbox.
  • Offer an incentive
    In order to make it more attractive for people to sign up, offer them a freebie or discount on tattoo time when they sign up. 
  • Post links to your opt-in form
    Make sure you have a link to your opt-in form everywhere you can.  Use Facebook apps to add one to your business page and include the link at the bottom of your Facebook posts.
  • Ask for email addresses in groups
    If you are in a group on Facebook and someone asks a question which you take the time to answer, ask them for their email address to send some further information.  Send them a little extra info and let them know you will add them to your mailing list (with the option to unsubscribe) for any future news.
  • Ask interactive fans for email address
    When a person comments on one your posts you now have the option to send them a message (see pic below).  Use this to thank them for their comment and to invite them to join your mailing list (remember to send them the link).