At one of my social media and digital marketing breakout sessions for the NTA (National Tour Association) Contact conference for tour operators and tourism marketers, a person in the audience asked,
“So, let’s say I have 10 minutes to do something in social media. How should I spend that time?”
My smartass mouth popped open and I responded,
“Spend that 10 minutes working on your next email marketing newsletter.”
We all laughed, because during the entire session I’d emphasized that while social media can be a very powerful and effective marketing communications tool, the platforms are all owned by someone else. The only digital assets that you control are your website, blog, email newsletter, and maybe an opt-in SMS/texting list.
- Mark Zuckerberg owns your Facebook Page and your Instagram account, not you. Their customer service is… well, except for big advertising spenders, there isn’t much.
- Google owns your YouTube channel, in addition to controlling over 91.5% of worldwide search engine market share.
- LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft.
- Ben Silberman owns Pinterest.
- Recent leadership drama at Twitter included Tesla/SpaceX/Boring Company dilettante Elon Musk becoming the largest Twitter shareholder, with his own agenda about who should have a voice.
Whatever – you and I don’t control any of it.
I’m commiserating with a tourism industry colleague right now who is dealing with suddenly being locked out of an Instagram account. They have more than 30,000 followers and have worked hard for years to build their following. Of course, that does not matter to Meta one bit. This person messaged me:
“Over here struggling to regain access to our Instagram account (which locked us out for some unknown reason) and all I can hear is your voice saying to invest in sites you can control.”
There are way too many bright marketing people spending gobs of their precious time and talents trying to please algorithms and appease egomaniacs who hire firms to conduct smear campaigns against rival platforms that threaten their dominance. I’m mad as hell and I’m tired of it.
Am I suggesting that we all quit social media and just do email marketing?
Of course not. That would be marketing malpractice. Too many of the folks you want to reach are on social.
I do suggest that your email list, website, and blog should be your top priority, and the hub to your social media spokes.
Make sure you never create “disappearing” brand content, or content for just one platform, either. Always think about repurposing for more longevity and for reaching new and different audiences, like turning Reels into YouTube Shorts and Stories into Pinterest Idea Pins.
Am I off my rocker? Let me know in the comments. I probably won’t change my mind on this, but you can have fun trying. 😊
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