30 July 2018

Why it’s dangerous not to own your own channels

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Brands have long used social platforms to connect with and build out their audiences. Collecting fans like baseball cards, they would pour significant ad spend into Facebook’s brand-favouring algorithms, relying on third-party data to deliver ads and reach potential new users. Obviously, this has changed significantly in the last six months as Facebook removed third-party data offerings and updated the news feed feature to prioritise user content vs. branded content.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that a social company has shaken things up. When Twitter shut down Vine in early 2017, it was devastating for brands and influencers that relied heavily on the video app to reach their thousands (and sometimes millions) of viewers. By delivering content on a channel they neither owned nor operated, they had given up the right to own their audiences as well, and had to dramatically shift to new channels to stay afloat.

So what does this mean?

It means that brands taking a long term perspective by building directly-owned audiences will ultimately be better off than those renting theirs from social platforms. Smart companies need to be asking themselves: how do we build audiences that are safe from external forces?

A brand should own its audience and means of content delivery - and now more than ever, the tools to do so are readily available. The elements needed for owned and operated channels are simple:

Something of interest that will drive people to your site.

This can truly be anything, as long as it’s of value to your audience. Thought-provoking and relevant content is a big one, like new blog posts, high quality video assets, product stories, case studies, etc. Having a major sale is another surefire way to draw people in. By driving consumers to your site, rather than engaging with them on social, you are increasing the chance that they might stay, look around, and become a repeat customer.

A quality CRM and marketing system.

The marketing value that comes from social platforms is their ability to gather, store and distribute information about individuals. Understanding consumer behavior is critical, which is why brands are drawn to using those channels. But with a proper CRM, you have the ability to create your own system of collecting data around your user behavior. Even on a small scale, mimicking how sites like Facebook track user data will add value to your company and get you set up to best market your products.

A sense of community.

It’s called social media for a reason - people are simply drawn to other people. Creating a sense of community on your own channel, where like-minded consumers can interact with each other as well as with your brand, is definitely going to set you apart.
To put it simply, companies don’t have to rely solely on Facebook and YouTube to communicate with their followers, and every day we’re seeing more and more moving in the direction of owning and operating their own channels. By driving people to their own websites and delivering content to them directly, they are ensuring their own future success and eliminating external risks altogether. So the next time there is a shake-up in the social arena - which is a ‘when’, not an ‘if’ - make sure you are not on the short end of that stick.

Still interested? Stay tuned for information on upcoming conferences and summits by following us on Facebook @ Akolade Aust 

Written by: Fritz Brumder

CEO & Co-Founder, Brandlive 

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