Breaking the Illusion: Meta’s Stark Reminder That Your Brand’s Followers Aren’t Really Yours

Breaking the Illusion Meta's Stark Reminder That Your Brand’s Followers Aren't Really Yours
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Following a series of social media outages, The Big Smoke sheds light on the illusion of follower ownership and reveals how businesses can reclaim audience connections through strategic email marketing.

The Great Social Shutdown: Rethinking What It Means to ‘Own’ Your Followers

Struggling with your social platforms lately? You weren’t the only one. In what we’re dubbing The Great Social Shutdown, early March saw Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn experience unscheduled outages, one after the other. It all started on Tuesday March 5th with Meta-owned platforms Facebook and Instagram going dark for several hours. This was followed by a widespread LinkedIn outage the next day, leaving millions of businesses across the globe scrambling to connect with their audience for most of the week. 

Increasing Outages and The Illusion of Ownership

Feel like these shutdowns are happening more often? You’re not going crazy. These outages are on the rise. Facebook went down for almost 6 hours in 2021 and there has been a rise in X (formerly Twitter) outages since Elon Musk took over. We are also seeing a rise in phishing scams targeting business owners on Facebook Business Manager which can result in complete lockout to your account and unauthorized charges to linked cards.

These outages are more than inconveniences; they are stark reminders of a fundamental truth in our digital age: marketing teams do not own their followers; the social media giants do. Whether you have 1,000 or 100,000 followers, your access to them, your ability to engage and market to them, is entirely at the mercy of platforms like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. Platforms that can be taken away all too easily and without warning. 

Many marketers consider their followers a digital asset, when in reality, our followers are no more than houses built on rented land. While this realization is downright unsettling, there is a solution. 

Building True Digital Assets

So, how do you ensure your connection with your audience isn’t severed by the next unexpected outage? The answer lies in building an asset which you own and have complete control over: an email list. Unlike followers on social media, an email list is a true asset. Email marketing is a direct line to your audience that no third party can take away from you. Your mailing list represents a relationship with your customers that is based on mutual interest and consent. You own this list, and with it, the power to reach out to your audience whenever you choose.

Leveraging Socials for Email Marketing

With the rise of social media, many businesses have let their email marketing fall to the wayside. So what do you do if your follower count is high, but your email list is non-existent? While your social profiles are not true assets, you can leverage them to gain email subscribers. 

The key is to provide value in a way that encourages your social media followers to join your mailing list. This could be through exclusive content, early access to products or sales, or valuable information that speaks directly to their needs and interests. 

Use your social media platforms to promote these offerings and make it clear that this extra value is only available via email communications. This not only secures a stronger relationship with your customers, but also transitions your social media followers into a true asset.

Nurturing Your Digital Relationships

Remember, just like in any relationship, your followers can choose to walk away at any time. It’s crucial to nurture and respect every lead, continuously providing value through your email communications. For product-based businesses, this could mean sneak peeks or preorders for your latest products or dishing out exclusive discount codes. For service-based businesses, consider sharing expert industry knowledge such as handy tips, tricks, checklists and advice. The goal is to maintain a relationship where both parties benefit, ensuring your audience remains engaged and loyal.

Ready to Take Control of Your Digital Assets? 

These recent social media outages are a wake-up call for businesses everywhere. Instead of relying too heavily on platforms we don’t control, we need to invest in email marketing as an owned and outright asset. Don’t know where to start? The Big Smoke has your back. We can help you nurture your mailing list and craft email journeys that resonate with your audience.

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