Your social media insurance policy

Facebook is making life increasingly pay-to-play for marketers.
Google+ rolls out ads.
Twitter adds promoted accounts to the timeline.
LinkedIn rolls out sponsored posts.
Instagram rolls out ads.
Pinterest rolls out promoted pins.

Seeing a trend here? You should be. The social networks, having acquired their audiences, are now seeking to monetize their audiences, and if you don’t have wheelbarrows full of money to bring to the table, your seat at the table will be given to someone else who does. That’s life, and that’s entirely within their rights.

Repeat this maxim frequently: You own nothing in social media.

That Facebook Page? That Twitter profile? That Google+ account? You own none of it. Zero. Nada. These services are not public utilities. They are not endowed rights. They are private companies that provide fallible, owned services to us and in most cases, they do so at little cost to us. As such they can vanish at any time, temporarily or permanently, and we have little to no recourse. All of the hours and money you’ve invested in that Page, profile, or account can evaporate instantly. Ask anyone who dumped $50,000 into their MySpace profile how they feel about it now.

If all of the recent changes are making you feel uncomfortable about your social media future, I will suggest this very basic advice: you need a social media insurance policy. You need something that will future-proof you, that will provide you connectivity to your audience in case of failure, or worse, in case your favorite social network becomes too successful for you. That social media insurance policy is your email list. Start building an email list now from your social media audience. Encourage your followers / friends / fans / connections to sign up for your mailing list and then send them reminders via email of why you’re connected with them.

When the day comes that your favorite social media service sunsets, kicks you off, prices you out of the game, or just flat out fails at a mission critical time, you can take comfort in being able to hit the send button and circumvent the social system failure.

Buffer

Put a reminder on your calendar to ask every week, once a week, for your various audiences to subscribe to your mailing list. Give them good reason to by publishing an interesting email to them, but start building your email list as a social media insurance policy today. It’s the only thing you truly own, it’s the only thing that will help you stay in touch as you join new networks, and it’s the only thing that will let you get back in touch with your fans once your favorite social network decides you’re not wealthy enough for it any more.


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ICYMI: LinkedIn for Businesses and Brands Webinar

If you missed it yesterday, I had a chance thanks to SHIFT and Vocus to do a webinar on LinkedIn for Businesses and Brands. It was a lot of fun and I thank the nearly 2,000 people who signed up for it – talk about a packed house. If you missed it, were unable to stay for all of it, or the audio sounded like I was on a Starfleet Deep Space star base near the entrance of a wormhole, then I’m pleased to let you know that the recording is available in glorious high-fidelity video with an associated MP3.

Linkedin Webinar - YouTube
Click to go to the landing page where I ask you to fill out a form

Enjoy it, and for those who left such positive feedback, thank you for your kind words.


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How to know if Pinterest is going to work for your business

One of the most popular questions I’m asked is whether Pinterest is right for a particular business. Here are three easy tests to make this determination, assuming you’re not active on Pinterest right now.

1. Check the Find Friends feature.

Find Friends

Assuming you’ve got a Twitter account for your business, see how many people who you’re connected to on Twitter are also on Pinterest. If it’s more than a handful, then Pinterest might be worth trying out.

2. Register your website with Pinterest analytics.

Pinterest

Once you register (it’s free), you’ll be able to see what activity Pinterest is driving to your website even without effort on your part. If it’s more than zero activity, then Pinterest might be worth trying out.

3. Look in Google Analytics.

Audience Overview - Google Analytics

Set up a custom segment to look for traffic coming in from Pinterest.com or the Pinterest short URL, Pin.st. Again, if it’s more than zero, then Pinterest might be worth trying out.

The logic behind these three tests is that if there’s already any amount of activity coming from Pinterest with no effort on your part, then your brand’s audience may be there and doing stuff on your behalf, unasked. Your next step is to get active on Pinterest and see if those few embers and sparks can be fanned into a fire.


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