Your Favorite Social Media Network Is Dead… Now What?

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Imagine if right now, your favorite social network were completely unplugged. Would your marketing survive? Or, would it collapse like a house of cards, leaving you scrambling to rebuild hundreds of relationships elsewhere? While I’m not suggesting that Twitter or Facebook is about to go dark, there’s been an interesting history of change in social media since its inception, and it’s less than 20 years old.  Moving forward, the virtue of agility will prove most valuable as our reliance on the familiarity of web 2.0 is put to the test in a future no one can predict. Is your marketing pantry full in the event of a digital doomsday?social media panic

The reason I asked the question posed in the title, is because I don’t think we are ready for it. When our SEO increases and our Klout goes up, we revel in a job well done. It’s human nature to aim for benchmarks that have recently proven valuable. But while the status quo is wonderfully comforting, it dangerously lends to complacency. Think about the small businesses that were blindsided by Google’s Panda update or Facebook’s Edgerank update. With the flick of a switch, their wells of consistency completely dried up, leaving them bare and vulnerable to the competition. It’s a position no company should find itself in.

Perhaps you were fortunate enough to not be affected by Panda or Edgerank changes, but what about the countless changes and updates to come? Facebook and Google don’t exactly warn us before making a change. The reality is that any given day, your Facebook reach or search engine rankings could drop out of sight. Unable to find a footing, could your brand survive? Maybe, but maybe not.

I believe that thought provoking questions like these are great learning tools.

Scare tactics aside, they help us to analyze what we’re currently doing to see how to make it better. There’s always room for improvement. Through thorough analysis and participation, the path to success will be found, by us or by others- but it won’t be found in the same location. Over the next 20 years, social networks will come and go and advertising mediums will change. We can’t afford to be dependent on any one 3rd party for exposure.

To get the word far and wide, social media, email marketing, pay per click advertising, blogging and inbound marketing are all cornerstones. And while they each work well individually, together they form a fortress of protection. The analogy of a fortress is great because they surround what’s valuable with layers of defensive and offensive resources. Inherently, for lasting protection, they can’t have a missing wall or a weak spot. Would you consider your marketing a fortress? Can it protect against existential threats fighting for brand awareness and demand?

marketing fortressToday and tomorrow, the benefits of an evolutionary-by-design marketing mix will be compounded. This means exploring the new and revisiting the past. These actions will provide for the future today- so build out the Twitter following, start conversations on Facebook, create inforgraphics for Pinterest and always look to the horizon. But remember, marketing is much more than social media.  It’s a myriad of traditional channels, advertising, new media and developing technology enablers like Near Field Communication.a fortress is great because they surround what’s valuable with layers of defensive and offensive resources. Inherently, for lasting protection, they can’t have a missing wall or a weak spot. Would you consider your marketing a fortress? Can it protect against existential threats fighting for brand awareness and demand?

If done correctly, you’ll find that inopportune failure in one area just becomes opportunity in another. By hedging your bets, changes don’t have to be devastating. If your Myspace 1.0 group was the place to be and now it’s a ghosttown, it’s okay because you were prepared by leaving the light on at Facebook. If Facebook decides brands have to pony up for exposure, it’s okay because people want to visit and share your great content anyway. Perhaps you wisely saw the importance of Google+ before the next guy and claimed your territory.  To the thinkers go the spoils.

Shift around your resources to where they work best, dissect your failures and always stay plugged into the changes. You’ll be happy you did when technology throws you a digital curveball.

So what have you been doing to prepare for a digital doomsday? Tell me in the comments below. 

Image #1 via Flickr and Image #2 via Flickr

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  • Nobody should base their strategy on another business.

    Nice post Ryan!

    • Ryan Connors

      I agree 100% Jason thanks for reading

  • SpinLessPlates

    Hey Ryan.

    No marketing plan should based around just one strategy (which social media is). Every business should have 10-12 tested marketing strategies they use to drive enquiries and these should be a mix of tradition and inbound marketing.

    Cool post

    • Ryan Connors

      Yes Paul I agree social media certainly isn’t the silver bullet for a lack of a marketing plan.

  • Alexander Grabau

    It’s important to note that there are paying and non paying marketers that use social media. Buying compiled data and using the sites to maintain a business page are two very different forms of use and should be relied upon with different levels of trust.

    • Ryan Connors

      Are there any companies you find that are building a high level of trust via social?

      • Alexander Grabau

        That’s a great question. In short, I can’t think of one. There are many companies who are effectively defending their missteps and bolstering their weaknesses like BP, AMEX and BOA. Shortly after the novelty of having your provider available on social media wears off they become a more available target for complaints. Increased vulnerability in fragile situations like a bad economy. Trust is more difficult than exposure alone.

        • Ryan Connors

          What about companies like Old Spice? They did a tremendous job with Isaiah Mustafa with their viral videos and social media campaign. I think it built a lot of brand loyalty, affinity and trust in the brand that wasn’t doing so well before.

  • Ross Quintana

    Great post, I have been working on strategies for protection for a while. There are many ways. I am writing a post that should be out shortly with my advice. I think you have to be careful when investing time in a platform that can shift because it fits their strategy or users could migrate. There are ways to insulate yourself against such things and if you don’t you will have to throw out tons of time and energy invested.

    • Ryan Connors

      I’d love to check it out when it’s done Ross. It’s a very important topic in digital marketing.

  • Ugo

    Great article. This is why I find building your e-mail list very important

    • Ryan Connors

      Good point Ugo. It’s always good to control the means of communication.

  • I am very active on at least 4 social networks so if one goes down I have 3 others and am building a community via my blog. Having a self hosted blog is the best bet above all 🙂

    • Ryan Connors

      I agree Lisa having complete control over the blog/website is very important.