This week, Twitter was hammered by a DOS (denial of service) attack. I have no idea what that means, other than it’s some kind of server attack that’ll make your site go down.
So as part of this attack, Twitter was down for some time. If you could get on Twitter, tweets that seemed to go through didn’t actually appear in your follower’s timelines for hours.
No biggie, right? A minor inconvenience, not being able to use the service.
But what if your whole communications platform, your entire social media strategy, was based on Twitter? You’d have been SOL, to say the least, while Twitter was under attack.
You must never, ever rely on one service to get your message out.
Use Twitter? Great – it’s a fun platform for engaging readers, and if you’re interesting it’ll bring your site click-through visitors. But you shouldn’t be using JUST Twitter (or any other service) to communicate with your customers, readers or clients.
Get a Facebook fan page (look at the Fan Page widget I’ve installed here – slick, eh? Click through to join me on Facebook). By all means, start collecting email subscribers so you can communicate with them directly (my subscription box pops up on your first visit here, and is in the upper right too – subscribe to get an email when there are new blog posts). Encourage RSS subscriptions (click here to subscribe to this blog).
When something borks, you can reach your fans, friends and subscribers through another channel.
Social media sucks when it’s all you’ve got. 400,000 Twitter followers doesn’t mean jack if you can’t reach them when Twitter is down.
(I’m picking on Twitter here, but this applies for any social networking platform. Facebook fan pages with 5k fans suck when Facebook is down. And so on).
The goal with social media isn’t just to amass large numbers of subscribers. (If they’re untargeted subscribers, perhaps people who are just following you so that you follow them back, they’re pretty much worthless anyway).
No, what you need to do with social media is attract people interested in you, in your niche and then funnel them into other channels, other places, where you can reach them.
Again, you want blog readers, email subscribers from your social media friends. Get them out of the social network and into your funnel!
(This will happen naturally when you offer superior content and are a news maker (or even “reporter”) in your market).
Keep in mind too that people prefer different methods of communication. Person A might love email and abhor Facebook, have a Twitter account but never use it and be a casual RSS reader. Person B could never check their email, RSS feeds or Twitter but be a rabid Facebook user.
You job is to be in contact with both Person A and Person B. Your job is to connect with your potential customers, clients, reader, subscribers in whatever medium or platform they choose. You need to be where they are. You need to be right there in front of them whenever they open up their favorite app or web address to see what’s happening.
Finally, there’s the issue with where you’re hosting your content – that “Buy Now” button or affiliate link.
For the sake of God’s green earth, GET YOUR OWN DOMAIN!
Relying on Squidoo, Hubpages, Facebook, WetPaint, whoever to host your “money page” is internet markeitng SUICIDE.
Sites change their terms of service (Squidoo just did recently). Your page can get banned. The service might go down. The service might run out of money and die. Some asshat competitor might report you (even when you didn’t do anything wrong) and get your account deleted. The service might decide to change their design or layout and it might kill your conversions.
When (not if, WHEN) any of these happen, those pages you worked so hard on, that you are earning from, are GONE. And you’re not earning anything.
(Yes, one should still use external sites to build links to your main domain. Just don’t make your “money page” anywhere but on your own domain).
So, to recap, social media sucks if:
- If it’s your only method of communication with folks in your niche
- You’re not funneling social media friends to other channels
- It’s where you host your “money page”
Social media is awesome if:
- It’s one of many methods for you to reach your subscribers, customers and fans
- You’re using it to bring in new subscribers, customers and fans into your marketing funnel
- You’re using it to boost the link popularity of domains you own
(We talk more about this stuff inside Crowd Mountain – you can get in for $1 right now).
Reassess your social media strategy to ensure you’re using it as an adjunct to your marketing plan, and not a crutch.