Yesterday’s delightful technology crashes with Google Talk and Twitter should serve as a stark reminder and warning to everyone, a point that I reiterate all the time (and shall do so again now):
You own nothing in social media.
That Facebook Page? That Twitter profile? That Google Talk 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, fail-able 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.
If yesterday left you feeling a bit uncomfortable with the fragile, transient state of your social media presence, I will suggest this very basic advice: start building a mailing 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, 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.
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 list as a social media insurance policy today.
Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts
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