Vine shut down earlier this year.
Twitter has been on shaky ground for a while, and it may end up in the hands of Google, who appears to be buying it up in pieces. Who knows what will happen after that?
Instagram seems well-positioned to edge out Snapchat.
Some even call Google+ a failure (I laugh at them, because if you aren’t using Google+, your SEO probably isn’t as good as it could be – though as a social network it is partially a failure).
This is just what’s happening right now, never mind the collapse of MySpace, LiveJournal, Blogger, and other once popular social networks from the past (I say “collapse”, because these sites still exist – they haven’t shut down, but they aren’t prominent anymore either).
So, how can you safeguard against all these rapid changes? What can you do to protect yourself against potential threats and risks? How can you capture your followers before you lose them for good? Read on.
Build Your Website & Email List
What I am going to talk about, at least briefly, is why.
The reason you need a website is because it’s a platform you control. If you keep making domain and web hosting fees, it will be yours to keep. You get to decide what you do with it (within reason), and no one else will tell you what you can and can’t do.
Don’t get me wrong – building out your website takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. You’re not going to see a ton of traffic bombard it the moment you hit “publish” unless you already have a fan base.
But rest assured social networks took time to build too. Right now, many hopeful entrepreneurs and teams are trying to raise awareness for their new social network idea.
So, don’t worry about the time it takes to build. Just keep at it. A little bit of effort on a weekly or monthly basis is all it takes, and traffic will trend upwards over time as your career grows. But you will have to keep at it.
Will your website ever be as huge as Facebook? Probably not. But Facebook also isn’t interested in helping you generate sales or traffic, despite what you may have heard. They want to keep people on their platform. It’s easier to achieve your goals using property you own.
As for your email list, if you can get people to give you their email address, you can stay in touch with them regardless of what happens to your favorite social networks. If Twitter goes the way of the dinosaur, but you put effort into capturing the email addresses of your social followers, you could still communicate with them.
Just like your website, your email list is yours to keep and you can do what you want with it (assuming the people on your list opted in to be a part of it). Again, that’s not the case with social networks.
Stick To The Tried & True Social Media Sites
I will never tell anyone to dedicate themselves to maintaining a presence on dozens, or even half a dozen social networks. That’s madness!
I think the best plan is to focus on two or three networks and to excel at them. There’s no point in setting up accounts in places you have no way of regularly showing up on.
There’s just one problem – this is getting harder for musicians.
What are the essential social networks for musicians? Well, that depends on who you ask. But the following six have become staples for many artists:
- YouTube (Google said they were decoupling it from Google+, but it’s weird how this works – the profile you create for YouTube is still essentially a Google+ profile)
You could probably get away with eliminating Twitter and SoundCloud these days, but that still leaves you with four networks to create content for and keep tabs on. You must engage your audience too.
One way to solve this problem is by repurposing content. If you create a video for YouTube, you can also upload it to Facebook (video is huge on Facebook right now, particularly live video). That video could be cut into chunks and posted to Instagram.
I know the importance of sharing different content on different networks. You want to reward your followers for connecting with you where they want to connect with you.
If you repurpose the right way, you’ll still be serving up good, unique content for each platform.
But let me get back to the essence of the issue.
These sites may change over time. People are just going to keep flocking to the latest, greatest thing. Keeping up with these changes isn’t always easy. But most of your effort (70 to 80%) should be put into sites that are tried and true.
But don’t worry, if you want to experiment or create a presence elsewhere, I have some tips for you.
Don’t Overlook Secondary Options For Every Social Network
For every Twitter, there’s a Plurk. For every YouTube, there’s a Vimeo. Instagram? Flickr.
I’m not suggesting you maintain an active presence on every social network. It’s a good idea to register your artist or band with every network, in case you ever need it, but being active on each of them is a different endeavor entirely. Frankly, I can’t see you benefiting much from that anyway.
But it’s good to be aware of what’s out there. If Twitter is your jam, but it shuts down, you’ll be happy to know there are alternatives. There’s always the possibility that users won’t want a replacement and will refuse to adopt other platforms, but based on usage, that seems unlikely.
As a student of effective online marketing, I’m always researching what tools are out there. I’m constantly thinking about how to syndicate and distribute my content better and more efficiently.
And I’ve learned that getting it out to more places isn’t always better. Getting it to the right places is. That’s why I stick to the tried and true while experimenting with other sites.
Instagram, for instance, allows you to cross-post your images and videos to places like Flickr, VK, Ameba, and OK.ru. That’s handy if you want to appear in places you wouldn’t otherwise.
I think entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk have essentially proven that regardless of the social network, if you put the effort in, you can connect with people and increase your following. That’s good to know in case it looks like your favorite social network is about to shut down.
There are other great cross-posting strategies too. For instance, if you’re using WordPress, the Jetpack plugin has a “Publicize” feature that allows you to distribute your blog posts to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ (hmm…), LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Path automatically. Blog2Social is another one of my favorite plugins, because it gets your posts out to even more places (like XING, Pinterest, Flickr, Medium, Torial, Diigo, Delicious, Reddit, and so on).
|You’ve only read some of this guide.|