There was a day when personal websites and email were the tools used to post about your life and business. For a few moments, I would like the voice in your head to hear my 3 arguments why I recommend Websites over Social Media.
Websites [always] offer the same exact features Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Myspace do. (Yes, I said Myspace)
Pre Facebook, I started a video game blog that featured some influential video game personalities. The blog was created with Blogger and was ran by TexasChula (a friend from Xbox 360 friends list) and myself.
The blog gave us the ability to upload images, video, audio and a way for visitors to leave comments. We were also able to monetize our site by asking people who enjoyed our content to leave donations. (Over our 9-month run, we may have made only $250. That $250 showed us that we were producing content that people enjoyed and would pay for.) The best feature of all was the email notifications. When we created a blog post on our website, visitors were able to get email notifications to their email.
While running this blog, the smartphone era was not here yet. There were no apps to download nor app notifications. If you were truly interested in something, you had to subscribe and/or go to your browser and type in www.whatiminterestedin.com.
We have traded Image uploading from our own websites to uploading to Instagram, our text content from our own website to Facebook and Twitter and subscribing to our websites for likes and shares.
I guess, what I am saying is… when it comes to social media, what features do you have today that was not already available to you Pre Facebook?
Social media is crowded. (This is good and may not be so good)
Social media has EVERYONE on it. This is awesome for folks that want to speak to people at scale. This is good for companies and brands, however, social media provides content that the user is interested in. This means that if I enjoy @greeneyesgoldsoul Instagram feed and I visit and interact with it on a regular basis, Instagram is going to send me more recommendations with people like her in my feed. No matter if its Ad-based or recommended when I click the follow button.
Well Kevin, what is wrong with that? I enjoy Courtney’s content because I know her and she is from the H. #texas. I do not want to be recommended by other people that IG feels I may be interested in.
Thank the Lord, Courtney has a website and an email list that allows me to consume her content on her website where I do not have to be consumed with Instagrams algorithms on what it thinks I may want to see next. As this works in my favor, it also works for her. Because her website is built on WordPress, she controls every aspect of her site. No algorithms, no unwanted ads no competition.
Social media has a lot of awesome features. Filters, hashtags, Direct Message (DM), Video and Audio, etc. As a matter of fact, it’s in their best interests to continue to make these features so that we all continue to be interested in using their platforms.
What happens when and if your favorite social media platform goes away? Myspace played a very big role from 2004 – 2010. It was so popular that it even surpassed Google as the most visited website in the USA in 2006. Vine had 200 million active users from 2013 – 2016. This was a project that Twitter acquired by the way. (Please take note that Vine lifespan was shorter than Myspaces. I think this is interesting.) Google+. I am not even going to speak on Google+.
If Instagram was to go away or even be fully merged with Facebook… you would need to restructure the whole way you interact with your audience. Maybe that was little too extreme. Our posts no longer show up in chronological order. Meaning that, when you post something today, I may not see it for days later. We had no say so in this matter. We have no control over how social media displays OUR content.
However, you can take control over this matter. Start a website. Better yet, start a website with WordPress. You control your content and the way it goes out. WordPress has thousands of integrations. This means you can post your content on your website and share it in any way you’d like. Email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and even in your friends DM.
This message is not meant to bash social media by any means. I believe social media is a tool in the toolbox that can be used to get your message out and should be considered to be used as much. As a web designer, I see many people build full brands only using Facebook and Instagram. While these are good tools to share your message, they only get yours so far. Facebook is good to use in some cases that Twitter is not. Viewers on Youtube interact differently than content on Instagram. Social media tools are no different than a flat head screwdriver compared to a hammer.
Build your content on something you can control and use the best tool to get the message out.