If your social media engagement is down, you’re not alone!
Social media is an amazing tool to reach new people. But never forget, social media is rented land.
Keep posting to your social channels, but also those social media channels to grow on real estate that you own.
This can include newsletters, blogs, digital communities, podcasts and more.
In this episode of Step UP Your Social, we talk about why this matters, and how you can use lead gen (short for lead generation) tools to start to move your audience from rented land on social media to real estate you actually own.
Listen to the full episode here or wherever you stream podcasts. And scroll down for a full episode transcript.
Full Episode Transcript
Social media engagement down for you? You’re not alone!
A new report from RivalIQ found that engagement rates are on the decline, across all industries, on all the major platforms
The only exception is TikTok (and accompanying Instagram Reels), but the government seems to be working itself into outlawing TikTok outright.
It kinda feels like doom and gloom for social media managers these days.
BUT… I’ve been hear this exact conversation for over a decade.
Once upon a time, brands could post on Facebook and reach loads of people. Over time, their reach went down even as their page likes went up.
Then they went down again. Then again.
Once upon a time, a brand could reliably reach close to 20% of their page followers with a post. Today that number is closer to 1-2%.
Think about that. You worked hard – HARD – to get 1000 followers on Facebook.
There was a time when your average post would be seen by 200 of them. Not perfect, but that’s a reach you can work with.
Today, that number could be in the LOW double digits.
Once upon a time, this was a Facebook specific issue. But these days, reach is dropping on Twitter. And it’s gotten outright brutal on Instagram.
You’ve probably heard the old adage – don’t build on rented land.
But that’s exactly what we’ve all been doing!
We’re working so hard to build an audience on social, but it’s not land that we own.
One day, your tweets are crushing it. The next day, a billionaire with an agenda buys Twitter and suddenly you find that your content just doesn’t have the same impact.
It’s rented land.
Maybe you have a big following on Instagram. But Instagram sees your younger brother hanging on TikTok, so they break their own platform into pieces trying to rebuild their own future.
You heard Adam Mosseri – the head of Instagram – say they were going to pivot to video. So you bought a new camera and took a course on video building. Outrage ensued and they pivoted yet again. Now we’re back to photos. Or is it Stories. Or maybe group DMs.
Whatever it is, it’s rented land.
So you might be asking yourself – are you saying I should delete my social channels?
Social still has a very important role in organizational growth.
What I am saying is that you shouldn’t let social media be the beginning and the end of your digital program.
You should build your following on social, but also use social to build an audience on real estate you own.
What are digital properties you can own?
Newsletter, podcasts, YouTube channels, digital communities and blogs.
Let’s break these down.
While your emails won’t ever get a 100% open rate, if you can get into people’s inboxes, then a social media algorithm change can’t get between you and your biggest supporters.
Does this mean you should buy email lists – THE OPPOSITE! The point here isn’t widespread growth, but to use email to build relationships with supporters who want to hear from you on an ongoing basis.
Once you’re in their inbox, you can keep them up to date on your work, let them know about new products, introduce them to your team… and of course throw in some calls to action.
This is owned digital real estate, and if you don’t already have an email list, you should start one today.
Podcasts and YouTube channels are places where people can subscribe to continue hearing from you. If you can build an audience who is excited about your content, sales or fundraising, or whatever your organizational goals are can follow.
Digital communities can include Facebook Groups, Discords, Slack Channels and the like.
Now I know I’m saying be careful about building on Facebook – it’s rented land. And that’s true. BUT in my experience, group content gets through the algorithm at far higher rates than content from pages.
That could change tomorrow.
The pro of a Facebook Group id that everyone on Facebook can easily join, and potentially see your content whenever they login – they don’t have to go looking for it.
The con is – that could change tomorrow.
If you have an audience that you think will follow you to Slack or Discord (or something comparable), it’s definitely worth considering.
The pro is – no algorithm. Everyone can see everything.
The con is – people have to deliberately check in to see anything.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. But hopefully that’s a helpful (quick!) breakdown to help you decide if one (or both) are right for you.
Blogs might not sound like owned land, but from an SEO standpoint, they definitely are!
SEO – or search engine optimization – is the ability for people to find you when they are searching Google.
If you invest time and resources into blogging today, you can potentially see dividends on that content for years to come. It won’t have the same kind of back and forth as some of these other channels we discussed, but it can be a way to bring in new supporters on an ongoing basis moving forward.
So what’s the best way to move people from rented land on social media to owned real estate on your other platforms – lead gen tools!
Lead gen – short for lead generation – is something valuable enough that someone in your potential audience will trade their email address for it. It can be a webinar, an eBook, a chapter of a book you’ve already written… or something much simpler.
If you go to my website, you can download a free Facebook Live Checklist. (It’s right in the footer if you want it.) It’s a quick checklist of things to consider before, during and after going live. A bunch of people have traded me their email address in exchange for that checklist.
I work in social media and digital marketing – if my lead gen tool was 5 things to look for when buying a used car, I’d be off-base.
Your lead gen tool should be developed around your ideal audience member. I know that my audience is interested in doing better live videos – I built my lead gen tool accordingly.
What’s something that would be valuable enough to your audience that they will trade you for an email address, but not so valuable as to cut into your bottom line?
If I was offering to run people’s Facebook Lives in exchange for their email, I’d be out of business. But once I put the checklist together, it doesn’t cost me anything to give it away.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, when she was running for President, gave away her personal Deep Dish recipe in exchange for supporter’s email addresses. It was simple, on brand and gave people a reason to connect with her. If they were on the fence about signing up for her list, this likely pushed a lot of folks over the edge.
HubSpot sells software to companies.
But in order to cultivate leads for their products, they give away a ton of cool stuff. I have personally used their email signature generator, their website auditor and their avatar builder. And guess what – I found them all on Google just looking for such tools. They helped me with their tools and in exchange, they can now email me and let me know about other cool projects they are working on.
Can I unsubscribe from their list? Of course!
But so long as they keep adding value to my inbox, rather than spam, why would I? I use the email signature I built with their help – for free – every single day. No reason not to keep an eye on the valuable new tools they are regularly rolling out.
While blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels can grow in many ways, the best way to move people from your social to your newsletter is not to ask nice. It’s to provide value. And a lead gen tool is a great way to do just that.
Need help coming up with a relevant lead gen tool for your business? Drop me an email at email@example.com – I LOVE working on such products.
While I have you, I also want to mention that I have a new newsletter – it’s call Free Digital Tools. I share 2 free digital tools every 2 weeks. I’ll be doing an issue soon on some of my favorite free HubSpot tools… and lots more. Learn more and subscribe today at freetools.digital.
Thanks for listening. Now head to stepupyoursocial.com today and download my free Facebook Live Checklist. Hope it’s helpful!