For many creators and brands, social media is now the main medium of communication to fans and customers. Social media platforms are perfect channels for building and growing an audience. However, reaching them, keeping them engaged, and building a trusting relationship with them is getting more difficult on the big social media platforms. On these platforms, the timelines of your fans are oversaturated with content and advertisements, making it more challenging to reach your hard-earned fanbase. Because social media platforms control how and when you reach your fans, creators and brands are having a hard time monetizing their audience on these platforms. To become independent from the big social platforms, you must start owning your channels and your fans' data, but how can this be accomplished?
The conversation about direct-to-fan marketing has completely shifted in the last year. Social media platforms are changing rapidly as they evolve their business models. It’s getting harder and harder to reach fans organically on social media because of this. Social media will always be an important tool for growing and engaging your audience, but if you want to be able to fully control your relationships with fans and earn more money, you need to consider a different direct-to-fan marketing approach. Let’s talk about why you should own fan data.
Social Media Platforms Are No Longer Social
Social media platforms have long passed the point of actually being social. Most people’s social media feeds are filled with filler content in the form of viral videos or news and they no longer see content from friends with whom they can engage. Social media is no longer personal, and because of this, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for creators to build meaningful relationships with followers. But these meaningful relationships with fans are essential to running a sustainable business as a content creator.
You need to be able to reach 100% of your fanbase at all times, but with social media today, that’s nearly impossible. Organic reach — the percentage of people you reach organically with a post — is decreasing every year as social media platforms increasingly rank promoted content higher in their users’ timelines. It’s interesting to see that people are fed up with this changing ecosystem and are looking for a more personal experience on platforms like Snapchat, and this is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. These types of channels put a lot more emphasis on giving users the personal social experience they are looking for. These channels have a much higher value for creators and brands because fans and customers are no longer in an environment where everything looks like an advertisement. You need them to care about you, and choosing the right communication channels can help you achieve this.
Focus On Your Owned Audience
The way creators and brands approach digital marketing nowadays has changed, with a significant shift towards the goal of growing a brand’s owned audience. Your owned audience refers to the fans who are present on the company’s owned channels like their website, app, or email list. Your Instagram followers are not part of your owned audience because you don’t own the fan data, instead, Instagram does. This means that Instagram controls how you can engage your fans and you don’t, which is inconvenient. You don’t “own” your followers on third-party social platforms, and that means that even if you build a large following, there’s nothing that will keep them with you forever. You don’t have the names, email addresses, phone numbers, and more of your fans because the social media companies keep that data for themselves to sell to advertisers. Click here to start with Fangage, where you collect this data yourself - converting followers to fans - and start reaching signed-up fans directly via text message and email. And as these platforms are constantly stuffed with content and ads, and you’re forced to pay more to reach your fans, it becomes harder to organically build meaningful relationships with your fans.
Use This Strategy to Grow Your Owned Audience
In his 2016 paper “Owning Your Audience”, Ryan Hall suggests a strategy to grow your owned audience in two ways:
- Inside-out: Focus on building channels that grow your owned audiences and use fan data to benefit your social strategy through custom advertising audiences.
- Outside-In: Use your social channels to initiate and cultivate relationships with fans, but actively funnel fans to your own channels where you own the relationship with them — and their information.
Many creators and brands struggle to improve their engagement rates on social media, and that’s because social media platforms make it hard for them to reach their fans unless they put money into an ad spend. But there are other ways to reach your fans before you invest time and money in an ad.
The inside-out approach is an interesting one for all creators and brands because when you own the marketing channel, you have more power over how and when you reach people organically, which is of incalculable value. Consider email lists, which are often overlooked by creators and brands worldwide. An email audience is one that you can reach directly, and often bringing in more sales and higher conversion rates than social media platforms. This means that when you grow your own audience on these types of channels, you’re gathering valuable fan data and reaching more fans at the same time. It’s a win-win situation.
Get Fangage free to easily build up your email list and directly reach and engage with fans without interference from any 3rd party.
A combination with the outside-in approach is most favorable though. Even though social media platforms are becoming increasingly difficult landscapes to build trusting and profitable fan relationships on, you can still use them to your advantage by building an audience there and converting them to your owned audience. The outside-in approach focuses on using social media to build and grow a fanbase and use them to funnel fans to your own channels where you control and own the fan relationship and their data. An example of this would be to promote your Fangage website on Instagram or your email list on LinkedIn. You can perfectly incentivize fans to join your owned channel by hosting giveaways or contests. If you successfully funnel fans to your own channels you will get great opportunities to reach fans, build a more personal relationship with them and eventually make revenue. The fans who sign up for your own channels tend to also be your brand’s most loyal and profitable fans, so being able to reach them directly is valuable. While acquisition across all channels is important, a social media follower simply doesn’t have the same value as an email address or phone number, especially since with Fangage you’re able to send mass messages directly instead of sending out a post hoping to reach a few percent of your total followers. Promoting yourself on social media is like putting up a billboard on a highway that you’re not even sure your fans will notice. With emails or text messages, on the other hand, you’re reaching fans who have already shown an interest in you and asked for updates. Your conversion and click-through rates will increase dramatically with this change in approach.
Having an owned audience has great value and companies are recognizing it. Fangage, for instance, allows creators access to data and the possibility to engage with their core fanbase from their own all-in-one fully branded website. Fangage can help book great results because they can share any form of content or early access on their own website and collect fan data when fans use the content. The fans, on the other hand, get a first-hand fan experience and this helps creators to turn fans into superfans. Interested in how Fangage could work as a website to monetize fans for creators? Join 3000+ creators today, and create your own Fangage website with your domain name for free here.