After attending the Social Media Marketing World 2017 event in San Diego, my head was bustling with ideas, collaborations and epiphanies. About data, about digital campaigns, about strategy, about social media community size.

Not necessarily from the content being explicitly spoken about, but also the implied trends and conversations with the people on the ground.

One trend has become very clear in this every changing social media landscape: owning your data online is EVERYTHING. Furthermore, social media community size really isn’t a success factor anymore.

Owning your data, what’s the big deal?

Owning data is more than just your ownership of an email list. It’s ownership of the landing pages you are sending people to so you have ability to retarget, it’s ownership of the audience you are marketing to so you can communicate again and again. You get the picture.

The problem is that whilst marketers are capable in terms of getting the word out, too many are focussing on the wrong end game. Sure, the message this one time is important, but how are you going to capture their contact information for future marketing. If they were interested enough to interact with you this time, surely they’d be open to hearing from you again, right?

When it really comes down to it, if you are annoying the 2% who complain about a campaign but you are getting 100 other emails to those two complaints then you are still getting major ROI. I mean, anyone who signs up for your email list is already in your corner. If they’ve actively entered in there contact details, then they either a) like what you are offering b) have already purchased what you are offering c) are likely to refer what you are offering to someone else.

Great. You get it now. Owning your data is oober important.

Wait, why doesn’t social media community size matter?

Now for the point about social media community size. I was speaking to a customer who had hired an agency and paid them $10,000 to generate likes on their Facebook page. They got 300 likes for this cost. The return? The ability to talk to about 2% of them per organic post. In other words, another 6 people are able to hear from them without them having to pay for it. Facebook community size used to be a big factor in who heard from you, and was easier to get the word out than building an email list! However, times have changed.

The worst part is that you don’t actually own any of the audience data of your community. If someone likes your Facebook Page, you have no way really of personally reaching out to them (easily/in a non-creepy way). So what do you do? You advertise to them through Facebook Ads. Every time you want to reach your full audience you need to pay. You are bound by the platform. The same thing happens when you grow your Instagram following. Of course, a bigger community size leads to more people seeing your message and a cheaper cost to get more views. However, the fact that with an email list you can communicate to 100% of people on that list shows that you are getting the bad end of it with other advertising platforms. Note, whilst not everyone opens, 20%+ open rate is far higher than Facebook.

What to do

My tips on getting the most out of your social media marketing this year is:

  1. Drive Traffic to Landing Pages you own (you can track the data yourself, you can retarget from there)
  2. Whenever possible, aim to collect details from visitors (you can then market to them all, you can then do re-marketing to interested users, your funnel becomes more precise)
  3. Stop aiming for likes. Make sure you’re message has cut through and a return! Social media community size doesn’t matter anymore.


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