It is a question we hear a lot. Marketers call social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn rented land. In other words, you are renting space in the virtual world to sell your wares.
The problem with renting is you can lose a feature you count on, or the cost can go up at any time. Sometimes both happen, so you are paying more but getting less.
Of course, you don’t own these platforms. You have little control over what they do with their virtual real estate, but it’s more complicated than that. Sometimes you have to rent before you can own.
Why Do They Tell You to Own, Not Rent
Certainly, there is power in ownership, so they are not entirely wrong. It would be nice if the marketing world worked like that, but the rented property serves a purpose too. The problem is people apply the concept of rent or own too loosely and in situations where having control isn’t the point. It is not that cut and dried.
Let’s say Instagram decides to get rid of Reels. That would be a big problem but not an impossible one. If you are a marketer relying solely on Reels, that is an error in judgment. It has nothing to do with renting. Diversification is the number one rule of brand development.
They might also shake their finger at you and talk about how you shouldn’t rent if Instagram goes down for a day. You lost that day in your marketing campaign, but it could happen anywhere.
That’s like telling someone whose rented house burned down that they should have been a homeowner instead. A home can burn down whether you own it or not.
Sometimes Ownership Is Not an Option
As much as we would all like to own billion-dollar social media platforms, that’s just not the reality. Ownership is often ideal. There is no disputing that, but it’s impossible in some situations.
Let’s look at another example. Earlier this year, Meta announced Facebook would no longer carry podcasts. It is easy to look at that situation and see how owning your podcast would be beneficial. The problem isn’t the technology. The issue is relying solely on Facebook for your podcast. There are other options.
How about another overused fallacy: “Build it, and they will come.” The truth is, no, they won’t — not without some encouragement. There was a reason people hosted their podcasts on Facebook – that’s where they could find an audience.
Anyone can have a podcast; getting someone to listen is the trick. Even if you own the land, that doesn’t mean people will come to visit you there.
The question isn’t rent or own; you go where the audience is unless you can figure out a way to get them to come to you.
Rent or Own: Yes
Most brands own virtual real estate. They own their domain name and a website. They own the content they produce, such as videos and blogs. But you can’t rely solely on your website any more than you can on Facebook podcasts or Instagram Reels.
You must use plugins and social media sites for a well-rounded marketing plan. Diversity is the key to success in brand wars. Consider some tips on diversification.
What Does it Mean to Diversify?
First, what are we talking about when we say diversify your marketing efforts? It means:
- Taking an omnichannel approach that includes multiple platforms.
- Cross-pollinating across the channels. They should all play off each other.
- Using metrics to find out what works and what doesn’t
By diversifying your marketing, you spread the risk across multiple platforms so you survive if one fails you.
Don’t Go With the Trends
It is easy to fall into the trend cycle, but few trends survive long-term. So go with what is tried and true first, and then if you have the bandwidth, slip in a fun trend or two.
Build From the Inside Out
The ultimate goal is to drive traffic to your website. You want them to come to the place you own, so focus on it first. Make sure your website is engaging and user-friendly. Once they are there, you want them to stay awhile and come back again. The home base for your brand is your website, so make that the place to be.
Once you manage things on the home front, start looking at rental properties. Social media serves one critical purpose for your brand, generating online line traffic. It is difficult to do without social media.
The trick is to be prepared for the hiccups that come with renting. Don’t rely heavily on one feature and then hope they don’t yank the rug out. You should be active on multiple platforms and make use of the features on each.
Focus on Organic and Paid Content
Budget for paid ads on your website and social media, especially if you are marketing a new product or event. However, you should also generate organic traffic if you utilize SEO well. Work towards long-term organic growth so you can rely less on paid content.
The organization will give you time to fine-tune your diversification efforts. Building marketing campaigns should follow a basic pattern:
- Determine your goals
- Create a strategy to meet them
- Build your campaign based on the strategy
- Make adjustments as needed
Stay true to that pattern, and it will pay off for you.
Rent or own? The truth is you should do both. Even if you get to the point where your website is pulling in traffic without help from rental properties, things can change fast. So diversifying your efforts will protect you in the long run.
If you are struggling with diversifying, let us help. Connect with our team and find out what we can do to help your diversity and make the property you own matter more.