This may seem like a dumb question, but in reality, the answer may not be so clear.
Facebook wants to own you
Over recent years, it is clear that the strategy of social media platforms (I use Facebook as a case in point) has been to keep you on their sites and minimise the requirement to view content elsewhere. Their rationale is that while users are on their site, those users are delivering both data and opportunities the site owner can use to monetise the user activity. Part of this strategy is to make it easy for content marketers to host their content (Video, audio, quiz, blog post survey audio, images etc) on Facebook rather than elsewhere. But there is a payback for this “easy life”. That payment is loss of control. Every bit of content you put on Facebook (or any other social media platform) is owned and controlled by that platform.
And there is the Catch 22
Let’s face it, digital marketing relies on social media and search platforms. As a marketer, you need your message to be seen in the places people hang out, and in the modern world they hang out on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google. You need to have your content visible in these places. The trick is to use the platforms to promote your content, but don’t rely on them to host it! However, there are cases when this may not hold true. Sometimes you may be better off deciding not to use a particular channel.If you do take the decision to hosting all your marketing content on a platform like LinkedIn or Facebook, you need to be aware of the fact that the payment for this “free service” is their ownership and use of your content!
So what is the answer?
Once you have set your objectives and plan, digital marketing can be split into 2 areas:
- Your Messages/Content that define your brand
- The tools you use to promote these messages
The key to staying in control is to recognise where the various players fit into these roles and to use them appropriately. It is the first of these points that is key. As a simple rule of thumb
Whoever hosts your content owns and controls it
By making sure you own the platform where your content is hosted ensures that you control it. Usually, this will mean your own website.
There is always an exception
The one exception to this is video. Hosting video in a format that can be easily streamed is resource hungry, and usually hosting it yourself is not the best option. Best practice here is to host it on one of the streaming platforms (Probably Vimeo or Youtube – more on these next time) and then embed it into your own site. In these circumstances, the key to maintaining control is to ensure that you have copies of the video content locally. So if you edit the video online, make sure to download a copy of the final video. That way if there is an issue on the site hosting it, you can always go elsewhere!
Use social media/search to promote the content
With all your content all safely hosted on your own platform, you are then free to use the most appropriate tools available to promote that content to your market. In this scenario, re-posting content onto the various platforms is no problem, as if anything happens to compromise that content you can again, go elsewhere. However, your goal should always be to promote content that you host, and not content hosted on the social media platform.
Plus ça change…
The fact is that whilst marketing fundamentals remain pretty constant, the tools and the popularity of digital platforms change. Some die (remember these 10 failed Social Media sites!) and new platforms arise which may fit better with your marketing objectives. By ensuring that you stay in control of your content, you are free to make the best decisions for now and the future, independent of the platforms you use.