In the last decade, we’ve put an enormous amount of money and effort into it. We made it big together, and created a worldwide success: a killer medium unmatched in its target audience and demographics. We should definitely be proud, and we should be allowed to call it our digital property. Along the way, we forgot to monetize it: our social media.
All across the world, private enterprises have invested billions to gain followers on social media and build their own audience, to great success. Perhaps we can call it what it really is: an excessive success. So much content was posted and so many followers recruited, that we are now facing an overabundance of content. As a result, publishing on social media is no longer a guaranteed way to reach your followers!
Social media has become traditional media
Don’t fret, that’s a good thing. It gives media outlets the opportunity to offer an expensive product: advertising. If you haven’t already realized, it’s an opportunity that is being fully utilized. That is how we pay for something that we created ourselves, because let’s be honest: at first, social media was not more than empty forums or DIY media that required us to provide the content and audience on our own.
Together, both companies and individuals made social media big and were offered the opportunity to develop it like traditional mass media, advertising to reach a target audience. Our social media accounts provided the fuel for the engine that’s now revving at full speed in 2018. With enormous amounts of consumer data, social media networks are offering advertisers targeted options that traditional media outlets can only dream of.
Our digital property is being exploited by others
Facebook earned a staggering 27 billion dollars in 2016 thanks to advertising sales. This raises a question whether it is fair that Facebook earns so much off the content, data and audience provided solely by consumers.
Take one of the worlds most popular brands. Over the past several years, over 100 million users have followed Coca-Cola on Facebook. The soft-drink company didn’t achieve that volume without making an effort. To maintain such a high level of consumer awareness that nearly every Facebook user likely knows or has even tried Coca Cola, and has possibly even formed a positive opinion enough to “like” Coke, the company devoted millions to advertising campaigns. Brand awareness, value, fame, quality advertisements, and consumer interaction bought those 100 million followers. While Facebook sold those followers as a target audience to hundreds of advertisers, Coca-Cola had to pay in order to reach them.
“In our blind admiration, we forget that it was a team effort. That the followers that we recruited with our content and data that they leave behind are also our digital ‘properties’.”
We forgot to demand our fair share
We think of Facebook and other popular social networks as amazing facets of our society, and we praise their founders as visionaries. In our blind admiration, we forget that it was a team effort. That the followers that we recruited with our content and data that they leave behind are also our digital ‘properties’.”
We have forgotten to demand our fair share, and I fear it is already too late to do so. The world is divided, and Facebook rules. Apart from that: we are marketers, not professors in ethics. Wouldn’t we do the same as Zuckerberg if we were in his shoes? Perhaps. Even without our fair share, we already benefit from the reach that social media tries selling back to us. After all, social media gives us something in return, otherwise consumers would not spend so much time using social media, and we wouldn’t be advertising with them.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t look for ways to better monetize our digital property. We can find solutions that harness the power of social media, without incurring unnecessary costs for content promotion.
This is how to monetize YOUR digital property!
For example, stop purchasing expensive Facebook advertisements and instead encourage your followers to share your posts. There’s an enormous chance that a large number of people are willing to share your content as an ambassador of your brand, although you may try offering a reward for their efforts.
Imagine that Coca-Cola asked all of its 100 million followers to become a brand ambassador, by sharing Coca-Cola’s Facebook posts for a certain time, in exchange for exclusive content, like a downloadable wallpaper, or a coupon for a free soda. These ambassadors can complete this task with little to no effort, allowing Coke to share posts automatically to their Facebook wall. Just imagine only 1% of Coke’s followers accept this offer.
That scenario gives over one million people willing to share Coke’s marketing posts by default, at little cost to Coke themselves. Since the average American Facebook user has ~155 friends, this strategy gives Coke a reach of 155 million users per post, more than even their current bank of followers. Consider the following:
Posts from Facebook friends have a higher chance of appearing on your timeline compared to posts of companies you follow
# of reshares is not included in this 155 million figure
word-of-mouth has the highest influence when it comes down to their buying decisions according to 74% of consumers (source: Ogilvy/Google/TNS)
This is possible with a tool a fraction of the cost compared to the advertising budget necessary to reach the same number of people organically through traditional ad campaigns, and you’ve directly involved your ambassadors in marketing activities and rewards, instead of Facebook (whom you’ve already rewarded with your audience, content and data).
Introducing PostSpeaker: the social sharing tool that allows you to automatically post messages on the social media accounts of your ambassadors. We developed PostSpeaker to give back the ability to monetize your digital property.