Who's Your Social Media Daddy

If you ask the folks over at New Patlz State University of New York they might say, Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook. According to this blog post about their social media ordeal …

On the evening of Wednesday, September 30, the SUNY New Paltz Facebook
Fan Page mysteriously disappeared.

But they were not alone, nor was what happened to them an isolated incident. There are pages of comments on Facebook talking about their Facebook page disappearing. Seems that on and around that day a lot of pages just disappeared and their owners all went through the same pain and agony trying to get back their pages. In some cases, they did but in many they did not.

Think about what this means. You’ve spent tons of money, time and effort building up a Facebook Fan Page and developed a real community. You’ve been patted on the back for figuring out how to drive real ROI by replacing paid channels like direct mail and email marketing with this new social media free communications channel. You’re a hero and your brand is growing as a result.

But what you may not be realizing is that your future is now firmly in another’s hands. Sure what happened to New Paltz was likely some kind of glitch and luckily could be repaired but what if it hadn’t been a glitch. What if Mark developed a gambling problem or decided he wanted a G5 for him and all his friends?

He’s got your brand by the B@lls. With the flip of switch he can take away your entire marketing program (for some all social media marketing brands). He holds the cards and you’re just happy to be allowed to play with them.

And it’s not just Facebook. Maybe they’re trying to escape the oil in the gulf or something but the FAIL WHALES seem to be swimming a lot more lately.

Ask yourself what happens when you go to log into your Twitter account and message your adoring fans only to receive this:

Screen shot 2010-06-25 at 2.27.28 PM

Ooops. Guess you won’t be telling your 10,000 fans about that killer happy hours special you were planning today to fill that quite empty bar in your restaurant. Hmmmm what’s a boy to do now?

I can’t tell you how many times I mention this scenario to clients and prospective clients and it is met with utter disbelief. As though it could never happen that Facebook, Twitter and the like could never fail or that they’d ever try and make the client pay for access to that database of fans and followers.

Seriously, as you move into your 2nd half of the year planning or maybe you’re gearing up for 2011 marketing planning… be sure you are developing a strategy to own your fan relationships vs renting them. If you’re not or your agency/social media consultants are not figuring out how to do that…then please call me using the widget below.

Yes, I’m only half kidding here. But seriously, this should be a HUGE priority for every brand that is trying to leverage social media and for those that are wondering what’s next — this is it. The future IMHO is about finding ways to own that fan relationship and relegating Facebook, Twitter and the like to what they are – outposts, channels and platforms.

So what do you think? Am I Chicken Little — is the sky really not falling or are you thinking the same thing? Let me know.

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 25+ year veteran of the sales & marketing industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and showing companies how to Sell Greatly, and turn conversations into customers. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital sales & marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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