Should I put more energy into building a following on social media, or a blog?
Okay, here comes what at first may sound like a totally dissatisfying answer: it depends.
The beauty of social media is that it’s like walking into a party. A really big party with no cover charge that someone else is throwing. Will it take some time and effort to find the right people at the party who are interested in you and to strike up some friendships that could be beneficial? Absolutely. But probably not as much time and effort as organizing your own party and inviting people to it – which, essentially, is what you’re doing when you try to build a following for your blog or website.
But here’s the fly in the ointment on social. You don’t own the relationships you build. The social platform owns them. If Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or whoever decides to adjust its algorithm and de-emphasize some criteria that lower the likelihood of your followers seeing your posts, your performance might suffer. Or, you’ll have to readjust your strategy to succeed under the new rules of the game. And the rules of the game are always changing.
While it’s generally harder to build a following for a blog, it does have its advantages. The biggest of which is that you own the relationship with your followers. Your posts will reach the people who follow or subscribe to you. You’ll also have greater flexibility in the type and length of content you share. And, because a blog can be tied to your website, you can extract richer data about the people who follow you and more easily redirect them to pages on your website.
Granted, it doesn’t have to be a binary choice. In fact, social can be a great tool for driving traffic to a blog site. Just as connecting people who visit your blog to your social media channels can help boost engagement there. But if you have limited resources and are trying to decide where to focus your efforts, or have to make some tough decisions about which direction makes more sense for your particular situation, here’s a way of thinking about it.
Pro social media:
- I’m interested in tapping into the largest possible audience with the least amount of effort
- A lot of people are already talking about the things that are important to my business
- I want frequent dialogue with my followers
- I want to make it as easy for my followers to share what they find great about my business
- I’m okay with not owning the relationship with my followers
- I don’t mind adjusting my social strategy when platforms change the rules of engagement
- I want to own the relationship with my followers
- I’m more interested in attracting a select group of people than appealing to the masses
- There aren’t a lot of discussions happening on social to tap into around my subject matter
- I want more freedom to control the type and length of my content
- I want to be able to extract more data about my followers
- The people I’m trying to reach aren’t all that active on social
So, while both social media and blogs have advantages and disadvantages – it’s all about finding what works for you, your business and your overall goals.