The Changing World of Digital Marketing
Social media and digital marketing are in a major upheaval at the moment. Influencers are being deplatformed, websites suddenly shut down, emails blocked.
How are you going to reach your followers if your accounts are blocked or shut down entirely? What if your email provider blocks your content. I wrote about this over a year ago but I didn’t imagine this would be how it would transpire.
It’s time to start thinking outside of the box if you’re going to survive.
- Build your email lists! I’ve preached this for a while now. Never did I think social media would blow up the way it is right now, but here we are. If you haven’t started building alternative means of communicating with your followers, do it now.
- Email Content - Be brief. Be cautious about how much content you put in your email blast to readers. Post a catchy title and a brief blurb and link them to your blog/website content. That way they can scroll through a smaller amount of content and tune into what interests them.
- Email Content - Watch your words. Email marketing companies are watching for content in eblasts that doesn’t suit their approved topic of conversation (community standards or guidelines). If you include brief snippets of content, they can’t really argue with (read censor) you.
- Use a reputable email service. Do not email straight from your email account! You’ll be blocked for sure if you do that. I’ve long been a fan of Constant Contact and MailChimp but I’ve got growing concerns with using them. I’ll do some research on alternatives and report back. Until then, be discerning about the content that’s in your eblast.
Website Hosting & Management
I’ve written about this as well. It’s important to have quality, reliable, fast hosting. Google especially likes that, which benefits your website rankings. Right now I’m not sure I really care what Google likes to be honest.
What worries me right now is that the tech firms have the ability to pull down websites. I’m not sure the smaller hosting companies will engage with this behavior, but I wouldn’t put it past the larger ones for a minute.
That said, I’m leery of the big hosting companies. As I write this, Parler was taken down from its platform and removed from the app stores. Other websites have been shut down as well.
If you’ve worked with me before, you know that I am not a fan of Go Daddy. They do a great job of marketing themselves, but they nickel and dime you to death for less than stellar performance in my opinion.
The first thing you need to do – really you should be doing this anyway – is to back up your website as frequently as you update it. Or basically back up the content you don’t want to lose. I work with a lot of small business websites and this usually doesn’t cross their minds.
Back up your data to a cloud service and to your local machine (select the email option). Don’t save to the server that the site is hosted on because if that’s gone, the back up is gone. Think about backing up your computer at home to disks that you store in a desk drawer. If the house burns down, you lose not only the computer, but the back ups as well. That came from a conversation with my mom…
The other thing that’s concerning to me right now is email. Gmail sees your email content. It’s all on their server and believe me they can and do see it. This is also true if you use email through your web hosting service. It’s on their servers and yes they can see it. Google, yes Google, “Gmail spying on your email”.
If you’re truly worried about censorship and being shut down, I would consider finding an alternative email service. My suggestion here would be to avoid Gmail and the other large hosting providers. Cybernews just posted an article on this very subject - Best Alternatives to Gmail to Protect Your Privacy
Also, do not host your email with the same provider that your website is on. If nothing more, if your website goes down because of a technical issue with the hosting provider, your email is down too. No ability to communicate with your clients. Never good.
A lot of influencers have added text messaging as a means to reach their followers. It’s either a short blurb or a link to their latest post and it’s proving to be highly effective. Gary V, Ed Mylett and others started doing this about a year ago. If they're doing it, it must be effective, right? It’s also a good communication alternative if your website and email are down. Another topic for me to do some digging into! I’ll report back.
Alternative Social Media Platforms
GAB.com: I’m checking this one out. I just downloaded their Dissenter Browser in addition to their app. Their server has been overwhelmed with new followers so it’s slow to respond. Give them some time to adjust.
Parler: They’ve been booted from the internet for the time being. CEO John Matze said that he didn’t know if they would return. “It could be never. We don’t know yet,” Matze said in an interview with the New York Post. They’ve filed lawsuits; we’ll wait and see.
Paper! I know it’s expensive and not as eco-friendly but think about going back to a printed newsletter and snail mail!
If you’re doubtful about what’s going on, I’ll leave you with this:
GoDaddy removed @ar15com from their servers without warning. They are now operating off of a backup site. AR15.com is a firearm community and gathering place for firearm enthusiasts of all types. Disclaimer: I have not dug into the content that is on their site. My point of mentioning this one is that they were taken down without notice or recourse. It could be your website too.
Amazon removed Parler from it’s hosting service; Apple and Google followed suit by removing them from their respective app stores.
MailChimp blocked the Virginia Citizens Defense League from putting out VA alerts to their subscribers.
One of my cousins tried to sign up for Gab. Google blocked the email confirmation to his gmail account. Gab had also previously been removed from the Google Play Store and rejected from the Apple App Store.
These are just the ones I’ve read about in the past couple of days; I’m sure there are plenty more. I’ve heard countless people say they’ve had posts removed from their Instagram stories and others who have been in Facebook jail. YouTube is also in the mix of removing content that it doesn’t approve (remember they’re owned by Google). It serves as a reminder to the power of Big Tech and the impact that it can have on what we see.
To this end, I do not support violent and hateful speech, period. I did not write this post to endorse platforms that do support it. I merely want to bring to your attention the situation at hand, how to avoid being deplatformed and how to reach your followers if you are. Big Tech has a lot of control over what we do and what we see. Do not ignore that. If you don’t believe me, watch the movie “The Social Dilemma”.
Be safe and be kind friends.