social media content

So who owns your social media content?

All that hard work you have created for your social media content isn’t actually yours to own. Sorry.

This may seem incredulous to many. “Of course it’s mine, what are you going on about, you silly woman!” Sorry, it’s not, if you posted it onto social media.

Any social media content on social media platforms belongs to the platform. Tweets belong to X (formerly known as Twitter). Facebook updates and Instagram images belong to Facebook. LinkedIn newsletter content belongs to LinkedIn. Tiktok videos belong to Tiktok.

Now’s the time to create social media content

Many people have jumped on the social media content wagon by forming their businesses within social media groups. This, of course, has many advantages.

It is where the majority of their friends, followers or customers hang out. Not only can these people be found there easily and efficiently, they are comfortable on this platform. This is where they are happy to arrive, engage, and take the action you want them to do.

Social media has been a boom to many businesses (those who ‘do’ it right, that is). This is where proper social interaction takes place: getting other people to know, like and trust you before you tell them what your business does.

Many a fantastic social relationship has been created through social media content. Saying stuff like stories, observations, proclamations, show and tell, the latest news, anything which may be interesting to your audience you have accrued there.

The best place to be to get business?

For a while, things seemed to good to be true. Here was a cost-effective platform to communicate with potential customers, find advocates and affiliates, and catch up with old acquaintances to persuade them to return to the fold.

OK, it was sometimes necessary to do battle with the algorithms. Especially for things like reach (getting in front of the right people) and popularity (stimulating more engagement to get more reach). But generally social media pages and groups worked well.

And even if you didn’t succumb to the demands to pay for advertising, you could still get enough attention through regular posting of social media content. Loads of it, delivered most days so that something was always visible to tempt any readers who passed by.

To have a relatively inexpensive platform to publicise your information, showcase your expertise, explain your concepts, and have fun with your hard-won contacts seemed like a gift from heaven – until it was whisked away from you.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch

The trouble is, social media isn’t owned by you. It’s owned by the platforms it is on. You are merely ‘borrowing’ the space, reach, opportunities, and convenience of communicating where most of the important people to your business are present.

And because Facebook, X, LinkedIn, et al, own their platforms, they can take it away from you. Freeze your account. Take down your groups and pages. Even delete your membership entirely.

This is what has happened to two of my friends. One was hacked, so Facebook closed the group which contained most of her customers. The other was subject to more rigorous algorithm activities around certain words, which happened to be the crux of her business.

This was highly inconvenient. For the first friend, her entire online presence was compromised. For the second, it took away her lifeline to communicate with important people who could help her business to thrive.

So what’s the alternative?

Own your own piece of internet retail. Create a website with a paid-for hosting account. Form your own social media space, without being on social media.

Think if it like this: your domain name is the postal address. The hosting account is the land your house is built on. WordPress and its themes and plugins represents the house. If you always pay your mortgage (hosting fees), you can do what you like with your website and nobody can take it away from you.

This means having somewhere to carefully store away all the social media content you have created. Somewhere you have complete control over what you say, your meaning, your attitude, how you explain things, the words you use, and how you present your content.

OK, this doesn’t mean you should go overboard! But having your own website gives you freedom, and a secure haven, a much needed web-based hub, for all that lovely social media content you create for your friends, followers or customers.

Don’t stop posting your social media content!

If you are in that wonderful position of not having had a hard time from social media platforms, the idea of having your own website should not pass you by.

Consider this: a website is somewhere where your content is safe. Nobody can undermine, destroy or delete it. It is there forever (or as long as your website is live), and cannot be superseded by social media content from other people who could overshadow you.

If you use certain words, categories and tags, your valuable content is easily searchable, long after it was written. And any engagement you received is also retained, revealing the social proof you need to improve your business prospects.

And there is no reason why any social media content you create on social media can’t be duplicated onto your website (for safe keeping). Duplication penalties are a myth; it is good common sense to have somewhere to store your content under your own domain.

Take a look at the infographic below:

Content Hub Website - social media content

Start now, rather than leaving it too late!

The main sticky factor is persuading your friends, followers and customers to take note of, locate, and regularly visit your website. Websites don’t seem to be as comfortable places as social media. This is strange, as they are at the mercy of far more hazardous things there than on privately owned websites!

It isn’t just a matter of posting up a link to your website version of your social media content. You need to persuade, cajole, and entice them to visit. Give them a really good reason, a ‘not to be missed’ incentive, something valuable which isn’t available to them on social media.

Gradually, over time, more people will start to use your website. If they see it as the ‘safe haven’ you want it to be, crammed to the gills with exciting, useful, incredible content especially created for them, they will want to visit to get the latest instalment.

And continue to use social media content to attract their attention. Just be aware it isn’t permanent, and there is the possibility it could disappear at any time. Whereas what you have on your website isn’t going anywhere!

Alice Dec 2023 paper background
Alice Elliott

Alice Elliott (aka the award winning Fairy Blog Mother) has been helping bloggers understand about blogging for two decades.

She has also been scrutinising the benefits of commenting on blogs and social media for both individuals and businesses for a decade.

She offers web design with empathetic encouragement and understanding.

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