Thoughts: Social Media Customers

This is the first post of a new “category”. Every now and then I find myself thinking about some topic I find interesting. Usually I just tweet about it, but the space there is always limited, so for the future, when I have to say more about a topic, you’ll find a blog post here.

Nowadays there are many people who make a living with YouTube or other social media activities. In a sense these content creators “crowdfund” their income, meaning that the more followers, subscribers, viewers, etc. they have, the more value they can either extract directly from said audience or get paid by the platform given the value they have created.

Social Media

One problem that can be seen on all of these social media platforms is that the newest post, video, etc. isn’t being distributed to every reader, subscriber, follower, etc. Personally, I have often heard from YouTubers, that their newest video didn’t reach all of their subscribers, which in turn generated less views and inadvertently means less money for them. It can quite imagine the pain, because it seems to happen unpredictably and the only way to notice it, is when either the view counter doesn’t go as far up as expected or when subscribers tell them, that it didn’t show up for them.

On the other hand, there exist platforms, which don’t hide their pickiness in distribution as much. The most prominent example would be Facebook. Facebook tells you explicitly, to how many people your posts will be distributed to and with a nice “Pay2Win mechanic” lets you pay Facebook, so your posts will be seen by more people.

When I see people complain about Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. not acting the way they except it to, they often seem to forget or sometimes don’t even realize that the followers, subscribes, fans, etc. are customers of the social platform first and only secondarily part of the content creator’s following. If something generates more money for the social media platform, for example promoting a trending video, then it doesn’t matter whether it will hurt your not so very important video.

Point being, your followers and subscribers only become truly your customers, once you get them to sign up for your system. Be it a simple mailing list or an account on your site – the former is easier than the latter. For mailing lists there are tons and tons of easy to use tools and services on the web. Most are free up to a certain point and many have addons and extensions that allow you, to easily integrate them into your website.

Of course I don’t mean that you can’t reach people over social media platforms, I merely think it’s important to know and not get angry about it, when social media platforms cater to their own business before thinking about your business.