The trend these days is to have a facebook page or a twitter account that people can like or follow you, which by any reasonable measure is a good thing, or so it seems on the surface.

But it had me thinking about a few questions…

Who really owns your  fans, followers, or potential customers?

What if the network is down/offline or is shutdown permanently, could you still contact them?

What if the network kicks you off,  blocks you or decides they are taking over your page/account is there much you could do to stop them?

Believe it or not the social networks are in control of your fans, followers, and potential customers.

Don’t believe me?  Try to export your fans or followers so you can contact them directly…didn’t find the export button did you? Do you even know how to contact them directly or who they really are?

The truth is the ease of social media allows us to tweet or post effortlessly which has lead to us forgetting about how we used to communicate in the past.

Email was once and still is the King.  It is the only way you can truly own and communicate directly with your fans, followers, and potential customers.

The solution is therefore simple, no matter what social network you are using, always try (with their permission) to get your fans, followers, and potential customers contact details.

Information like:

  • Correct full name (recommended),
  • Email address (minimum),
  • Telephone (preferably mobile so you have an option to send a text instead)
  • Location, gender and age (perhaps range) are useful information to keep as well.

You do have your fan’s/follower’s/potential customer’s email address right or does facebook/twitter have that too?

  • Why don’t you just run your own Social Network?

  • Anonymous

    Social Networks like twitter and facebook already provide an audience. It’s easier to tap into that than building your own.

    • I never said it would be easier. You stated that the ONLY way to truly own and communicate with your fans and followers is through networks and servers owned by someone else. Not the Easier way. 

      I’d also argue that if you had fans and followers that you were looking to communicate with and they  you have already done a good portion of your network building anyway.

      It’s easier and cheaper to hire a photographer to take pictures that they own and you “rent” but I wouldn’t characterize painting as the only way to then be able to preserve your memories of an event.

  • I agree with this article. Most entrepreneurs like to do what’s easy, and don’t understand that while it may seem harder to collect emails, it is MORE valuable to have emails versus fans or followers. With emails, you can actively interact with your network… while with twitter & facebook it is more of a passive interaction with your network.