I recently had a conversation in regards to the post I made about Google Reader shutting down. It was brought to my attention that Google Reader is the “pillar of the blogosphere” and that many power users and curators rely heavily on this tool. This post is not about Google Reader per se, you can read my thoughts on that here.
Rather, this comment reminded me that all too often, when it comes to technology and online marketing, we tend to put all of our metaphorical eggs in one metaphorical basket. Because there is so much information out there and so much maintenance that has to be conducted, we tend to find “shortcuts” that work for us. We find the one company, the one software, the one tool, the one employee to do the work for us as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Now, I’m not averse to innovation and system improvements. With so much to do everyday, I am always looking for ways to be more efficient and be able to get more great work into the same period of time. But here’s the question for you: If that innovative tool was taken away from you, would you still continue without your customers noticing a change, or would you fail?
Do you still know how to do things the “old fashioned way”? Do you have a back up plan in place? Do you have fail safes to protect you if something goes down?
When it comes to Social Media management, there are a lot of tools out there to help you. There are 3rd party apps like HootSuite, Buffer, TweetAdder, Pinpuff, and so many other ones that help you manage your posts, generate new followers, measure your analytics, etc. These apps are great tools to make your job easier but they are all 3rd party apps. They are not provided by the major Social Media platforms. If one of these apps was to shut down, would you still be able to schedule your posts? You should know how to schedule posts directly on the social site or be familiar with alternative scheduling apps that you can use if your favorite site is no longer there.
Where do you find the content that you share online? Do you rely on one site everyday for the “best” sources of information? Or do you scour multiple sites? This goes back to Google Reader. While Reader allows you to select multiple sites to follow, you’re still placing all that information in one site and when that one site is no longer there, where will you turn? Yes, there are other alternatives out there and hopefully you’ve found a good one if you’re a Reader fan. Just remember to keep yourself open to other sources of information. You may even have to go back to manually searching various sources for great information. Who knows, you might surprise yourself at the new things you find!
What if Facebook shut down tomorrow? Let’s face it, it’s not likely to happen, but it could. What would you do to keep all your fans? Do you connect with them on other platforms? Do you have other means to reach out to them beyond Facebook? Would they follow you to a new platform if Facebook wasn’t there anymore? These are legitimate questions that you need to ask yourself. If you don’t have the answer right now, that’s ok. But you should start thinking about ways you could minimize this risk in the event it did happen.
Who’s creating your content and who’s managing all of your Social Media sites? If you’re relying on only one person for all this information, I suggest you read my post on the risks of losing your social media manager. If you’re leaving all of this information in the hands of one person, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Take appropriate actions to prevent the downfall of your entire online strategy.
The great news is that most of these things probably won’t happen anytime soon and they most likely won’t happen all at the same time! But they are all risks that you should be aware of. Take a little time to review your processes and make sure that you are aware of where you might be at risk. In these places, put a back up plan in place to protect yourself now and you’ll be ahead of your competition if and when these things happen!