You don’t own the Social Network field! Their field, their rules!

After reading yet another article about how Facebook are changing their algorithms and how organic posts will be harder to get seen by your audience I feel the need to reiterate something I’ve been saying to my clients for a longtime now. You don’t own the field!

As the Euros are on at the moment I’ll use Football as an analogy to get this point across.

Imagine a football field!!

Every Sunday morning for years you and your friends have used the same field for free football match. You don’t play the offside rule as you have no referees & sometimes you let the team with less players start with an extra 2 goals to keep it fair. There’s a fence around the field with fields rules attached to them, but everyone uses this field so you don’t read the rules & the gate is never shut. There’s also a little hut onsite with lockers in and you and your friends leave the goal nets, the balls and your kit there, so helpful! Your rules, their field.

One Sunday you pop along to the field and there’s a referee who’s arrived, your casual friendly game has changed and the field owners and rules state that games played on their field played to their rules and their rules include a referee.  They start enforcing the off side rule, you have to have 22 players, they don’t want you playing in trainers just football boots. This has always been part of the rules on the fence but you’ve never read them so declared you weren’t aware you were breaking the rules. You’re not happy and they don’t seem too pleased either. As you’re only there for fun you and your friends ignore the ref and play your way.

The next Sunday you show up to play and the gate is locked. No free Sunday football for you.  All your nets, balls and kit are still in the lockers!! The rules on the fence always stated exact what was expected and it also explained if you broke the rules they just shut you out & kept anything in the locker! You didn’t play by their rules so they’ve locked you out

This works the same for Facebook (and other networks!)

They own the field, they can change the rules when they want, they can enforce these rules and shut you out if you break them, they may not be rules you like or agree with and they may not be good for your accounts or your business ….. But they own the field, their field, their rules!!

So what can you do

Read the rules for starters, what can and can’t you do on these sites. If you need help get in touch with a professional to check what you’re doing is correct. Start planning and thinking about what you do control and gravitate your  audience there! Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, your email mailing list, your physical mailing list, book in face to face meetings and start building relationships with important connections. These are things you control so start moving Facebook likers, LinkedIn connections and Twitter & Instagram followers there (with their permission!!).

So how can I do this?

Run competitions on your website and ask for email addresses or physical addresses as part of their entry, advertise your mailing list for people to subscribe to, offer your likers, followers etc something extra to hand over their email address and subscribe to these lists. Make it worth their while.

That way if the field one day has the gate closed and you’re shut out because you accidentally broke a rule you didn’t know about, you’re not left with nothing to play with elsewhere and you’re not starting from scratch!

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