Companies these days spend hundreds of billions on social media marketing. A great portion of that money goes into building and managing social media pages and gathering follower base. But there’s a small problem in this. While a company’s social media asset can be valued at millions, they don’t actually even own.
That’s right, your social media account and the followers/connections you have do not really belong to you, but to the social media platform provider. And the scariest part is that they can take it all away from you without any reason or explanation. For the person who has not run into such problem before it may be surprising how common this actually is.
I personally have lost:
- 2 personal Linkedin accounts with all associated corporate pages (I had one account which got suspended, then created a new one which also got suspended)
- 1 personal Medium account
- 1 corporate Instagram account
And like any typical narcissistic company with personality disorder they did not provide any explanation other than absurd: “you violated terms of service”.
I know lot of other people who have lost their social media accounts as well, or got their business pages banned on various social media sites.
Actually I cannot name a single social media site that has not suspended any user accounts. So the risk quite realistic.
In addition to that:
- My Facebook account has been banned several times for up to 1 month per ban.
- My Twitter account has been banned few times for several days per ban.
In this case you don’t lose your account but are unable to use it for certain period of time. This also created damage for your business, as you are not able to communicate with your clients or promote your products and services.
Reason suspending and banning accounts is pretty easy to guess and it’s politics. Social Medium follow certain political ideology and quite actively censor all other opinion, up to extent of deleting user accounts, groups and pages. This is very wrong and violates freedom of speech. But sadly in these time we live in, freedom of speech is not considered as important is it was in the past.
How to use Social Media for business then?
You can continue using it as you have used it now, but move the focus on your website instead of building community in the social media itself. This especially applies if you use paid ads. If you spend $100k on getting 100k followers and your account gets suspended, then you just lost $100k. However if you used that $100k to get 100k newsletter subscribers, that database is yours and no one can take it away.
Other things to take into consideration
If you use different social media plug-ings or extensions on your site, you will also lose all data associated with it in case something happens to your account.
Take for example commenting option. If you use Facebook or Disqus comments and they decide to suspend your account, then all the comments from several years will be gone. This is the reason why on this site I use WordPress comment tool, which I can manage myself and thus guarantee it’s safety and continuation.
Are there any reliable Social Medium?
No one can guarantee it 100%, as when someone has power over you it’s only matter of time before they will use it against you.
However there’s a clear pattern: Social media companies that are based in USA, EU and other western countries are the ones that suspend user accounts based on political motives. So far I have not heard of similar behavior from for example Russian or Chinese social networks. Thus as of today VK.com and TikTok most save social media sites for you and your business.