Last week Elon Musk gave an ultimatum to Twitter employees. They could either join his new “hardcore” Twitter, agreeing to work insane hours for a draconian boss. Or, they could leave with three months’ severance.
75% of them choose to leave. As TikTok would say, duh, bestie.
This prompted a hilarious graduation party on Twitter, where power users were sharing their Linkedin profiles and podcast URLs in hopes they could port the following they spent years building on that platform to, well, a more stable platform.
It makes me think of a marketing truism, one that we often ignore “Don’t build your brand on rented land”.
We’re learning this lesson again with Elon’s Twitter, but instead of Zuck locking the doors, Elon is taking a torch to the whole damn building.
Marketers who have spent thousands of hours of their time writing careful threads, posting on a strict schedule, and setting follower goals— now have their work and audience trapped in a burning platform. All they can do is hope people head over to their link in bio. Which, sorry bestie, most of them won’t.
So this prompts the question, how do we build a brand that isn’t tied to the batshit whims of billionaire manchildren?
The answer is harder now than in 2004.
The vast majority of internet discovery is controlled by a few platforms (Google, Facebook + acquisitions, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube, Substack, Twitter, TikTok)— and most marketing advice (including mine) will tell you that you can’t do it all. Spray and play doesn’t work, because you can’t create incredible content on 10ish different platforms. You have to narrow it down to a few platforms that you’re good at.
Now we’re back to building on billionaire controlled platforms again. Ugh.
So the question really should be; how do we help our customers discover us through platforms that can enhance our reach, without relying on them solely as the only way we can access our community?
Well, we can look at the Oatmeal as an example.
He’s a comic illustrator and game designer who was burned badly by Facebook Pages back in the day. Now he regularly builds his Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter followings, but concentrates the bulk of his efforts on his email list, which he can fully own and control.
When you scroll over the social icons on his page, this pops up:
He didn’t throw up two middle fingers and walk directly off of the platforms, but he did change his strategy to prioritize channels he could fully own and control.
Email is a key channel to prioritize in the era of billionaire-social-arsensts.
How do you billionaire proof your email marketing?
Don’t let the billionaires win, build your audience for you.
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