Social media isn’t a silver bullet, and in 2021, you’ll only get out what you put in

As we look towards 2021, King Kong founder Sabri Suby believes we need to get real about social media.

In the world of social media, nothing is permanent. The business you created on Instagram? Dissolvable. The ad campaigns you constructed on Facebook? Banned. The display ads you crafted for the Google Display Network? Temporary.

This year, we’ve seen that even social media isn’t watertight to the effects of COVID-19. As reported in Bloomberg, Facebook has been directing its human moderators to the US election and pandemic coverage, and as a result, has been leaning more on artificial intelligence algorithms to monitor other areas of its platform.

The result? Small businesses have been mistakenly locked out of their ad accounts for supposedly violating Facebook’s terms of service, and have missed out on thousands of dollars’ worth of business in the process. In the middle of a global pandemic, it’s a massive issue for businesses big and small.

We personally experienced this exact issue with one of our clients’ Facebook ad accounts. The ad account goes down, there’s no human being to speak to about it, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do apart from appeal it and hope for the best. Our clients are in good company: apparently, Joe Biden experienced something very similar.

You get out what you put in

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not telling you to cancel your social media ads and delete your brand’s Instagram page. What I am saying is that you need to be prepared to put in the hard work for every single one of the digital marketing channels you’re using, and understand that social doesn’t owe you anything.

With social media, you get out what you put in. Today’s news feed is beyond saturated, and average content is nothing more than a terrible investment in both time and money. But if you can fully understand how your customer thinks and what drives them, it’s still possible to create incredible ROI through social media.

Use social to your advantage, but don’t waste time creating content that won’t convert – and never, never rely solely on social media alone to fuel your brand’s growth. As we’ve seen with the constant issues with Facebook’s ad manager this year, social media doesn’t care about you or your business.

The one channel you should rely on

So what channels can we trust? Digital marketing managers should be funnelling their traffic, leads, and energy into the oldest channels in the box: your website and your email database. While email isn’t exactly the sexiest, shiniest new toy out there, it remains the one that excites me the most.

As we head into 2021 and all start gazing into our crystal balls for the coming year, the only prediction I can make is that I’ll continue to use email marketing, and continue to make a whole heap of money from it.

With 3.9 billion email users right now, that’s more than Facebook (2.6 billion) and Twitter (330 million) combined, and the growth is set to continue, with email users are on track to reach 4.3 billion by 2023.

Attention in the inbox is also very different from the chaotic environment of the newsfeed, where your prospect is just one thumb-scroll from a video of a cat wearing socks, or people snorting lines of cinnamon and eating ghost chillies. No one, not even the social media companies themselves, can predict what will happen on their channels in 2021. But the one thing I can predict? As long as you continue to pay your website and email hosting fees, your owned channels aren’t going anywhere. That’s a lot more than can be said for your social media accounts.

Sabri Suby is the founder of King Kong.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.