Build Your Own
I received a notification from Google+ last week that due to low usage they would be shutting down the platform that manages Google+ pages. Google is a pretty big company, so it takes a lot for them to decide to close any of their apps/platforms. For individuals/brands who have built their foundation through Google+ these next few months are going to be consumed with scrambling for a new platform, just as they did when MySpace shut down. Why scramble, when you can just create your own?
In this new era of Social Media, YouTube and Influencers, many brands have become fully dependent on platforms that they do not own. At this point the success of your business is entirely dependent on the business plan, bottom line and algorithms of somebody else. Someone who quite frankly, doesn't owe you anything. If Instagram were to shut down today (which it won't but let's be hypothetical here), what will happen to your business? Kevin Systrom is not paying your mortgage.
I fully support the use of online platforms to promote/market yourself or your brand, but I challenge you to take it one step further. Think beyond how many followers/likes you have and consider the broader impact that you're aiming to have. Popularity does not equal success and a business plan cannot be built on someone else's platform. You have to create your own.
Building your own platform is much easier today:
Purchase a domain name and build a website as your living portfolio. Consider linking your LinkedIn or social media feeds and posting organic content to showcase your best work (this applies to all fields).
Use Social Media to encourage people to visit/subscribe to your platform.
Analyze the behaviors of your target audience frequently. This can be done through stakeholder surveys and by evaluating your website/social media analytics.
And, for our over-achievers ... you may even consider building your own app! I'll point you to Dana Chanel of Alakazam Apps for that one.
By creating your own platform and understanding your market, you'll always be one step ahead of the crowd and prepared to market yourself on whatever platform is coming after Instagram, because mark my words, something new is coming!