As business owners, we measure our success in numbers. Followers on Instagram, followers on Facebook, likes on an Instagram post, how viral that one pin on Pinterest went that one time.

There are two problems with this. One, success isn’t a math equation. You can’t measure success in these simple numbers. The second issue is that these are just social media. Social media isn’t permanent.

Let’s talk about social media and its ‘permanency’ for now. I could write blog post after blog post on how the entrepreneur world sometimes teaches us bullshit ways to measure success, but I’ll save that for another time. The real problem with social media is that we don’t own any of it. Owning it might not seem like a big deal until you start looking at how fast social media has changed, and how quickly it has changed us in the last decade. The way we communicate now is always evolving from one year to the next as these various social media platforms introduce a new feature, or a new platform comes around, and we all jump on that bandwagon.

This whole social media thing is both good and bad for the world. I won’t get into that here, but regarding business, it has caused us to build our business’ marketing purely on social media. What’s going to happen when one of those platforms we’ve worked so hard to build a following on dies? Take a look at Facebook? Remember the good years as a business owner when what you posted on your business page was seen by the people who followed you or liked your page? It’s entirely different now, so all those years we spent building our following, lead to us needing to pay to play with all the hard work we’ve managed.

That’s why today I want to encourage you to take a look at your marketing techniques. Make a vow to put more time into the methods that you own. The types of online marketing that don’t change as drastically. The ones where you get to own the information. If the online marketing platform dies, you can still take those followers to a new place. You can’t always do that with social media, which is why we can’t base our entire marketing plan on social media only.

The two types of marketing I recommend putting more time into that you own are your blog and your email list. Let’s pretend for a moment that Instagram is going to die tomorrow. That’s it; you’ve lost thousands of followers and engagement instantly. You can be as mad as you want, but it doesn’t change anything. You have to start over, right? What if when Instagram died, you still had an active blog and most of those Instagram followers on an email list? Then when Instagram dies, you go start over on a new social media platform, announce it on your blog, and email list and voila – your marketing doesn’t slow down because you own that content.

The difference between marketing you own and social media is something creatives don’t think about often enough. We immerse ourselves in getting the next set of followers on our social media that we forget to look at the big picture. The truth is, most businesses don’t make it past one year, let alone three years, or 5…let’s not even mention ten years. If you want to be that business who does make it, you need to start thinking about how fast the world is changing and what you can do to ensure your business lasts throughout these changes.

I can speak from experience here. I’ve built a business on a blog and never managed to keep up with social media for it. I’ve relied entirely on my pins going viral and Google search engine results to continue to bring traffic. Let me tell you, had I known now what I didn’t know then about email lists, Photography Awesomesauce may be even bigger than it is today. I feel like I’m still catching up on email list building there (and social media too).

I don’t want to leave this lecture without some useful places to start. I’ve used MailChimp for years for email. They’re terrible. Don’t use them. I know they are cheap, but they’ve lost my email lists more than once and messed up so many email automations I can’t even count. If you’re looking for a solid and easy to use email list system I highly recommend Convertkit. I don’t just recommend them because I’m an affiliate and get a kick back when you sign up using my link. I recommend them because they’re awesome, and their awesomeness is why I am an affiliate.

If you don’t know where to start with a blog, start with WordPress, it’s simply the best and most flexible system there is. It allows you to have the most customization ability of any blogging platform. That’s why I recommend it over Squarespace or other options.

I hope you can learn from a few of these tips and get ready to up your Instagram game! If you’re interested in more awesome stuff like this, follow Rock Your Weird on our InstagramFacebook, and Twitter to get updates. You can also subscribe below to my weekly ‘behind the business’ newsletter full of insight on how running a business goes down behind the scenes. You get to be a fly on my wall and learn from my successes and failures with me! We have a Facebook community where you can join and get some business help from other entrepreneurs like yourself.

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