How To Own Your Own Data in a Post-Facebook World

Did You Say A Post-Facebook World?

Yep! To be clear, yes, Facebook is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms. More than two billion users access it every month. And, yes, there are currently over 60 million active business pages on the platform.

However, despite these stats, a “post-Facebook world” has already arrived. This is happening for a couple different reasons:

  1. People in our target audience who have never been on Facebook. (This includes young people who’ve grown up with the good, bad, and ugly of social media.)
  2. People in our target audience who used to be on Facebook and are are now leaving the platform for various reasons.

You may be thinking, “Look at our follower count, damn it! We’ve got great traction on Facebook!” But what if it were to shut down? Or there’s a long-term outage? If you lost all that data, would you know how to get back in touch with those constituents? Do you have an advocacy or communications strategy in place that still reaches them?

Who Really Owns Your Data?

Your organization may assume all the content and data on your Facebook page belongs to you. In reality, it doesn’t — that’s Facebook’s content, and Facebook’s data. (By the way, this kind of goes for Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or — depending how you build, host, and register it — even your website.) Here are three things to consider.

FIRST: Anything that happens to a platform’s parent company will ultimately impact your outreach and content development efforts on that platform. With that in mind, you really need to learn what data your organization actually owns right now.

SECOND: Aside from our first point, you also need to consider what kinds of data would be helpful for your organization to own that it doesn’t current own. How do your followers interact with your organization? Do you know which social media followers also receive your newsletters or other materials? Have any followers become donors? Which ones? Which constituents are highly engaged in your social channel but are not in your own database? With so many cracks between how various platforms interact with each other, it’s easy for supporters to slip through. Owning your data enables you to learn who these people are and to better reach them.

THIRD: Finally, you should have a strategy in place to protect any data you own. And not just from hackers. If you’ve ever been locked out of Facebook (or lost billions in currency) because the person who handles digital has left, you probably realize the need for inclusive data protection systems.

Facebook Data

Get smart about the people you’re engaging with — and how.

More than likely, your organization has engaged with people from the five generations of digital consumers. By “generations,” we don’t mean the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Millennials, or Gen Z. (We haven’t forgotten about you, Generation X!) These generations refer to how people interact with digital in their lives.

Think of each generation as a digital cohort. And each digital cohort has a different personality and way of interacting with technology. The different cohorts include:

1. Digital Natives

People who grew up with the internet, comfortable in engaging in all digital channels.

2. Digital [Migrants]

People who have crossed the chasm to the digital world, forced into engagement in digital channels — and, sometimes, migrate back and forward between the two.

3. Digital Voyeurs

People who recognize the shift to digital, observing from an arms-length distance.

4. Digital Holdouts

People who resist the shift to digital, ignoring the impact.

5. Digital Disengaged

People who give up on digital, obsessed with erasing digital exhaust.

Digital natives have never known a world without major hacks and data breaches. As a result, this cohort may actually be less likely to have a social media presence. Compare this to digital migrants, who adapted these technologies into their lives gradually. This group tends to migrate back and forth between digital and analog formats. In addition, digital migrants might have data all over the place, including personal webpages from the Internet’s beginnings. (Ask our founder about her first website!) They may also have lots of information posted on various outdated and current social media platforms.

As you start gathering data from different places online, it’s going to look like a puzzle at first. You’re dealing with finding piecemeal aspects of data — for example, you may have information from a gazillion years’ worth of digital interaction from one person. Then you learn that this same person signed up for your e-newsletter several years ago. Finally, you discover this same constituent gave you money during last year’s annual campaign.

So now you have data from many different points. Several teams have had access to this data, and it’s been uploaded to all kinds of databases. At this point, your data’s probably “dirty.” Which brings us to…

Remember Your (Data) Hygiene!

Data hygiene refers to the practice of keeping your data “clean.” That is, free from inconsistencies and duplicates, plus outdated, or inaccurate information. Without a data hygiene plan, your organization is at risk of wasting valuable time and resources.

Facebook Data

To Sum It Up…

All of these issues are going to be important in the future. Now it the time to ensure you capture — and protect the privacy of — the relationships and data of the people you and your organization truly value.

To really kick ass at this:

  1. Claim your data.
  2. Consider your cohorts.
  3. Keep your data clean.

There’s Help If You Need It!

We know this can be a lot to think about! If you need help navigating any of these areas, or you’re just not sure where to start, jump on a quick call with Twanna.