Why we decided to boycott social media...
In my update two weeks ago I mentioned that we were no longer going to post or be active on the “Big 4” social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube). What I didn’t realize when I posted that, was that we would get so much support for our decision.
Here are some examples from emails we received after that post:
“Thank you for cutting ties with social media.”
“All I can say is THANK YOU for abandoning social media platforms! Let freedom ring!”
I just wanted to take a quick second to thank you for taking a stand, no matter how small, against the corrupt Social Media juggernauts. We need a lot more people and businesses to do the same. It is one of the biggest screw jobs in American History. They pretended to be a free speech “town square” for as long as it took for them to capture a monopolistic stranglehold on the social media space and now they have actually weaponized social media against all positions they don’t subscribe to.
My hope is that some alternative platform can eventually breakthrough and bring more competition to the space which will be a benefit to the voices that are currently being muted. Happy to be a customer.”
“Hi, I am not a member but like the updates, so thanks for that. Also, love it that you dumped the big 4!!! keep up the great work.”
Also a blog post commending us on this decision was written on the “Outsmart Big Brother” blog.
There may actually be comments on Facebook and Instagram, but since we did a “Last Post” on May 14th we haven’t been back to check…
So why would a business willingly close down one of its primary channels to communicate with customers and attract business? Won’t people be upset? How will people know what is going on? How will your ammo-cat videos go viral?
We’ll first of all, every one of our cat videos flopped along with our visions of viral marketing greatness, and businesses have been able to communicate with customers long before social media platforms! And as far as attracting business? We can’t run ads and have never had much success creating “viral” content to bring new eyeballs to our social media pages. So where does that leave us?
From a business perspective, the real question is where should you invest your time, energy and money to fill the needs of attracting new business, communicating with customers, and ultimately, building a community?
Do you invest it in creating content for platforms that might one day decide that what you sell (ammunition) isn’t politically correct enough for their overlords and “poof”, they make your social media presence disappear along with all of your hard work and invested time?
Company Communications and Social Interaction
Social media platforms have become the de facto hub for company centric conversations, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Before we had social media we had forums (someone with more grey in their beard could educate me on this fact, but I think they were called “Bulletin Boards” in the early days of the internet). The gun community still loves its forums - probably more so than finicky social media platforms.
And of course we have blogs: content that we know is under our control and can’t be removed unless we remove it. (That is true for the most part as we all recently learned with Parler. This is also why we moved the ammosquared.com website off of Amazon AWS.)
So that is the reason for this post and why we are ramping up our communication frequency through our blog and email list. We made the business decision to invest time and effort into something we own - our own website, blog, and email newsletter subscriber list rather than social media.
Eventually, we’ll bring out a full fledged community system that ties in with our regular member software, but for now we’re just looking at utilizing this blog and email for more communication.
So to bring this back full circle: why were people happy that we cut ties with the Big 4 social platforms?
Personally, I think it is because it is a decision that goes against conventional wisdom. It is hard and a little bit risky. Businesses are expected to have active social media accounts: that is what you are taught when you read any marketing book written since the 90’s.
But that was before we saw the light.
That was the correct approach when we thought these platforms were playing fair. When we thought that if we played their game we could reap the benefits of a vibrant social media community and more customers knocking on our virtual door. That was before we saw how much bias and manipulation was inherent in their platforms.
Everyone has their reasons to stick with the Big 4 social media platforms or walk away. In my mind, it doesn’t matter what your political leanings are, censorship designed to manipulate public opinion is a bad thing. A dangerous thing. Something that should not be tolerated on any level.
The narrative that is playing out in “official channels” is different from the real story. This is true whether we are talking about the recent election, COVID, gun ownership and gun related crime, actual history, or anything else that goes against the established “main stream” narrative.
As a business owner, I know what matters to a business: attention and ultimately revenue. If you don’t like the way a business is doing something, it is your right, YOUR DUTY to starve that company of its lifeblood: attention and money. One person doesn’t mean much to them, but thousands? Now you’re talking. Millions? Now you have their attention.
The reverse is also true. If an alternative platform or business shares your values and is better at addressing your needs then you should give it your attention and money. There are many social media alternatives that are popping up to fill this void. I’m no expert, so won’t make any recommendations, but their are many.
For us, the path forward is clear and AmmoSquared will no longer have an active social media presence. We’ll invest in our blog and work on creating relevant content here (we have a ton of great ideas!). We’ll also provide more frequent business related updates and answer questions in the comments section when they pop up. This approach works for us and sits better with our values.