A Digital GOTV Strategy for Every Budget
September 2022 | by Xavier Clegg, Megan Holcombe
Marketing Our Favorite Tools Strategy
Big Tech censorship is an issue that has garnered a lot of media attention in recent years, and for good reason – there is a level of censorship taking place on all digital platforms.
Unfortunately, there is no secret playbook that can guarantee you never get censored.
There are some tactics, however, that can help prevent censorship and ensure your brand survives in the event that you do get blacklisted.
If you are only on one platform and something tanks that platform for you, it’s game over.
We saw this happen to viral digital publishers a few years ago. These publishers built their business model on Facebook’s algorithm, and their traffic cratered after Facebook tweaked it. In fact, many of these publishers had to close up shop because of it.
The best thing you can do to protect yourself against Big Tech censorship is to build a presence on several different platforms. That way, if for some reason you get blocked or disfavored by a platform, you can still promote your brand on others.
Don’t limit yourself to traditional players like Facebook and Meta. Even though these are the platforms most people interact with on a daily basis, emerging platforms like Parler, GETTR, and Truth Social could still be valuable tools for reaching your audience in the era of rising regulations and ever-changing algorithms.
Think beyond social media to engage with your audience, too. Including email, SMS, and other messaging platforms into your digital strategy will increase your chances of getting your message out to the people who matter and keeping your brand afloat.
The bottom line: opt for an all-of-the-above omnichannel approach instead of sinking all your resources into one or two platforms.
No matter which platforms you decide to have a presence on, you should familiarize yourself with the regulations they have in place.
There’s no way to know exactly what will get pinged by a platform’s algorithm or content moderators because the rules for what constitutes bannable speech aren’t clear. But you can make sure you don’t break the rules that are clear.
1. Don’t rapidly follow and unfollow a lot of users on Twitter. This will get you flagged as a bot account and pretty much guarantee you will get blocked.
2. Don’t use music unless you have the proper licenses on YouTube. YouTube adheres to strict music copyrights, so if you didn’t pay for it and it wasn’t in the public domain, don’t use it.
3. Don’t send messages to a lot of people you aren’t friends with on Facebook. It’s understandable why this could come across as suspicious and will get you blocked.
4. Don’t keep commenting on your own post on Instagram. Replying to other people’s comments is fine, but Instagram will flag mass self-commenting as bot activity and will shut you down.
Getting blacklisted could impact your brand’s reach, so be sure to do your research. Stay on top of the requirements and best practices for each platform you plan to have a presence on.
This doesn’t only apply to social media – email and ad networks also have stringent regulations.
Recurring typos in email addresses or an irregular sending volume and cadence could result in email service providers sending your emails straight to spam. Keep an eye on your open rates – they don’t tell the full story, but a sudden dropoff could be a sign that you’re on a blacklist.
Similarly, using certain keywords or imagery could get your ads blocked across a host of sites. Even worse, too many violations could result in your ad account being suspended.
Abiding by platform guidelines isn’t a foolproof way to keep from getting censored by Big Tech, but it does help your chances.
Shadowbans were designed as a way for content moderators to block online trolls, bots, and users who refused to comply with the Terms & Conditions they agreed to when creating an account. But while its motives may have been pure at the onset, shadowbanning has morphed into yet another way Big Tech can hide your content.
To make matters worse, they don’t tell you when they shadowban your posts.
There’s no way to know whether or not a post will get shadowbanned, but there are a few steps you can take to avoid a ban, which we outline here.
The bad news is that you can be doing everything by the book and still have your content flagged. The good news is that you now have a compelling story to share with your audience.
Share your Big Tech censorship story on those other mediums and rally your supporters to take a stand with you. For example, here’s an ad Rand Paul ran after getting banned from YouTube for questioning Dr. Fauci during the pandemic:
If you have doubts about how effective that would be, consider this stat:
Big Tech censorship is a powerful rallying point, so don’t be afraid to use it.
Navigating ever-changing digital regulations is a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be yours.
If you are worried about getting censored online, IMGE is here to help. Our digital experts know what it takes to get keep your brand from getting blocked by Big Tech, and what to do if and when it does happen.
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