by Alison Ver Halen
Remember last year when Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp all shut down for the better part of a day?
People who relied on one or all of those platforms to communicate with their clients and/or team members were unable to work. They essentially had to shut down their business for the day. It lasted so long that some people started to wonder if those platforms were gone for good.
What if they had been permanently deleted? Would your business have survived?
I hear a lot of people say that they don’t need a website because they use Facebook and other social media platforms for free, but there is a cost to using free platforms – it’s not your platform. It’s someone else’s business and they get to use it however they want.
If that means burying your post so it never gets seen (or outright deleting your post, or even your account), there’s nothing you can do about it.
I also want to take a moment to talk about “Facebook jail,” which is when your account gets deleted or you get banned from doing certain things on Facebook for a stupid reason, or for no reason at all. There are countless examples of people getting banned from doing certain things on Facebook or having their account deleted without any explanation.
A gal named Kate Middleton had her account deleted for having the misfortune of sharing the same name as the Kate Middleton who married the prince of England, which got her account flagged as a fake account.
This is not a tirade against social media, because it can be a great way to grow your audience, but you should never depend on it exclusively because you have no control over what Facebook (or Twitter, or LinkedIn, etc.) will do, or even if it will continue to exist.
The only online real estate you can really own is your own website, which is like owning your own home, whereas relying on social media is more like renting … minus any of the laws that prevent landlords from kicking out their tenants without providing notice or a reason for their eviction.
Having your own website also helps you establish your credibility. Everyone knows that all kinds of people say whatever they want on social media, but for some reason, having a website makes it seem more legit. You can publish the exact same post on Facebook and on your website and your website will appear more credible, assuming it’s a decently designed website and doesn’t look like something from the 1990s.
Branding is another thing you need to consider. If you own your own website, you can make sure the font, layout, and colors all represent your brand. This ensures that all the content you create on your website strengthens your brand.
By contrast, when you rely on Facebook or another social media site to host your content, you’re strengthening Facebook’s brand. No matter what content you’re looking at on Facebook, you can’t get away from the fact that you’re looking at Facebook because the company is too invested in its own brand to ever let you forget it.
When you own your own website, you can make sure your logo, colors, font, and even your picture are all visible somewhere on the page, regardless of the content the visitor is currently viewing. That means they’ll associate your content with your brand instead of “something I saw on Facebook.”
So, the next time you go to rant about something on social media, take a moment to consider whether that long social media post might serve you better as a blog post on your website. You can always use social media to distribute your content once it’s up on your website, but you should remain wary of using social media as a publishing platform rather than a distribution platform.
Alison is the owner and president of AV Writing Services, where she educates her fellow small business owners and solopreneurs about the benefits of content marketing. Find more information about her and her business here:
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