When Facebook announced it was not going to allow business pages with less than 10,000 fans (or likers, whatever we call them these days) to have a custom landing page, the small business commmunity went into an uproar on twitter. The sky seemed to be falling, yet I hardly blinked an eye. Not because I knew they would reverse the silly policy (which they did), but because Facebook isn’t the hub of my business. Twitter isn’t either.
People in our classes often ask us why bother having a blog when you can have a Facebook page. It’s easy and a few people (like 400 million) spend some time there. I like Facebook. I recently wrote about the value of a Facebook business page. Even with privacy violations and an ever changing landscape I like facebook, but guess what? You don’t own Facebook (unless Mark Zuckerberg is reading this and if so, I would love to interview you). So if you aren’t Mark, and you aren’t paying for a Facebook plan that dictates the level of service they have to provide to you, you really don’t have much say. You are using a free platform. They can change anything they please.
I believe in owning the hub of your business. This means your own website on your own domain. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t maximize the use of other tools to reach your desired market, but they shouldn’t replace a central place that is the cornerstone for your brand. Tools like Facebook are a fantastic place to engage with people and share content. Ultimately, I believe they need to be used to drive trafffic to your own site.
Your online and offline engagements, messaging and actions act as spokes to a master wheel or hub like this:
The wheel holds it all together. If you own the hub, it is solid and only chanageable by you. If someone else owns it, you don’t have control of the piece that holds it all together. What happens to the spokes if the wheel goes away?
Where will people go to find you? What happens to all the content you created? How long will it take you to reassemble the wheel? At the end of the day, if you want to own your brand you have to own your hub.