This is one of the most common marketing myths that I hear people say. And probably the WORST one to believe.
Often, it’s coming from an entrepreneur who has had quite a bit of success building their business through social media. That’s where they’ve gained new customers, where they’ve communicated and engaged with customers and prospects, and even where they’ve communicated about orders and special sales by using Messenger or other communication pieces.
However … when you’re talking about your business’ online presence, keeping all of your eggs in one basket poses a huge problem.
They regularly change the basket. Then you’re scrambling to gather your eggs (there’s a pun in there).
Social media sites, and really any online platform, regularly change to keep things new and fresh. Even when we liked it just fine how it was! If I were to post about nothing other than all of the changes made to social media sites, I’d be doing nothing other than posting multiple times per day about those changes.
(I’m not sure I could make a living doing that – and frankly all of the changes frustrate me as much as they do you – I just HAVE to keep abreast of the social media changes because the services I provide my clients depends upon it!)
Your own website is one of the few things in your full control, that you own (we’ll talk about a couple others later). Or, at least you own it if you follow some of our website best practices for entrepreneurs. You need to make sure you own it.
Here’s some problems I’ve seen happen to entrepreneurs, often people who come to me after a major shitstorm has happened to their stuff and they’re desperate for a fix. We help them recover when we can, and then set things up properly so that it doesn’t happen again:
Facebook Closes Your Account
Client had set up a second personal Facebook profile to run her business page, thinking that was the only way to keep her real personal profile private and separate from the business.
Because this goes against Facebook TOS, they shut down her second personal profile (yes, they have ways to figure this out; also possible that a competitor reported her profile).
The bigger problem? She could no longer access her business page. She also had not assigned another admin on the page, so there was no way for her to access the page. We had to go through QUITE a few hoops, and it took a couple of months, but she finally regained access – through her real personal profile.
If all of your business was cut off from you for a couple of months – how would your business fare?
Facebook Blocks Posting Links
Another client – and this was actually a current client so I know everything was set up properly – suddenly could no longer put links to their website anywhere on Facebook – couldn’t put it in a post, and most importantly couldn’t put it in the ads we were setting up. The message said it was against Facebook’s community standards. There was nothing wrong with the website or the link, nothing that went against standards.
When I contacted Facebook’s tech support, they said they had a big number of false restrictions due to a bug in the system, and a huge backlog of requests they were having to fix. We have no way to fix their bugs. It took them two months. Luckily we were able to work around this by getting creative.
If a glitch in a system kept you from marketing your business for two months – what impact would that have?
Etsy Closes Entire Store
Another request for help came to us when a very successful Etsy entrepreneur was seeking help when Etsy closed her 10K a month store with no warning. This seems confusing – because she had a website through Etsy, right? She had grown to that size in about 3 years on their platform – which is great!
She had orders in process that she had no information on since all of that information was stored on their platform. She couldn’t access her customer list, she couldn’t access any of her product listing information … everything gone in one day.
Etsy refused her appeal, would not tell her why her account was closed, and would not provide her customer list or other information (yes, she should have had backup copies of all of this … lesson learned). Because THEY own the platform, and therefore actually owned her website, there was little she could do.
While we couldn’t do anything for her to access her past customer list or her current orders, we were able to help her rebuild her site – on her OWN website – but she really still had to start from scratch. It’s been a year and she’s still not at the level she was when Etsy closed her site.
What would you do if you lost your entire business in one day?
Importance of Your Online Presence
There’s also another important reason. The majority of people will research your business online – even when you have been referred to them by a trusted friend or family. The perception still exists that businesses appear more real, stable, and professional when they have their own website, rather than only being able to find a Facebook page or Twitter account or similar.
Having a true website presence elevates the professionalism of your brand more than a social media account can.
Social media platforms do and should have their place in your marketing plan. They’re great to drive prospects and customers to your website. They’re even better for having conversations with your prospects and customers and being able to engage with them in an authentic and immediate way. Perfect way to stay connected to your tribe. Not so good to rely upon as your primary, or only, place online.
And don’t get confused by these platforms that make you think you own your own website. Etsy, Squarespace, Shopify, Square, Big Cartel. You don’t own any of this other than the copy and images and etc that you upload.
They own the hosting. They own the platform (the pieces that let you build the website). Even though you may be paying them a monthly fee – you don’t own it which means that the control is out of your hands. They’re website platforms that make it easy for you to set up a website – and you’re in much the same position as if you were relying on social media – they own the platform.
This is why we always recommend that you own your own hosting, and use a website builder such as WordPress on your own hosting.
Did you know? A great website can go a LONG way to increasing your traffic and your conversions.
Use our Website Planning Worksheet to start planning yours.