On Wednesday, March 13, 2019, both Facebook and Instagram went down for several hours. The masses took to Twitter for information, updates, and to, of course, complain. While the outage seemed funny, at first, small business owners and nonprofit groups who rely on a Facebook Page to serve as their sales funnel or communications platform were perplexed, nervous, and anxious, to say the least. With Facebook broken, how were these organizations going to market their brands and charities? To them, when Facebook goes down, it means that their bottom line takes a hit. That is no laughing matter.
However, many other businesses and charities were not at all impacted by the interruptions of these social media platforms. Do you know why? It’s simple: they all have websites.
Here’s a piece of advice to keep in mind always. Think about it writing it down and taping it to your laptop:
A Facebook Page does not a website make.
Oh sure, having a Facebook Page seems like the easiest and cheapest way to create an online presence for your company. It’s free and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to create one. But, after what happened the other day, do you really want to leave the success of your business or nonprofit in the hands of Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform? Naturally, you do not.
Having your own website gives you three things that you’ll never get from social media: control, freedom, and ownership. Let’s dive into these elements further.
When you have a website, you’re in control.
What makes your Facebook Page different than any other page out there? They all look alike, restricted to a style of design created by the platform. With your very own website, you decide color scheme, fonts, layout, etc. It’s all in your control.
You also get to control content, user experience, and your own experience as the owner. For example, how happy are you with the way you receive messages on your Facebook Page? Have you ever received a notification of a new message, only to log in and find no such message? Owning your own website puts you in total control of how you you receive communications from customers.
And there are, of course, views. Oh… Facebook loves to control how many views your Facebook posts get, having developed an algorithm that the average business owner cannot figure out. When you have your own website, blog regularly and apply SEO tactics, the world of organic views is your oyster!
Owning your own website gives you freedom.
With your very own website, anything is possible. That isn’t the case with a Facebook Page.
It’s true that as a website owner, there are still a few restrictions to consider. For instance, you cannot steal or borrow content from other sites and add it to yours. But for the most part, you’re pretty much free to do what you want on your own website.
Think of having your own website like owning a home where there is no HOA. You set the rules. So long as you refrain from illegal activity, you have the freedom to do as you wish on your own website.
You own your website. Everything on it is yours.
Have you ever seen one of your Facebook friends post something along the lines of, “I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents…”? It’s a hoax, actually, but Facebook is under investigation for its data deals. That is something we should all be thinking about. So, while you shouldn’t be quick to believe that Facebook owns anything you’ve ever shared on its platform, you also shouldn’t presume it’s not sharing it with others.
In terms of social media content, the waters are awfully murky. When you have your own website, you can rest assured that, yes, you own its content and images. Your website is yours. Facebook and other social media sites belong to, well, them.
Whatever you do, keep your social media.
Should you delete your Facebook Page? By all means, do not! Keep your social media. Keep investing time into it. Keep its activity robust, helpful, and entertaining. However, do not fully rely on it, as though it will provide you the same benefits as a website would. It will not and probably never will.
Social media should be used as a marketing tool to drive traffic to your website. Your website should be the center of your digital universe—the platform you use to funnel leads, make a sale, share company news, promote an event, collect information, and communicate and engage with your customers or visitors.
If you find yourself running a business or nonprofit group, solely relying on social media and lacking a website, contact us and let’s talk about getting you the control, freedom, and ownership that you need to grow your organization. This way, the next time Facebook goes down (and it will happen again), your small business or charity group won’t even notice.