Reasons your business needs to own it’s platform – AKA why counsellors still need a website
Yes, I’ve got a vested interest in designing and building websites. But aside from keeping myself in baked beans, there are some huge reasons why your business needs to own its platform and not rely on Facebook, YouTube or other systems.
You need to build your own database
With your own platform like a website, you can build a list of customers or interested parties by collecting email addresses. The customer’s relationship is then with your business, not a massive company that plays fast and loose with everyone’s data.
You can build greater trust with a direct relationship and market to them at low cost using an email newsletter system (often free for small volumes), not paying advertising fees to the ‘free’ platform that is gatekeeping all ‘your’ customer’s details.
Post to your own site first
Using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc is fine to promote your content. Make sure you post it to your website first however, and then link to it on the other networks. If you lose ‘your’ page or the platforms change their rules and you lose visibility for whatever reason, your content is still there on your website.
Don’t just post to other people’s platforms and neglect your own website. It’s easy, but it’s benefiting other businesses before it’s benefiting yours. Those huge posts on LinkedIn? Better to put that on your own website to improve your search engine traffic and then post a link on LinkedIn, than help LinkedIn out by posting it on their platform.
“If you’re not paying, you are the product”
Free platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube exist to sell advertising. They offer their platform to users for free, and then build to the point where hopefully they start making money from advertising. The problem with this is that the advertisers are able to pressure the platform (or they self censor) into allowing what they want.
If your business isn’t a squeaky clean corporate product or service, you run the risk of ‘your’ page getting censored or even deleted. All those ‘likes’ and ‘follows’? Gone. You don’t have your customer data and that audience you spent months or years building has now gone. Free to use, shareholder driven platforms are constantly trying to squeeze more money out of everyone and your business can get caught in the crossfire.
“Algorithm” changes that decide who sees what can also trash your visibility, and can come without warning as they did with Facebook and Instagram recently. Do you want your potential clients to suddenly stop seeing your posts?
The platforms are also politically and/or economically active and pursuing their own agendas behind the scenes. The recent backlash against Facebook illustrates this, with droves of people leaving after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Same again, ‘your’ audience can suddenly disappear.
Also, thousands of followers are of little benefit to your business if they’re not paying clients.
Relying on free to use platforms is a risk to your business as your business can quickly lose visibility, you don’t have a direct relationship with your actual and potential customers or clients and you may be neglecting your own long term marketing by taking the easy option and posting to social networks instead of your own site.