Not too long ago Facebook released it’s latest stats saying it now has over 900 million members. While this is a very impressive milestone, there is one thing I hear from people that makes me want to simply bang my head against my desk is a statement similar to the following one:
Websites and SEO are dead! They are now being replaced by Facebook.
Say what? Last time I checked, my site here is still alive and thriving and the number one marketing tool for generating income. I’ve got a fantastic Facebook page with a wonderful Facebook app that was built by my friend Mike Mueller. I update these regularly and they do help my business. But, I do not focus my energy on driving traffic to this Facebook page. Instead I try using Facebook and any other social networks that I am on to drive those readers to my WordPress site.
Why? Well, it is pretty simple. Facebook, Twitter, and any other social networks that you use are not owned by you. Even if you purchased shares in Facebook, you still don’t own the space you use there and run the risk of being shut down or deleted at any moment if you do something wrong, or get accidentally caught in a glitch of the system. It’s like renting a home. You may want to paint the walls in the house green, but if the landlord says no, you can’t do it.
Better yet, what if Facebook changes something you don’t like. Where do you send your complaint? Does your complaint get addressed in a timely manner? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never once got someone on the phone or by email from Facebook to actually speak to me directly. I was told once that in order to get a personal account representative at Facebook you need to be advertising on their platform and spending around $10,000 per month. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t have quite that type of money available.
The fact of the matter is that they are going to do whatever they want and you don’t have much say. I laugh whenever they make a change to design or features. Almost instantly a new page on Facebook is created complaining about the change that picks up a few million fans hoping that if they band together they can get things changed. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen, but at least misery has company.
Shift Your Home Base
Instead of focusing all your energy on building a large following on Facebook or another social network, you need to direct all that energy and time to building traffic on your website. It’s the only thing out there that you in control of. If you have a custom WordPress site and you want to add a feature to the design, you can. If you don’t want a feature available anymore, you simply log in and delete it. It is your home base that you can claim ownership over and not have to worry about losing at any moment as long as you continue to pay for your domain registration and hosting plan.
This is where most of your time should be spent. Not on sites that could disappear at any moment.
Here’s where I see a lot of mistakes. We spend our time trying to drive our traffic to like us or follow us on a particular network. It might work well right now, but if you put all your efforts into driving your readers all to a Facebook page that is shut down all of a sudden, they are lost the minute the page dies. Instead, if your readers are in the habit of coming to your website and your page gets shut down, the loss is very minimal.
Maybe you are thinking that I am just being negative by all this talk of pages being shut down, so let’s shift gears a moment. Unless you have a custom app on Facebook, how does someone view your products, make a purchase or even simply contact you about making a purchase? It’s virtually impossible to do so. If a consumer wants to make a purchase, they would at some point need to be pushed to a website to do so.
Your website is where your products or services can be featured. It’s where I can learn more about your business. It’s also the one component of your online marketing that has lasting power. Blog posts I wrote four year ago still bring me business today. Facebook and Twitter status rarely live past 24 hours.
So, before you begin focusing more time and effort into building a large group on a social network, or platform that isn’t your main website, realize that you are using a platform that is here today and could be gone tomorrow.