This is three times now in one week that a page I like on Facebook has been incapacitated in some way. It’s frustrating for both the entity and fans. I too have had the Facebook hammer of doom fall down on me. My personal profile has been suspended for impersonating myself. And even though I requested a verified badge for my New Adult author page a week ago, I’m still waiting to hear back. It’s times like these that remind us how very much we rely on Facebook for our businesses.
We all do it. The thing is, relying on any one platform is not a good practice—specifically because if something happens to that platform, your business is crushed. For example, when Facebook changed the visibility of pages’ posts, a lot of authors I know panicked because their readers weren’t seeing their posts as often anymore.
I used to be a social media consultant for small businesses and non-profits, and I spent a lot of time coaching my clients to treat their websites as their hub and their social media as the spokes. Everything you do should be funneling your audience into your website. Your website is truly the only thing you control. Your content is 100% yours. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc can change their policies or kill your account at any time, for any reason.
So, if your website is the hub of your business, your spokes are:
- social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)
- search engines (Google, Bing, etc)
- email list (Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, etc)
- and anything else you do to drive traffic to your site (traditional advertising, RSS, etc)
Arguably, you also have control over your email list (as you can always download your contacts and import them somewhere else).
If you’re finding that you’re greatly affected by changes that, say, Facebook makes, odds are that you’re relying too heavily on it and need to adjust your strategy. There are a few things you can do to change this.
- Use several different social media sites and grow them equally. If one goes down, you still have followers on the others.
- Incorporate SEO (search engine optimization) into your website. If you use a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, you’re probably already doing this without even realizing it.
- Use every opportunity to encourage your audience to join your email list. Offer an incentive, such as exclusive content, a special service (like rounding up your best articles in a given week), or a giveaway. Send regular emails to your list.
- Make your website a prominent part of your branding. If you hand out business cards, add your URL; if you run a radio ad spot, make sure you mention your dot com.
I’m sure I’ve missed something, so if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments!