Brace yourself: Facebook is trying to take over the world. Or, if not the world, at least the entire Internet. With Facebook partnering up with popular sites like Yelp, many SMB owners may feel as if their load got lighter. I mean, why waste time worrying about your building your blog or your own site when you can grow your Facebook presence instead? If Facebook’s opening up the doors so that people can take you with them, you don’t have to worry about anything else anymore, right?
It doesn’t matter how hot Facebook or any of the other social media sites are looking right now. You still need to be focused on using your blog to create your own authority and brand. Want to know why?
Here are ten reasons.
- You Don’t Own Facebook: Today, Facebook stands as a great marketing channel for small business owners looking to extend relationships or bridge social capital via Payvment . Sounds great today, but remember that a few years ago MySpace and Friendster were the hot social networks of the moment. You don’t see too many marketers making these sites part of their social strategies today. Why? Because users move on. Because these networks can be bought and sold. They shift focus. They stop lending themselves to social marketing. While it’s never smart to put all your eggs in one basket, it’s especially unwise to do it when you don’t even own the basket. Make sure you’re diversifying your marketing and using the channels you most control.
- Not Everyone Is Happy With Facebook: Google engineers are deleting their accounts (with obvious motive), users are angered by the new invasive approach, and Facebook has even caught the eye of four US Senators now asking them to take a step back. With regulators being asked to step in and force changes upon Facebook, no one knows what’s going to still be around tomorrow.
- Blogging Builds Your House, Not Theirs: The content you create and post to your blog acts to build your site and your authority. That’s where your focus should be – on building a community on the site that you own. Facebook and the other social media sites help you build satellite communities, which are great, but the goal is always to direct people back to your site to get them to convert. Continually posting great content builds your network and your brand. You don’t want to build a house for someone else (say, Facebook), while yours in jeopardy of falling down.
- Creates A Site Reservoir For Common Questions: By blogging about common product or service questions, it gives you a permanent place on your site to direct people for information. That means less phone calls into your customer service center and less frustration from customers who now have a place to go to get help to common concerns. Putting that content on your site means it becomes part of your archives, no one else’s.
- Additional Search Engine Rankings: Keeping focus on your blog means that you can write content specifically intended to gain rankings for keywords you’re not strongly targeted on your main site. It also means that your content and brand will continue to show up for targeted searches and that you’ll gain authority and visibility through those rankings. You may be able to get your Facebook profile to rank for your company name, but through your blog you can get specific pieces of content to rank for high conversion searches.
- Credibility: Blogging breeds thought leadership when your become known as the “Go To” source for a specific topic. Constantly sharing thoughts, insight, and information helps you show your own expertise on a particular subject expertise that is then associated with your blog and Web site. Posting information to Facebook segregates what you’re putting out to a walled garden and makes it harder for people to find it and associate it with your company. On Facebook, you only build credibility with the people who already know about you.
- Build Links: When you say something smart on your blog, people are going to link to your site and talk about you. The links then help to increase the overall authority of your site, earn you higher rankings and help other people find out about your site or blog. When you say something smart on Facebook, people are going to Like the status update. And then move on. Not quite the same effect.
- Centralized Content: Blogs allow you to utilized multiple types of content in one place. You can use images, video, audio, and graphics at whim without having to worry about whether or not Facebook will allow you to properly upload the content. This helps to present customers with a much more unified experiences and allows you to control your own marketing messages. You don’t get that level of control using a third-party site like Facebook or Twitter.
- Gives you something to link to: By creating content on your blog, it gives you something to link people to when you’re engaging on outside social networks. If you’re producing all your content on Twitter, then your Twitter accounts in the only tool in your bag. By strengthening your own site, you have a content-rich place to send people looking for information, either about your or the services that you offer.
- Better Conversion Tracking: While Facebook does allow some ability to track what people are doing and interacting with on your back, your blog gives you the greatest ability to track action and conversion potential. You’re ability to track people through your site, the types of content they most interact with, whether or not they’re clicking through to interior pages, etc. The more you know how someone is interacting with your site, the better you can customize their experience. Remember, the goal behind social media isn’t to be in social media. The goal is to increase conversions.
Though it can be attractive as a SMB owner to let social sites like Facebook or Twitter become your dominant Web presence, it comes with a high cost. The less time you spend building content and authority for your site, the more you make yourself dependent on tools that may one day fall away. And if Facebook or Twitter went away tomorrow – would you have enough seeds planted to attract your audience? Use sites like Facebook to build your audience and promote your brand, but your blog should still be the cornerstone of your social activity.
Great article, Lisa! You make some terrific points – especially: “Blogging Builds Your House, Not Theirs”.
FaceBook is definitely a powerhouse, but this is a good reminder to not get lazy and forget about building and maintaining your brand on your own terms.
Owning your own content (and the links and value it accrues) is reason enough to keep up the blog, but the additional conversion tracking is key. Conversions are how you make money. It’s what makes your business tick. How could someone NOT want total control and transparency over that?
Terrific reminders. It can be easy to get caught up in Facebook and forget the real value for clients and customers is the knowledge base that we can provide. Thank you for the helpful post!
Related to the first reason – FB can change the rules whenever they want. Ask any developer trying to build an app on the FB platform. Chances are they are frustrated with the lack of documentation and support. If you invested all of your time trying to market through FB and all of a sudden they started making fan pages harder to find, for example, then all that time you invested was wasted. I agree with Lisa – make it part of your marketing plan, but don’t make it your entire marketing plan.
Agreed on all these points! I’d also add on to points 1 & 2 – Call me cynical but Facebook does not have our (small business) best interests at heart. I’m not saying they should, but let’s be clear that they exist to create revenue leveraging us and our needs – sometimes this helps us, but sometimes it doesn’t. So certainly take advantage of what Facebook has to offer where possible, but meanwhile build your own blog and homebase with purpose and intention that has the needs of YOUR business at the forefront.
Lisa, you are absolutely correct! Actually, your first point said it all and the rest is just par for the course. Thanks for bringing all this in the open.
I also run a website and graphic design company and I tell my clients that all these websites are just tools to aid in the marketing of your company, they are NOT your company.
Case in point, for my fitness website, I have a site on Ning. Ning started out free, now they are going to charge across the board. Where does that leave some of their customers? out in the cold apparently.
so watch out, you just never know what all these “free” services are going to do, so it is much, much better to be in control of your own space.
So true Lisa…love your stuff!
Wow. Wow. Great post, great comments. Lots of cool retweets. Completely agree. Must have been hard to stop at 10… You make it hard for me to want to build out a FB presence, though… I know there’s value, but someone here at SmallBizTrends pointed out a while back that we SMBs want to avoid becoming digital sharecroppers…
Excellent post Lisa, thank you. Your points about external linking are right on. I actually do a lot of internal linking on my blog too, allowing readers to access complimentary video and audio content from one central repository (why not give them a choice about which form of media to use?). That’s just not possible to do in such an integrated way on Facebook.
Definitely food for thought!!!
Great article, thanks Lisa.
Lisa, I like this. I think number 10 is the most important IMHO. A good reminder 🙂
lmao @ reason #1: You Don’t own it ! hahahaa. My counter-intuitive nature is starting to give me the urge to RUN away from facebook! Your article was refreshing.
Excellent article, as always Lisa. I don’t think Facebook’s time in the sun is guaranteed to last any longer than MySpace’s. Anyone making it the lynchpin of their online marketing is going to be disappointed.
I find that a lot of my back links from Facebook are no follow. Is this something some can choose or does all Facebook links have no follow. I have 3 or 4 no follow links.
Improving Business Wireless
This is a great post about FaceBook. I know you can spend hours there and forget what you really want to write about.
I have heard they want to start charging a monthly FB fee. Now I am not sure if that is a rumor or not, but it would make several people very unhappy.
Facebook is really different from blogging to me. I do not use it for marketing, but as a way to connect with friends, not to sell them something.
You’ve written an excellent article, and I agree with everything you’ve said.
~ Kylie ~
That is so true; you can’t put all your eggs in one basket and I like the way the author said, “especially if you do not own the basket”. I have been posting in Facebook and I have no idea what good it is doing. It is the same way though with your blog. If you don’t own it like at blogger.com, you could lose everything. But thank you for this article for it feeds me some food for thought to consider.
http://www.homebusinesssteps.com (If you want to visit, just click but if it doesn’t work, copy and paste it onto your browser.)
Very, very good article.
Brian Kevin Johnston
Lisa- Thank You for the well written, content rich article..
“Blogging Builds Your House, Not Theirs” BINGO! Took me a while to wrap my head around this concept.. so true! Best, B-
Lisa: Great points! During my presentations and courses, I am stressing that your blog is the hub of your online activities due to the fact that you have the opportunity to attract traffic and readers to your own space.
You’re absolutely correct. There’s a lot of re-education that’s required if small business are to succeed nowadays.
I saw a survey recently carried out by Infoserve that claimed that 80% of businesses understood the importance of Google search rankings to attract traffic, but only a third questioned made the connection between high rankings and keeping their website content fresh.
Businesses really need to get a grip with this disconnect if they want to compete with the endless stream of content being produced online not just by competitors but by their own customers.
These days up-to-date information and a continuous generation content is simply what we expect, we’re used to it. Businesses, take note, your website’s only as good as its last refresh.
Business Heroes Blog
Excellent article. While Facebook is growing and popular right now, things can change. It is smart not top put all of your eggs in one basket, unless that basket happens to be your own.
Agreed to your points here. Facebook and Twitter are great avenues to build a buzz about your brand but blog is the place you can establish a thought leadership
Just when I consider giving up, the sun begins to peak through with your post, thank you so much and I’ll keep blogging!
Your Friend Bill at sleeponthecouch.com 🙂