You've probably heard the experts say, "You don't own Facebook so you shouldn't put all of your eggs in one basket." What does that even mean?
Obviously, you know you don't own Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Here's the skinny...
If you're relying on social media to communicate with customers, take orders through messenger, sell products, and market your business this is fabulous. But, it can't be the only place you spend your time and money.
The social media platforms can change in a New York minute without notice. This means some of the features you're relying on to "operate" your small business could be taken away. Even worse, they could take your business profile down for violating policies you may not even be aware of (because who really reads all of that legal stuff).
What would you do if that happened? Would customers still be able to learn from you, to order from you, to contact you? As long as you have other avenues for them to contact you and to learn about you, you're probably in pretty good shape.
But social media continues to change and will continue to change. What doesn't have to change is your email address and your website address. There is no excuse for any small business to not have both (insert tough-love tone of voice here).
I cover all of this and help you understand why these weird statements are so important to embrace. Let's talk about why you can't only rely on social media to run your small business.
Links Mentioned in this Episode:
Episode 4: What the heck is the social media algorithm?
DIY Marketing With Melanie Facebook Group
Read the Full Transcript:
Hey there, this is the DIY Marketing School Podcast. I am your host and your marketing coach, Melanie Dyann Howe. Today I'm going to help you get a better understanding of what people mean when they say you don't own social media. They also might say, “Don't put all your eggs in one basket.” What in the heck do they mean by that? Well, I'm going to answer that for you.
What is up my friends? So today, I'm going to explain what people mean when they say you don't own Facebook, or you don't own social media. People say this a lot. And we hear it a lot. And I have come to the realization that not everybody really understands what the heck this even means. Like, you know, what do they mean when they say I don't own Facebook? Obviously, I don't own Facebook, but why are they telling me that? Why are people saying, you know, I can't, you know, I gotta think about my marketing in all these different ways. And they keep saying you don't own your social media. Why do they tell me that, Melanie? So today, I'm going to tell you what they mean by that. And when I say “they,” I mean, me, too.
So here's the deal. Let's just break it down. Really the basics, okay… All these platforms, social media platforms, you know – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, – there's so many... They are obviously all platforms that are really…they’re software platforms, okay, they’re apps, they’re websites. And we know that, you know, Facebook, for example, owns some of the other platforms, Instagram being the most popular. We know that YouTube is owned by Google, okay. So I'm not talking about the ownership in that aspect. We don't mean, like, you don't mean own it, like meaning like you didn't create it, you're not the, you know, the owner of these platforms. When we say you don't own the platform, what we mean is, you're not in control, you have no control. And I know that might even sound confusing, because you're like, “Well, obviously, I'm in control. I can, you know, change my cover photo, and I can choose what my profile picture needs to be. And I can decide whether I'm going to post or not post or whatever… clearly I'm in control.” You are absolutely in control of how you utilize these platforms, but you're not in control of the platforms themselves. And what we mean by that is, you know, Facebook can change the game any time they want, because it's their platform. So if they decide, for example, that they're going to give us a feature, and they maybe are kind of seeing how it goes, and then they decide, you know what, this is causing too many complications, there's actually issues here, and then they take that feature away… That is an example of how we don't own Facebook, like they're in control. They can decide what features we get, what features we don't get. And, you know, you may not be aware that even Facebook doesn't even roll out all of the features to everyone. There are times when they roll out features, and they roll them out to a very small group. And they have many different ways of how they decide who gets what and when. But they may roll a feature out to a small test group. And just to kind of see how it goes before they roll it out to everyone. A perfect example of this is Facebook Live. When Facebook Live first came out, not everybody had Facebook Live. And then came Facebook Audio Live, like, you could actually just do an audio live, no video at all… They did not roll those out to everyone when they first, you know, made them features. They rolled them out to a small group. It felt very random in regards to how they rolled those out. And then they rolled them out to more and then they made them global, meaning everyone had access to them. You know, there's all kinds of features actually. So we have polls on Facebook, we have, you know, instant messaging... There's so many different things that we can do the whole, you know, the GIF or the GIF (however you want to say it) that was also not, you know, available to everyone at first. And so these are just examples, you know, LinkedIn right now has “LinkedIn Live,” (I'm like literally throwing up air quotes right now). Because I'm not even, like, sure I believe that it really exists. Because I don't know if I've ever seen an actual LinkedIn live. But I do know that they have, you know, I see articles and I see people talk about it, like they've rolled it out to a very small, small user base. And there's even, like, an application… you can go online and apply to get LinkedIn Live. And then you get this support email that basically says, you know, “We get so many of these requests, we aren't going to handle them. But when you get it, you get it.” That's like literally what the email said back to me. Because, you know, I requested that, duh.
But, you know, here's my point – The point, when we say you don't own these platforms, is you cannot put all of your eggs in one basket. And what we mean by that is, you have to have ways of still handling some of these features to run your business outside of social media. Now, some examples that I'm using here are direct messaging, direct messaging is definitely a big feature. For some businesses, there are many businesses that I know where 90 percent of their orders or contracts (and when I say contracts, I mean like bookings), come through Facebook Messenger. And they're like, you know, that's how we do it. And I'm like, “What if Facebook all the sudden turned that feature off?” Like, you don't have a website… I mean, this company that I talked to (it’s been a while ago), they did not have a website at the time, and they were working on it, but they were taking forever to launch it. They just weren't… they really also were having a hard time justifying the cost, you know, they were very much a small startup business. And they were doing what they could, they were being scrappy, and I love that. But I was like you need to have, you need to focus on a website, you need to make sure you have at least a very, very simple landing page style website at a minimum that says who you are, has your address, and it has a way for people to contact you. Because if tomorrow Facebook turned off Messenger for business, I mean, they'd be screwed, like, they would literally be screwed, no one would even be able to call them, contact them at all, because all of their inquiries were through Messenger. And that's an example of how, you know, you got to be really careful when you put so many eggs in this basket, and in social media, of how you're operating your business or communicating. And, you know, for the most part, I'm talking to businesses who don't have a website, or are not utilizing business email. You know, this is mostly who I'm talking to. Because if, again, if these platforms turn off these features, or take these features away, or lo and behold, Facebook randomly decides to shut your page down, which it absolutely can happen – there are times that they will shut a page down for reasons that are unknown. There are times when they will shut a page down and lock a page down for reasons because it's been reported. And that reporting could be by, you know, some unruly angry customer, or a group of people who have decided to come together and try to sabotage your business, or it sometimes can be because of an error. I mean, there are times when they will turn an ad off or shut an ad or decline an ad or give you, you know, kind of, I guess, blackball you. And it's actually because of an error, and you have to wait on Facebook Support to get, you know, create a case for you. And then they have to research everything. And then they have to, like, look at everything before they say, ”Okay, yep, there's been a mistake, here's your page back.” That could take, you know, 48 hours or 48 days. Can you imagine not being able to communicate with any of your customers for 48 days?! That would be terrible. Especially if, you know, you are doing daily business, daily transactions, and your business relies on it. I mean, you know, especially in a short transaction period type of business where, you know, somebody is placing orders, and you're going and creating stuff and fulfilling those orders, especially. So, you know, that's an example. That's, a pretty scary example and a drastic one. But I'm not saying this to scare you. I'm saying this because this is a reality, it could happen. And it has happened to people that I know. And so it's a way for you to avoid this from, you know, being a problem for you is to make sure that you have backup processes and backup ways to communicate. And what I mean by that is simply, I want you to remember that social media, these platforms, is an additional tool. It should be an extra credit tool, an extra way for you to communicate, to expose yourself to get out there, to advertise, to nurture people, to have conversations with people. But your baseline foundational processes should be, you know, you should have a website, you should absolutely have a business email, you should have processes and procedures for customer service and communicating with people, you should have ways of reaching out to people, ways of responding and taking care of customers outside of social media. I want you to look at social media as, like, extra credit or icing on the cake, or just some extra fun fancy tools that you get to use. And they absolutely are huge. And they can make a huge difference. But you cannot put all of your eggs in those baskets. So I want you to make sure that if you don't, have these things set in place… Now if you're like, “Oh my gosh, I'm using a personal email!” – when I say personal I mean, your business isn't, you know, the domain is not the email address. You know, it's at Hotmail, at AOL, (those are old ones), you know, at Yahoo, at Gmail, it's at, you know, SPC global net, whatever they might be… you really need to have, you know, at companyname.com, at, you know, mywebsitename.com, whatever that is. And yeah, it's an additional, you know, cost. But it's as little as like $5 a month. I mean, really, that's not much. And if you tell me you can't afford $5 a month to have a business email, then I need you to actually find $5 per month. I need you to take $5 away from something else. I need you to not go out for lunch one day a month. I mean, literally, you can't even go to like Starbucks for $5, you can't go to Taco Bell for $5, you can find $5 a month to have a business email. You can find the money, it's important. You just need to make sure it's a priority, and you need to make it happen. The other thing is a website, you've got to have a website. I talk about this all the time about how, you know, social media is not really truly where we're supposed to be selling. It's an avenue, it's a place for us to bring leads in, to nurture people, to communicate what we do, to be interesting, to be fun, to let people into our personality. But really where the transaction should be happening is over on our website. Now, that doesn't mean that I'm going to tell you stop taking orders on Messenger if that's what's working for you. I just need you to also remember, like, you need, you really, ideally want people to go to your website and communicate with you through there, meaning, like, email, click on this button, send an email, place an order… you know, all those things. So that might mean you need to make a little investment to create a website that can support this process and the structure. And if you feel like you don't have that budget right now, then I need you to start making a budget for it, I need you to start prioritizing, get a budget, you need to be able to get a host to host your website. And then you need to be able to hire someone or DIY a website. There are so many ways. Now, I'm not going to talk about how you create a website on this episode. That's a whole ‘nother conversation. But I will say that anymore this day and age, there truly is no excuse for you not to have a website. You can have a website for a few hundred dollars. That's it! Like, you can literally have a website for a few hundred dollars. And is it going to be an amazing website? No, but it's better than nothing. Okay? And if you tell me that, that's all you can do right now, then that's fine. I want you to have something. If you wait three years for you to get a budget for a $3,000, $5,000, $10,000 website, that's three years of you going without a website. So get the landing page style website, which is just a one-page site, it says quickly what you do, it's got your branding, it's got a picture of you or whatever, it's got some, you know, maybe a call to action button that basically says “send us an email” or “call us” or “contact us,” and it opens up a contact window and it shoots you an email… If that's all you could do right now, then that's great, that's better than nothing. Because literally within the next three years, I guarantee social media will be different. The features will be different, the game will be different, people's behaviors on social media will be different. You cannot rely on these platforms to operate your business. You can rely on these platforms to enrich the operations of your business. You can rely on these platforms to enrich the customer experience of your business. You can rely on these platforms to enrich your communication strategy for your business. But you cannot rely on your platforms to conduct all of those operations and to be the only place where you're doing those operations. And that is what we mean when we say you can't put all your eggs in one basket.
You don't own social media, because you truly don't. Now technically, you don't own the website platforms. If you choose WordPress, or Wix, or Squarespace or any of those others, you don't own those either. But you own the files and you're in control. You're in control of whether or not you make the, you know, updates to those files, as the updates come across and whatnot. You own those a heck of a lot more than you own the social media platforms. And so, again, you need to have a business email, and you need to use that business email. You need to have a website and it needs to state what you do, and how to order, or buy, or call you, or conduct business with you. And it needs to have all your business information, your address, and whatnot. And those are the basic, basic, basic items that I need you to put in place outside of this. So again, if you don't have those things right now, I need you to make it your mission. I need you to put it on your to-do list, write it on a Post-it note, put it up in your office or somewhere, and I want you to look at it every day as a reminder, like, I need to get that in place. I need to get a plan in place, I need to make that happen. It's important because again, we don't know what Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube… we don't know what those look like tomorrow. We don't, they could change tomorrow. They could change tonight. And they could take features away. They could add complexities, they could change the algorithms – they will change the algorithms, they absolutely will -- if you didn't listen to my episode about algorithms, go and listen to it, I'll link to it in the show notes. But they will change it. And you want to be able to always have a home base that you're in control of. And that is your website. That is how you operate. That is how you communicate, that is your email. So that is what we mean. So next time you hear somebody say, you know, “You don't own social media,” and instead of saying, “No crap, you know, obviously I don't, what do you mean by that?” Now you know what those marketing experts and business experts mean when they say, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Don't just use social media to operate your business. How's that? I hope that was helpful.
Again, I always want to help you guys, I always want to answer those questions that are a little bit tricky, a little bit hard to understand. And I hope this was one of them. I know that I got a little passionate here and I got a little bit, you know, kind of not in your face, but I just, you know, I'm very passionate about this. This is important stuff. And so if you feel like, you know, I was kind of giving you a little tough love there, if you're one of those people that has been resisting this, then I hope you take it, I hope you take it because I believe strongly in this that you have to have a website. Social media drives traffic to your website, that should be the objective. That's what I got for today, my friends. If you haven't already, please subscribe to this podcast!
I am actually loving this… doing this, creating this content for you guys. And I don't want you to miss an episode. And if you are enjoying it, and getting value, you know what, you can help me… You can leave a review for me. I love the feedback. I love listening and hearing what you guys think. So leave a review on your favorite platform. And then lastly, if you want to take the conversation further and join other DIY marketers like you navigating this world of digital marketing, and small business and all these things, then I want you to hop on Facebook and I want you to search DIY Marketing with Melanie. It's my free Facebook group. It's a community of other DIYers like you and we are there to support each other. I like to do additional trainings in there, additional facilitation of conversations. And it's just a great place for you to know you're not alone. And you can ask any question at any time. We share wins. We help each other out. It's a great community. I love it. I'd love for you to join us. So just search DIY Marketing with Melanie and request access and answer those couple of questions and we'll see you in there, sounds good? Alright, have a great day and go be awesome!