You Don’t Own Your Social Profiles
Every now and then I come across a blog post or article recommending that website owner ditch their company website in favor of their Facebook profile page. The argument is that Facebook is really the driving force behind your consumers’ online actions, so why waste your time on a website when your audience is always hanging out on social networks? While having a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (for B2B businesses) and Google+ account is incredibly important, site owners can’t rely on their social profiles to keep their online brand alive. The main reason—you don’t really own your social profiles.
Think of Facebook like a giant apartment complex and your brand page like one of the many, many apartments. When you move in you agree to abide by certain terms and conditions. If you fail to abide by those rules, the landlord (Facebook) has the right to kick you out. They dictate if you can paint the walls, how many guests you’re allowed to have over at one time, pets or no pets—and at the end of the day they still own the apartment; you’re just renting and they aren’t required to renew the lease if they don’t want to. Now, in the real world everything inside the apartment would still belong to you even if the landlord did kick you out. However, in the world of Facebook you don’t have that luxury. All your content, your fans, your conversations—everything is the property of Facebook. If they delete your page (for whatever reason) you lose everything.
Social media profiles should not serve as replacements for your website or your company blog. Your website and company blog are really the only two places on the entire Internet where you have 100% control of your brand and your messaging. Think about it—even on local listing sites like Yelp consumers can post reviews and rate your business. If someone leaves a particularly scathing review there is really nothing you can do about it except try to put out any subsequent fires.
Social networking sites actually place the majority of the power in the hands of the consumer. They have the ability to say whatever they want about your brand and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Yes, you can monitor what is said on your own wall but your control stops there. Users can say just about anything they want and share whatever content they’d like on their own pages, which means your brand is in their hands. Unlike most other forms of marketing, social media marketing is about having conversations with your audience; your company isn’t always the one in charge of that conversation.
Facebook has rolled out its fair share of design changes in the last few years. Just a few weeks ago they forced all business pages to adopt the new timeline design. Would your web designer be able to completely revamp the look of your website without your approval? I don’t think so! This just further illustrates the point that you don’t really own your social profiles—the social networks do. Placing your entire online existence in the hands of the social networking sites leaves your brand in a vulnerable position. What happens if Facebook decided to delete your page? Your entire online brand presence would vanish with it.