Your parent’s house is full of fond memories and nostalgia. You were raised there, you figured out who you are there, you played spin-the-bottle with your friends there. But now you’re all grown up and you need to strike out on your own and move on to something bigger and better.
One of the first things I suggest to someone trying to build a brand or company or side hustle or what-have-you is to stop limiting yourself to Facebook. That may be how you started off, and maybe it has been good to you, but in order to eventually grow your operation, you need something more. I don’t care if you are a photographer, fitness coach, entrepreneur, network marketer (looking at you essential oil and candle people), you cannot exist solely on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Pinterest. While I would never suggest that you avoid those spaces (of course you need social media. Don’t be ridiculous), you need to own and control your own space. Por Que? You ask? Let me explain why you need your own space.
Don’t build on rented land
Joe Pulizzi (if you have no idea who that is, don’t feel bad, but he’s kind of a big deal so look him up here) explained the danger of building on rented land in his podcast, and I’m paraphrasing here so bear with me: When you build on rented land you don’t control what happens to your house. One day the owner could come in and arbitrarily kick you out, demolish your house and everything you have worked so hard to build. Or they could raise your rent to a level you can’t possibly afford, again, forcing you out of your home. In this case, your content and your brand and your audience are all “your home.” When you establish that home on Facebook or Linkedin, you have no say in what happens. One day Facebook could just up and vanish (we all know it won’t. But humor me) and with it, all your posts, pictures, and most importantly your audience. Facebook
could decide has decided that they are going to put limits on a business site’s reach. Meaning just because 10,00000 people who have liked your page, doesn’t mean they are all going to see every post you make.
According to Hubspot (another amazing marketing resource you should bookmark and visit often) when 2012 rolled around, Page managers learned that only a fraction of their Facebook fans — 16% on average— were seeing their Page posts in their News Feeds. And that fraction has only gotten smaller and smaller since. Why work really really hard on creating amazing content, producing high-quality videos, or trying to keep your audience engaged when many of those that “like” your site are probably not seeing what you publish? Facebook is a vital part of your marketing strategy, but it should not BE your marketing strategy.
Use Facebook to send people to your site. Use Facebook to communicate with and engage your audience. Answer questions. Stream live video. Have contests. But at the end of the day make sure your audience is coming back to the platform you control. Facebook is a vital part of your marketing strategy, but it should not BE your marketing strategy.
Capice? Capeesh? Get it?
Emails. You should be collecting them. And sending them.
Another benefit to owning your own platform is the ability to use pops and offers of freebies to collect email addresses. Yes, I know you can do it with Facebook too. Don’t roll your eyes at me. But chances are you aren’t doing it. Or, if you are, you are probably paying for it with sponsored posts. Look, again, I’m not saying don’t do it on Facebook. You totally should. But why not have your posts and videos and all that interesting content you are creating lead back to your OWN website where you can offer them even more awesome content in exchange for their email? Are you a Pinterest fiend? Does Pinterest give you the ability to collect email addresses from the people that are following your boards? Can you market to all the people repinning your pins? Send your Pinterest audience to your awesome website where they will see so much killer content it will make their heads spin and then they will gladly sign up to receive your newsletter!
Oh. You don’t have a newsletter with Facebook? You don’t have a custom-tailored message for your customers? Ok. No problem. Now is the time to start. Another benefit to “owning your own land” is that you can collect emails and sort them into groups depending on which stage of the “buyer’s journey” they are in. You can customize your message to each group so you aren’t sending Subscribe Now! messages to those already in your newsletter group. Likewise, you don’t want to try and sell a product to someone in the “just looking around” phase either. Different groups require different messages, but you should be engaging with your audience via email. Start. Now.
Another benefit to creating an email newsletter is you can sell stuff in it! YES! As your blog or site starts to become more popular you can monetize your site through affiliate links. In addition to the links you use on your site, you can tastefully add links for products in all of your email campaigns. But here’s the thing. Don’t be spammy. Don’t destroy the trust of your audience in order to sell a few products. As a consumer, you’d see right through that crap. So will your audience. No one likes to be sold to. Only recommend products you have/ would actually use. Don’t talk at your audience, cater to them and find products that you feel would genuinely improve their lives. Ok. That’s enough of my affiliate rant.
There are many reasons why Facebook can be hugely beneficial to building your brand and attracting business. As a small business, entrepreneur, or solopreneur, you need to establish a presence on Facebook. People just expect it. But it should not be where you put down roots and dig in for the long haul. Facebook should be a tactic in a much larger marketing strategy.