Today, Facebook has just made the bombshell decision to ban the sharing of news in Australia. This is what Facebook announced:
In response to Australian government legislation, Facebook restricts the posting of news links and all posts from news Pages in Australia. Globally, the posting and sharing of news links from Australian publications is restricted.
Unfortunately, Facebook’s news ban is done by software algorithms, which inadvertently harmed small businesses. As this ABC news article reported,
Facebook pages of small businesses were also affected.
Sallie Jones from Gippsland Jersey said her dairy business’s Facebook posts had been deleted, and it remains offline as of Thursday afternoon.
“For us not to have Facebook in the first place, which I’m totally freaking out about, but the function of not to be able to share the news links, it’s just so disappointing to us as a company,” she said.
Ms Jones said she’d grown her business reach through social media, including by sharing stories from news outlets.
“I actually don’t know what to do because we’ve built our whole business on Facebook and Instagram and as a start-up little milk brand, so we’ve relied very much relied on sharing content,” she said.
Look carefully at what I have highlighted in bold in the quote above. There is a lesson to be learned here.
If a Facebook/Instagram page is the primary online presence of your business, then you are tilling on rented land. Facebook is the lord while your business is the serf. As a serf, your business is completely under the whims and control of the Facebook lord. Facebook can destroy your business’s online presence in a flash, whether deliberately or accidentally. They can change the rules, change their algorithms or shift the goalpost anytime they want. If that is going to severely impact your business negatively, then too bad.
If you want to be the master of your own destiny, then your business needs its own castle, which is in the form of a website. Not only that, but you also need to have a strategy to make your website the focal point of your online presence. Rented land, in the form of a Facebook/Instagram page/group, cannot be the focal point of your online presence. You need to find a way to nudge and direct your leads, visitors and customers from the Facebook lord’s rented land towards your own castle (website).
If your business till primarily on rented land (Facebook/Instagram page), think about how much control you have already ceded to your Facebook lord:
- Your business’s customer/lead list belongs to Facebook. If your Facebook lord does not grant access to your own customer/lead list, you effectively have no means of contacting them directly.
- Facebook can make your business disappear in a second. Literally. Just ask Sallie Jones from Gippsland Jersey. You don’t own the legal title of your Facebook/Instagram page name.
- Every businesses’ Facebook/Instagram pages look the same. Other than the profile and header image, every page follows a similar look, feel, format and structure. Your business is being commoditised by the Facebook lord. As a commodity, it cannot stand out.
- Facebook can see all your communications to your customers, leads and visitors.
- Facebook can censor all your communications and decide what language is acceptable or not.
Contrast that with owning a website and making that website the focal point of your business:
- You own your customer/lead list. You have the means of contacting them directly. More importantly, your own customer/lead list is a business asset. A business asset has a tangible monetary value that gives your business a value. You can later sell your business if it has substantial business value.
- Nobody can make your business disappear forever. With a website, you own the legal title of your web domain. Even if your web-hosting company refuse service to your business, you have the right and option to shop around and move your online presence to another web hosting provider.
- You can decide how your business look like. You can design it any way you want, with its own look, feel, format and structure so that your business will stand out. Your business doesn’t have to be a commodity.
- Nobody can police and censor your communications to your customers and leads.
So, how do I get started with a website?
If your business does not have a website, you need to have one sooner rather than later. You need to have your own castle. So, how do you get started?
We recommend that you talk to the guys at Stratigus. They are a boutique web hosting company that provides personal service just like the good old days. The guys at Stratigus treat you like an individual. There, you can actually talk to experienced consultants who understand your needs as a small business owner and have the life-experiences and care to solve your business problems.
So, visit Stratigus now!