Over at our FaceBook Page, we're having an interesting discussion about FaceBook's change yesterday from “Become A Fan” to “Like,” and back to “Become A Fan” again. It seems that, once again, FaceBook is making changes without giving us small business owners any advance notice. And people don't like it. But what do you expect? “He who owns the gold makes the rules, right?” It's not fair, but it is what it is.
And don't forget that Twitter is in the process of adding Promoted Tweets. And Ning announced last week that it is phasing out its free service so it can focus on enhancing services offered to premium network users. (I already use their premium service at my social networking site — in part because I saw the transition coming a long time ago and I didn't want to build my network relying on a free service.)
All of this adds up to one thing: to the extent you can, you have to own your own branded core marketing outlets. Period.
Own Your Core Marketing Content
Use FaceBook. Use Posterous. Use Twitter. Use them all. (I obviously do.) But I also have this blog and my newsletter, and my radio show. And I don't rely totally on YouTube for my videos — I pay WordPress to host them here so if anything happens to YouTube, I'm not stuck without my content. I don't rely on third parties to control and maintain how I reach out to my customers, clients, members, friends, and other people who matter to me and to whom I matter.
I know you can't own everything. But you can develop a branded content strategy that will fee your business as it grows. Money is tight, I know, and all of us enjoy using free (or mostly free) services to build our businesses. But while you can't own everything you use, you can own some of the things you use. It's your brand, and in order to grow it, you have to invest in it. Why should FaceBook invest more in your business than you do?
The Media Is You!
You are responsible for the proliferation of your brand, not FaceBook or Twitter or any of the rest of them.
So the next time FaceBook does something you don't like, remember what's going on. You don't own FaceBook, and you don't own your FaceBook Fan Page. How could you? It's free. You're not paying for it. FaceBook's owners are simply managing their business so they can be as profitable as possible. You should do the same.
Own your newsletter. Own your blog. Carve out time to comment at other blogs, which comments of course link back to your blog.
While you're thinking about this, you might also enjoy this Indie Business TV segment I recorded one day last year when Twitter and FaceBook were both down at the same time.
Question: Do you own your core marketing outlets and content? If not, what are you going to do about that?