Using rented media, like Facebook and Twitter, to build your business?

Duh! Who doesn’t?!

Smart, savvy business people, that’s who.

This Old MarketingThis may not be new news (John Battelle wrote his original article in 2014, then it was quickly reviewed by This Old Marketing with Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose), but it’s likely new to you. That’s because social media is so ingrained in our concept of marketing that the idea of getting rid of Facebook and Twitter is dismissed without taking the time to consider exactly what John Battelle was trying to say.

If you’re building your brand on rented media, you’re building your house on quicksand, and here’s why.

The rent’s going up

revenue-management-icon When places like Facebook first started inviting businesses to their website, they made so many promises. It was supposed to be a great way to build your brand because everything was set up for you. The best part was that Facebook already had millions of users, so it was only a matter of time before you amassed a huge following that you could then direct to your products and services.

The problem is, social media sites are expanding. In order to keep growing, these sites are now charging money for their services. That means your rent is likely to go up, if it hasn’t already.

Why shouldn’t you spend a couple of extra dollars to make sure your business is on social media? There are a couple of reasons:

• You could be spending your money on something else. Build an impressive website, pay for quality blog content, and make sure you have product and services ads on the internet instead.

• Social media sites can only capture a small portion of what your brand has to offer. Why pay for a service that doesn’t allow you to tell your brand’s story?

• Users don’t have to stay users. If someone who liked you on Facebook or followed you on Twitter decides to deactivate their account, you’ve lost your way to get in contact with that person.

The bottom line: Save your money and spend it on meaningful content that’s located on internet land that you own.

No successful brands build on other platforms

BuildBrandIf you want to look for a book on Amazon, you don’t visit their Facebook page. If you’re looking for the latest product from Apple, you aren’t going to search for them on Twitter. No successful brands build on other platforms.

Take a moment and think like a publisher. Why wouldn’t someone who’s publishing content want to publish their stuff on a social media site? The answer is that they don’t have complete control of the site. Policies change all the time. Why would you want to deal with all that?

You’re probably thinking, “I’m not a publisher! Why does that matter to me?” I’ve got news for you. You are a publisher. Go ahead and take a minute to let that sink in.

If you’re publishing any kind of content on the web, you’re a publisher, and a good publisher would never publish their content on a site that isn’t owned by them.


Does all this mean I shouldn’t use social media accounts at all?

Business design over white background, vector illustration.


Let’s take just a second to backtrack a bit. Social media accounts may have a place in your marketing strategy. They’re great for social sharing and building a fan base, but that’s all they’re good for. If you’re depending on social media to make sales, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Instead, the foundation of your business should be centered on your website. A website that you own. A website with predictable policies. A website that can’t randomly raise your rent whenever it wants to.

Use your website to interact with potential customers and hook them by posting outstanding articles on your blog. With any luck, they’ll sign up for your email newsletter and you’ll have a direct way to contact them.

By all means, connect and engage with your clients and customers on social media, but do not build your house there. The ground may look stable, but it’s only a matter of time before you’ll wish you built your brand on land you own.


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