Facebook is cool. I think I’ll just hang out there.
I don’t have a lot of time for social media and Twitter only takes me 10 minutes a day.
I’ve built a huge network on LinkedIn and it’s my main marketing strategy.
As a blogger and content marketing specialist, I hear this all the time.
Writers, authors and small biz owners love the ease of social media sites. They don’t have to spend tons of time (although sometimes they do). And that frees up more minutes and hours for what’s important: writing that book, developing that product, selling those services.
I get that.
I really do.
After all, if you don’t do the hard work, your book—or your business—will die.
Social media is the new marketing
Social media tools have made promoting our work easier. We don’t have to go out into the world as much because the world comes to us. We can pop into Facebook or Twitter for a few minutes every day and our marketing takes care of itself, right?
Well, yes, but it comes with some risks.
Other social media platforms are just that. Other people’s platforms. If you make Facebook or Twitter the home base of your operations, you are giving up some control of your marketing message.
And that’s not always a good thing.
5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Make Facebook or Twitter Your Home Base
Your platform is where it all takes place. It’s where you talk about your work, whether it’s your products, your services or your book. It’s where you collect and engage readers—and build a loyal fan base.
To make that work, you need a hub—a home base.
A place to put your content that is your own. A place to connect with readers and develop a subscriber list so you can continue to communicate with them.
Here are just 5 of the reasons why Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn may not be the best home base.
1. You don’t have full control over the delivery of your content.
Though Facebook and Twitter don’t actually own your content, they own access to it. If you place your content on someone else’s platform, you are giving them control over who sees it and when.
In its Terms of Service, Facebook tells us that they have a “non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to use any content we post. Add the fact that Facebook and Twitter have the right to (and often do) change their fine print policies and you have a potentially troublesome situation.
What’s the answer?
Make sure you are not posting your full content solely on a platform like Facebook. And be sure you are not hosting your blog in someone else’s space (WordPress.com. Blogger, etc.). because they have the power to make all your posts disappear at the flick of a switch.
I was having a conversation with some readers of the Writer Unboxed blog not too long ago and that very same day, Blogger failed—was offline for an entire day—and the readers who were blogging on that platform were worried (there were rumors that it was going to be permanent).
It was okay and back up by the next day, but you never know.
2. You lose your brand identity.
You may be the one talking on Facebook or Twitter but the brand is theirs, not yours. People remember the Facebook name and logo better than they retain your name as an author or business owner.
Is that what you want them to remember when they read your stuff?
A blog or website is an effective way to build your brand. To get your personality out there. To create a look, style and tone that is uniquely yours.
3. Your network of followers is not really yours.
This one is huge.
Whether you have an account on Facebook or Twitter or somewhere else, the people you are building relationships with—and their email connections—belong to that platform, not to you. If Facebook decides to close your account, or if you choose to leave, you don’t have a way to communicate with those people anymore.
One of my colleagues built a network of more than 1,000 rabid followers on a popular business networking site. He lost all those contacts when they accused him of violating their terms of service and closed his account.
Tough lesson to learn. Better to post excerpts of your content on these sites but direct people back to your blog or website and build your list there, where you have more control.
4. You have limited messaging space.
With their word count limitations, Facebook and Twitter work much better to point readers to your full content. I use them to post brief tips and teasers to draw people to my content.
Where is that content? On my home base, of course.
On my blog.
5. You don’t have anywhere to send the traffic and convert readers into fans.
One of the main benefits of a social media presence is to cultivate a following. To do that, you need to lead them back to your own space—to your blog or website—and ask them to do something.
You might want them to sign up for a webinar or study group, subscribe to your e-newsletter, opt in for electronic delievery of your blog posts or something else. The point, of course, is to be able to contact your readers, which they give you permission to do when they give you their email addresses.
What about you?
Do you only use Facebook or Twitter to promote or do you have a blog or other home base, too?
How is your plan working for you? Anything to add here?
This post was revised from a post CatsEyeWriter originally published on the Writer Unboxed blog on May 10, 2011.