I read a great article this week from CopyBlogger that reminded me of how dangerous “digital sharecropping” can be for your online marketing.
You may not have come across the term, so I’ll explain…
“Digital Sharecropping” is building your business on someone else’s land. In the digital world that means relying on Faceboook, Google+ or any other social media network as the SOLE basis for your online presence.
CopyBlogger explain the origins of sharecropping as follows (I quote):
“The term sharecropping refers to the farming practices common after the U.S. Civil War, but it’s essentially the same thing as feudalism. A big landholder allows individual farmers to work their land, and takes most of the profits generated from the crops.
The landlord has all the control. If he decides to get rid of you, you lose your livelihood. If he decides to raise his fees, you go a little hungrier. You do all the work and the landlord gets most of the profit, leaving you a pittance to eke out a living on”.
You can see how this works in a very similar way in terms of relying on third party platforms for your online presence…
Maybe you got so excited by Facebook Pages and the potential for generating new business that you decided to ditch the idea of building your own website at all. (After all, don’t “those in the know” keep saying that people don’t want to follow external links that lead them away from the Facebook platform – so why take the risk?)
Relying on a third party to nurture your business is a very dodgy thing to do – especially when the company in question makes major changes to it’s platform at the drop of a hat (think the Facebook move away from fbml to iFrames earlier this year that changed the whole way that “Welcome” landing pages are created).
It’s also important not forgot who actually OWNS the content when you rely on another company’s platform – remember all the furore around Facebook requiring you to “opt out” if you didn’t want them to use your content in Facebook advertising!
Creating an online hub that you are in complete control of is essential to building your online brand. This hub should NOT be at the mercy of another company’s strategy. After all it is YOUR business, so doesn’t it make complete sense that YOU are in control of how people see you on the web?
Social media platforms are not in themselves a bad thing – they simply need to be PART of your online marketing, not the ONLY way your business is seen online. Think of your website as your hub and the social media platforms you use as spokes that lead back to the hub of your wheel, the centre of your business.
If you need help with creating your online hub please get in touch – I’m here to help: from creating a bespoke strategy that work for your business, to setting up your online presence, and training you to manage it easily yourself so YOU are in charge).
Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan