Here at Lucy & Emma HQ, we’re all about what you say and how you say it. While many content experts worry about the media, channels and platforms you can use, we focus more on helping you find your voice and amplifying it with clear and compelling content.
Except when the media or platform becomes a critical factor.
The media you use must be appropriate and aligned with your message. If it isn’t, you run a real risk of reputational damage. We’ll talk more about that in another blog, but a big news item this week has prompted us to talk about the crucial importance of control when it comes to the media you choose for your business.
This week, Facebook became the story rather than the platform. In perhaps its biggest outage ever, the Facebook family (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp) suffered an outage that left people all around the world unable to use the apps for more than 14 hours.
THE BUSINESS RISK
Social users were frustrated enough…but for business owners, this sparked genuine horror. People talked about losing revenue, having online conversations about deals disrupted, and watching their social media plans left hanging.
Of course, we are big fans of social media. A growing chunk of our business is online, and Facebook and Instagram are vital to our media mix. And so the scale and reach of this outage was a salient reminder to us as well as to you as business owners…a salient reminder about who controls our communication.
Facebook alone has tens of millions of active small business pages. Online platforms such as the Facebook family, Pinterest, Etsy, etc have not only revolutionised the way we do business…they’ve made it possible for millions of people to do business in the first place. After all, a Facebook business page is free, easy to create, and gives you potential access to more than two billion people around the world. What’s not to like?
Some would point to its algorithms in answer to that question. Your reach depends on the engagement you get, and the algorithms are changed from time to time. There are some very knowledgeable experts out there who focus entirely on this, so for us – as communication coaches – the biggest issue is about your brand experience and your content control.
WEBSITE VERSUS SOCIAL MEDIA?
So, should you have your own website? Is it worth the investment when third-party platforms are available for free?
We think so, and here are a few reasons why:
- You can do a lot to show your visual brand (the language you use, your tone of voice, the imagery that represents you) on third-party platforms, but remember that your Facebook page will always look and feel like a Facebook page. On your own website, you control the look and feel of every element.
- The information you share about yourself, your business and your products will be structured for you. On your own website, you can help and prompt your visitors to navigate in a way that suits your story and your offer.
- Search engines might find your Facebook page, but with your own website you can (and must) tailor your content to maximise SEO (search engine optimisation – ways to make sure potential customers find you easily, quickly, and instead of your competitors).
- Other distractions are outside of our control on a platform like Facebook. Those clever algorithms recognise what your followers are interested in and give them more of the same alongside your content – adverts from your competitors, for example, or for products and services that you might consider incongruent with your business. Yes, there is room for all of us in this big global village – but your own website gives you control over what your customers see while they are visiting you, at least.
- And finally, we’ve even heard stories of people locked out of their own pages, and of pages being closed down. These instances might be rare, but they are another reminder that Facebook controls its site, not its page ‘owners’ – you’re essentially displaying your wares in someone else’s shop.
In summary, then, we love social media – and we include it in our own media plan as well as helping our clients make the most of it in their business communication.
But we see social media as a vital part of the picture, not the single answer. This week’s Facebook outage, and the impact this had on thousands and thousands of users, reminds us how important it is for you to have a well balanced and aligned media mix.
Next week it’s World Storytelling Day, which gives us the best excuse to talk about one of our favourite subjects. Check out next week’s blog for some techniques to power up your business content with the impact and memorability that a storytelling approach will give you. In fact, why not sign up for the blog, to have a weekly dish of hints and tips served up to your inbox every week – make sure you never miss a thing!
See you next week,