Would you build your home on someone else’s land? In most cases, no. Then why would you consider building your brand and online presence on someone else’s platform? Let’s be clear, I am “all in” with social media. I benefit almost every day from my involvement with the entire spectrum of social media tools and techniques. Some of you have taken a shortcut by using one of these social platforms as your ‘home’ page, your online base of operations. Bad idea.
You need a home base online that you control. A website or blog that you have full control over should be considered a ‘must-have’ for anyone today. I even go so far as to recommend acquiring domain names for each of your children. Grab them immediately, even if you have no plans for using them. Much better you control that domain name rather than someone else. I have written in the past here and here about my belief in acquiring as many of the domain names for yourself on the social media sites. In my case, I have claimed ownership of my name on the majority of social sites. If you want to reach me on Twitter, I will be @milesaustin. LinkedIn is linkedin.com/in/milesaustin, or Facebook at facebook.com/milesaustin. You get the idea. There are services that make this a very easy, wide and deep process, and for less than $100.00 that automatically obtain your desired name, if available on hundreds of sites. Whether you use you name, your company name, or even your brand, just grab them now. You will be thankful in the years ahead.
I watched this play out recently with a connection of mine that had built a considerable base of connections, articles, events and commentary on Biznik.com. Biznik focuses on the SMB and solo-preneur market, using social media capabilities while emphasizing face-to-face interaction. For reasons that are not important here, the individual was “kicked out” of Biznik because he did not follow some of the rules of the site. Fair enough. If you didn’t follow the rules, your gone. The problem is that all his articles, contacts, connections, comments, and goodwill that had built up over several years of active use was gone in an instant. Poof! Unfortunate loss of plenty of valuable information and his business activity is suffering from this loss of data in a significant way.
Own and control your own home base online. Do not put your business reputation and/or presence solely in the hands of someone else. LinkedIn is a terrific service, but not as your primary online presence. It is important that you are in control of the domain and the information contained within. This includes services like WordPress.com. It is a free and very easy to use service and I have used it myself in the past. There are many useful, informative businesses that are running on this free platform. They do not control their domain, WordPress does. Take the exact same data and content, buy a hosted site and import it into a WordPress.org site. Are you really going to run your business on someone else’s property?
The key points are:
- Own your domain names.
- Secure your names on all the available sites
- Own your main online home base.
- Own and control your own data.
I hope you share your experiences and suggestions and comments with the rest of us below.