February 5, 2016

Work for yourself, not Facebook. The dangers of Digital Sharecropping.

You see it all the time, new cool shop opens on the high street, shop gets busy, landlord up's rent, shop closes. What's the moral of the story?


Building a sustainable business on someone else's property does not work.

Sharecropping didn't work for farmers shortly after the U.S Civil War and it won't work for you. The landlord's decision to up the rent killed the business model overnight.

A modern-day equivalent is a business relying too heavily on social media to bring in all of your new customers, known as digital sharecropping. Here are a few things to consider...


Their business is not your business

Facebook's priority is growing Facebook's business, not yours. From time to time if those priorities line up, you could benefit too - there are many benefits to using Social Media for your business after all. However, if their priorities change, and say for example, Facebook decide they don't like Groups anymore or Google+ like Hangouts, and your business relies on them, then you could lose out big time.


Their business is volatile

Remember mySpace? Me neither. Seriously though, small businesses invested their collective millions into their mySpace pages only for them to dwindle and die. Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn may buck that trend, but you are taking a risk hedging your business on the success of their business.


But, their business is still worth it

Social media pages, eBay stores etc are still good for business, but to get the most benefit businesses need to realise they are an extension of their marketing activity and treat them as such. Your primary asset is your website and it should always take priority.

Once you make this adjustment in your thinking, the good news is that everything else is within your control. So if something happens to any of your social networks or a third party online store you are using, your business will not automatically be under threat.

So, how do you think you are doing developing your own mix of marketing assets? Have you got a good balance, do you feel in control? Let us know in the comments.

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