Earlier this week, Facebook and Instagram were offline for the majority of the day. While Twitter was full of conspiracy theories and memes, the unplanned downtime was devastating for freelancers and small businesses across the country. Far too many companies rely on Facebook and Instagram as their business’s sole online presence. For reasons evidenced this week and others shared here, Facebook is not the solution for freelancers and small businesses.
My wife and I were on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina last week. While searching for restaurants to eat, I searched in the Maps app and then clicked on businesses websites. Only one restaurant had an actual website; every other one used Facebook.
Facebook reports that over 90 million small businesses have pages on the platform. Far too many of those businesses solely use the platform for their online presence. I have a Facebook page and Instagram account for my freelance business, but they are secondary (maybe even tertiary) in my marketing strategy. My website is the main focus and home to all my content.
Earlier this year, I moved all of my writing from Medium to a self-hosted WordPress website. As I expand my freelancing business, I wanted to ensure everything I’ve written is available in a place I control. Medium could evaporate tomorrow or experience a prolonged downtime as Facebook did. Should that occur, I don’t want to lose everything I’ve ever created.
There’s something to be said for diversifying your online presence as a freelance writer. Facebook is not the solution. Instagram is not the solution. They can supplement and enhance your online marketing, but do not rely on them. When it comes to content ownership, you should be the only one with control.
Creating a dedicated website and online presence for your business is not difficult. Take the time to invest in yourself and ensure a platform’s downtime doesn’t cause your business to fail.