Last week it was reported that Meta (Facebook) have threatened that they might pull their services from Europe.
This was found in their annual report, which was released on February 3rd. In it, Meta said they may pull services, like Facebook and Instagram, if they could not rely on a new or alternative means by which to transfer data from the EU and the US.
Now, while I appreciate what happens to your data, how it’s handled and where it is stored is important, there is another concern that specifically small businesses need to be thinking about. In many cases, these platforms (Facebook and Instagram) have been used to build businesses. They have been very clever in introducing additional services to these platforms, that can render the immediate need for your own website largely redundant. I know of many small business owners who run their business exclusively through these platforms. So, if you are one of these business owners and you work solely through Facebook or Instagram, what happens to your business if Meta does decide to pull their services? Do you still have a viable business? It might not even be that drastic. It could even be a small service tweak. They might decide they don’t want people in Europe to be able to have a specific bit of functionality you rely on to generate income (Facebook Shop for example). What happens to your business?
Are you OK with giving that much control over what happens to your business to someone else?
Now the reality is, I’m guessing this is just political posturing to try and get what they want. I believe Facebook/Meta have far too many users/data for them to actually pull their services completely. But, I think you should be asking yourself, do you really want to be building your business on a platform you have no control over? One that could disappear tomorrow based on someone else’s decision?
Future-proofing your business
This is a large part of why we believe it’s so important that any operating business should have their own website. Not only can it add credibility to your business, but more importantly it’s your own space. It’s somewhere that you have 100% control over. You are future-proofing your business whilst also developing probably the most important and effective sales tool you could ever have. Historically, the barrier to entry for having your own website used to be quite prohibitive, but not today. The sheer number of solutions available today for Small Business websites is overwhelming. You can use a managed solution, like Quicklaunch, where we do everything for you or if you have the time, the patience and the skills you can do it yourself.
Now that’s not to say these social channels shouldn’t play an important part of any business. They are valuable tools that can add real tangible results when used properly. As previously illustrated, many people are running their business exclusively on these channels. Your customers are using these platforms and you should be too. But it’s important not have all your eggs in one basket (so to speak) and to be realistic about the interests of the companies that run these platforms.
Planning for growth is a lot easier when you have full control over the platform you’re leveraging for new business.
And, if you don’t think these platforms could ever make a decision that would negatively impact your business, just Google YouTube Adpocalypse. I’m sure a lot of businesses/creators who built their audiences and income exclusively through YouTube thought the same thing too…