7 Reasons To Build and Use Your Own Business Platforms

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Facebook, Instagram, Etsy. Platforms we all love, but do not own.

We all use at least one of these platforms, and there are surely more. They are wonderful tools for our creative businesses and a great place to start, build a following, and create brand awareness.
But, they should be integrated into your overall marketing plan and using them solely as a platform without owning something of your own is something to avoid. It’s like renting vs. owning a home.
When you rent an apartment or home, you have limitations on what you can do to it and how you can change it.
When you rent, you may not be able to hang pictures, paint the walls, or plant your favorites the flower beds. You may have an assigned parking space and be limited to the number of guest parking spaces. Maybe there’s a doorman that has to check everyone in at reception. You may get complaints for being too loud (who has been warned for too many Instagram comments lately?).
It’s important to have a backup plan and to own your platforms and customers, just like it’s the American dream to own a home. You gain equity and can do whatever you want to it when you own your home.
The point is - you need to be able to make the rules. Here are some other reasons to use platforms that you have control over:

Control

When you’re in control, you can be reactive vs. proactive. For example, on Etsy where you’re renting your space, your customers, your email list and their contact information, they control how you contact your customers. They can also evict you at anytime by closing your shop or deleting a listing. Facebook could pull a MySpace (those of you old enough remember personal MySpace pages) and your page could disappear overnight.

The many shops who built sales strategies off Instagram posts may see a drastic decline in sales and if they haven't been smart about getting those people to transfer over to their own platforms to purchase, they’re honestly screwed or have a lot of work to do. Business could disappear at a moment's notice. That may sound dramatic, but it’s reality.

Better Marketing

Sometimes I feel like social media is like feeding the monster. It’s a rat race that we can’t win and we’re always freaking out about posting consistently and the number of likes we have on a post. When you own your own platform, you it’s a push vs pull way of marketing.

With your own platform, you actually control how search engines find you, you can use inbound links, and SEO actually exists, unlike social media platforms. Facebook controls the way your page is discovered and they can change it any time. And remember the craziness when Etsy changed their search algorithm? I have friends who went from high 5 figures of sales to low 4 figures in mere months. A business (or your lifestyle) can’t survive that way. Again, it may sound dramatic, but it’s reality.

Distractions

There isn’t much to explain here. On Etsy, a potential customer may find your listing at the top of the list, but they’ve also found 1,000 other similar listings of your competitors. On Facebook, potential clients  scroll past your sponsored post and then BAM - squirrel... there’s a cute puppy video just after and you’ve lost them. Or worse, it’s a competitor’s ad. Whomp whomp. And how about when Instagram changed their feed algorithm, we all turned on notifications and productivity went down the drain for all of us?

Organization

Let’s face it, Etsy isn’t an organized way to shop. It’s hard to update listings, search for products, and there are a limited number of product categories. It’s one size fits all. On Facebook and Instagram, there are fast moving streams and disappearing links. And if you have a Facebook group for your customers, it’s really hard to organize any content you’re giving them.

7 Reasons To Build and Use Your Own Business Platforms

Customer Experience

On platforms like Etsy, you will need to implement your customer experience into their structure. In July's FounderClass and FounderChallenge (you can read more about the classes in our new SCF Community here), we'll be covering Client Experience and how your customers interact with your business to make sure they have a great experience. That experience will be limited if not executed on your own platform.
Together, in short and easy to complete lessons, we'll dive into your ideal experience, where you can improve, how and when to review your customer experience, and give you a huge list of ideas to implement that are different from that ever-popular hand written note in your packaging.

Limited Reporting

It’s important to analyze your numbers, which not only helps you be proactive, it also helps you see trends and shift your sails. Your marketing can improve because you’re able to reach out to potential customers who abandoned their purchase, understand conversion rates, and see your traffic sources. The tools Facebook and Etsy have, while ok, don’t give you all you need to be successful.

Credibility

Owning your own platform just plain gives you credibility and a higher level of professionalism. Your url doesn’t include a subdomain like etsy.yourshop.com or facebook.yourshop.com. Customers are more likely to buy from you if you look credible and professional.

Now, I’m not saying close your Etsy shop or give up on social media for leads. These are great platforms to integrate into your overall marketing strategy. What I am saying is you also need to build your own platform, you need to own your customer list, you need a backup plan in case something drastic changes, and you need to start it now. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
It’s a long and hard road to making the switch to your own shop platform or not relying on social media for your livelihood, but it’s one that is worth it!
society-for-creative-founders-community-Website-enrollment-opens-soon-sneak-peek-conference-course-class-business-training By the way, have you seen our new website?! I’m giddy excited about it! We’re making our own rules and have built a platform just for people like us - makers, artists, and designers - to build community and knowledge together.
We’re launching the SCF Community, where you'll find a new class every month and a past webinar vault to get you started. We're putting the finishing touches on it as we speak and enrollment will open next month. Get on the pre-launch enrollment waitlist here.