Why it’s SUPER important to OWN your Blog (and not rely on just social media)
I haven’t talked about the actual topic of blogging in quite some time, but two different things happened a couple weeks ago that made me want to get on here and chat to all my blog/small business friends because they both scared the crap out of me. I apologize in advance if this get’s rambly, but I had to share these thoughts!
The first thing that happened that scared me? Well, it was a bit creepy, to be honest.
Someone tried to Impersonate my Facebook Page
I was searching for the Hey There, Chelsie Facebook Page and realized I had clicked on a page that wasn’t mine…but my photo was in the profile and header picture. Yeah, that’s right. Someone took photos from my Instagram and blog and created another Hey There, Chelsie FB page and was pretending to be me. They had shared one post from my actual blog and then started sharing a bunch of other random websites as if it was me. The worst part? There were several insensitive websites/posts shared about being a cancer survivor.
So yeah. It was creepy to stare at a page with my photos plastered all over it and know that I wasn’t on the other end, sharing those things. And it freaked me out that someone else would stumble across that page and think that it was the official HTC page and get the wrong impression of me and my brand. It was just all over #badnewsbears. Not a fan.
Thankfully, I got it taken down within 24 hours (although Facebook makes you jump through A MILLION hoops to prove that your being impersonated) and have not seen another imposter account since. But now I check every few days. Because I have no clue who was behind that fake FB page and no idea if they are going to attempt it again.
The second thing that happened?
Vine announced that it was Shutting Down
For those of you who may not know what Vine is, it’s an app that allows you to record 6-second videos and share them. Basically, Vine was like a mini version of Youtube. There are several users on Vine that have become super popular from their video feeds and even got sponsored posts and deals through them.
Now, I’m not on Vine and never used it before, but the fact that this once immensely popular social media platform is getting it’s plugged pulled still scared me. Why?
Because I don’t own my Instagram account or my Facebook Page or my Pinterest profile. I mean, yes, I own the content I share on it, but I have no control over the actual platforms. We could all wake up one day and Instagram could be gone and I will have lost touch with all 12,000 of my followers.
Let that one sink in for a minute. It’d be #badnewsbears x100.
Social Media Changes Constantly
And so does blogging in a way, but for the most part, blogging stays the same. You type in a URL and you are brought to a site that is owned and run by the person behind it. On the flip side, social media is constantly changing, new platforms are arising and new algorithms are coming into place. What was once popular one day can be completely irrelevant the next. So, if you put all your eggs in to one basket (like Instagram or Facebook) you are really risking a lot more than you realize.
This isn’t to say that you should ignore social media all together! Social media is a VITAL part of marketing these days and expanding your brand, influence, and connections. Grow those profiles and connect with your audience, but ALWAYS have something solid and safe to direct them back to (like your blog.)
FURTHER READING: 6 Reasons Why I Follow you on Instagram
Blogging is NOT dead
That’s been something that we’ve been hearing a bit more of recently and I think that is so silly for people to think or say. Yes, blogging is changing. Yes, it’s harder to get people to view your blog if they are all on Instagram. But guess what? No one owns Instagram but Instagram! And if you decide to ditch your blog for just a social media presence, you are building your business or blog on a sand foundation instead of a solid rock one. And it’s not just the risk of not owning the platform, but having to rely on someone else to fix your problems.
A couple months ago, the owner of Instagram profile Men & Coffee had her account hacked. The hacker changed all of the security measures so that she couldn’t recover her profile at all. Not only did the hacker start posting pictures asking for money to be donated to a random account. When the owner got in touch with the hacker, he said that he would sell the account back to her for an insane amount of money. And it took her a very long time to get ahold of someone at Instagram who could help her get the account back.
Although the Men & Coffee account is totally different from a blogger’s account, it still shows how tricky it was for her to recover her account and get the people at Instagram to actually respond and help her out. And as vital as Instagram is for businesses and blogs, it’s still important to HAVE A BLOG at the foundation of it all.
Why you need to Own your Blog
Hopefully, you can catch my drift of where I’m going with this all. Whether you are a business owner or a blogger or even work in direct sales, you NEED to own your own blog, as in you need to have your own domain and be hosting your own site. Yes, technically you could still “loose” your site to your host (there are a few horror stories) but as long as you perform weekly backups, you will never LOOSE your work.
There is some information out there that people on the Blogger platform don’t even own their own site (Google does) and they could still lose their content. I’m not sure if this is entirely true, but if you are on Blogger, it’s definitely something to look into.
Owning your blog ensures that your work is copyrighted and protected (so that you can prove that YOU own your content and the people impersonating your on FB do not.) In the United States, the moment your content is published it is immediately protected under copyright laws. That being said, it still will not prevent people from stealing your work, so it’s a good idea to have clear terms and conditions somewhere on your blog AND to formally register your content with the Copyright Office. Having a formal Copyright in place will allow you to sue for Copyright infringement should you ever need to.
(For more info on Copyrights & Trademarks for blogs, check out this post from Jade & Oak)
Further still, this is why it is critical to be building an email list of your readers/followers/customers because that is the ONLY list of people that you will “own.” No one can take your email list away! Even if you don’t have any ideas for a weekly newsletter, you should STILL collect them and have them on file so you can get in touch with them if need be. For example, if Facebook didn’t take down the imposter page right away, I could have emailed all of my followers on my email list (about 300) and let them know about the imposter page and that it wasn’t me to prevent any confusion in case someone stumbled upon it!
And yes, you can start an email list for free! A lot of people use MailChimp, but I just switched to MailerLite and LOVE it (It comes with free automation and landing pages.) If you are interested in learning more about creating an email list, leave me a comment below.
And, I can’t go on and on about the importance of an email list without a shameless plug for my own list. (So, if you aren’t signed up for the HTC Hey There, Sunday weekly email, you can fix that by signing up below!)
So. It’s been a crazy couple weeks between all of this social media nonsense. But through it all, I’ve had this little space on the internet to express myself with, to share with, and to connect with. I am so grateful for HTC and the knowledge that it is MINE!
Leave a comment below on what you’re going to do TODAY to protect yourself and your business!