Why small businesses still need a website – lessons from social media disasters
As we’ve seen with the new owner at X/Twitter, Facebook reducing reach without us paying for ads, and corporate decision to ban 3rd party apps for Reddit, relying on a Big Tech platform can be dangerous for small business owners. More than ever it’s vital for a small business to own their platform and marketing channel(s).
Twitter (now called ‘X’) stoking outrage for profit
Twitter encourages arguments for advertiser profit by creating an environment where controversial and divisive content tends to generate more engagement and attention. This engagement-driven model benefits advertisers as it increases user activity, which in turn boosts ad revenue. Twitter’s algorithms prioritise content that sparks debate and elicits strong emotional responses, often leading to heated arguments and polarised discussions. Advertisers can take advantage of this by strategically placing ads alongside controversial content, knowing that it will attract more attention and potentially increase their profits.
Facebook holding business page audiences hostage
Facebook holds business page audiences hostage by implementing algorithms and policies that restrict the organic reach of their posts. This means that even if a business has a large number of followers, only a small fraction of them will see their content in their newsfeeds. As a result, businesses are forced to pay for advertising or boost their posts to reach a wider audience. This creates a dependency on Facebook’s paid advertising platform, making it challenging for businesses to effectively engage with an audience without spending money. Essentially, Facebook’s algorithmic control limits the organic visibility of business page content, requiring businesses to invest in paid advertising to reach “their” desired audience.
On top of this, Facebook can just decide to delete “your” group or page with no warning. There’s nobody to reason with if this happens, and all that time and energy you might have put into building that presence is gone. Remember that our data is the product on Facebook or Instagram and it’s not a solid base for your small business.
So hosting your business exclusively on Instagram had some major downsides. Not only was your revenue completely at the mercy of how Instagram chose to share your content with your followers, but you were also at risk of losing it entirely if the app disabled or suspended your account.
Apollo was a Reddit app built for speed, customisation, and providing the best the platform had to offer.
Reddit closing 3rd party app access
Reddit decided to close access for third-party apps with short notice in mid-2023, limiting the ability of users to access the platform through alternative applications. This move aims to consolidate control over the user experience and ensure consistency across all platforms. What this means in practice is that we need to use their terrible website or app which are bot full of adverts and have terrible user interface. Third party apps allow blocking of things we didn’t want to see – including ads.
However, it has caused frustration among users who prefer the functionality and features offered by third-party apps. By closing access, Reddit aims to maintain control and provide a unified experience, but it has resulted in a loss of choice and flexibility for users who enjoyed using alternative apps. This has shown how little Reddit care about their users and how we are just numbers on a spreadsheet to sell to advertisers.
Relying on large social media platforms for our small business is risky in this time of capitalist greed and advertiser focused business strategies. A website and email list that you control, that can’t be taken away from you on a whim is a way more stable way to start and grow your business. A simple website doesn’t have to cost the earth so drop us a line if you need some help your small business web design.