Is your business a serf under social media’s feudalism?

Is your business a serf under social media’s feudalism?

I have seen many small businesses neglecting to set up their website. Instead, their social media page became their ‘website’. Sorry to say this, but these small businesses are doing themselves a great disservice. Let me say this clearly:

If a social media page is the primary online presence of your business, then you are working on rented land.

The social media platform will be the lord while your business is the serf. As a serf, your business is completely under the whims and control of the social media lord. Let me give you a few examples of how disadvantageous being a serf is.

Facebook threatened to ban the sharing of news

In February 2021, Facebook has just made the bombshell decision to ban the sharing of news in Australia. This is what Facebook announced:

In response to Australian government legislation, Facebook restricts the posting of news links and all posts from news Pages in Australia. Globally, the posting and sharing of news links from Australian publications is restricted.

Unfortunately, Facebook’s news ban is done by software algorithms, which inadvertently harmed small businesses. As this ABC news article reported,

Facebook pages of small businesses were also affected.


Sallie Jones from Gippsland Jersey said her dairy business’s Facebook posts had been deleted, and it remains offline as of Thursday afternoon.

“For us not to have Facebook in the first place, which I’m totally freaking out about, but the function of not to be able to share the news links, it’s just so disappointing to us as a company,” she said.


Ms Jones said she’d grown her business reach through social media, including by sharing stories from news outlets.


“I actually don’t know what to do because we’ve built our whole business on Facebook and Instagram and as a start-up little milk brand, so we’ve relied very much relied on sharing content,” she said.

Look carefully at the last paragraph in the quote above. There is a lesson to be learned here.

As a serf, your business is completely under the whims and control of the Facebook lord. Facebook can destroy your business’s online presence in a flash, whether deliberately or accidentally. They can change the rules, change their algorithms or shift the goalpost anytime they want. If that is going to severely impact your business negatively, then too bad.

If you want to be the master of your destiny, then your business needs its castle, which is in the form of a website. Not only that, but you also need to have a strategy to make your website the focal point of your online presence. Rented land, in the form of a Facebook/Instagram page/group, cannot be the focal point of your online presence. You need to find a way to nudge and direct your leads, visitors and customers from the Facebook lord’s rented land towards your castle (website).

What can happen if your business is the serf?

The lord can kill your online presence anytime it wants

Recently, I saw this post on LinkedIn:

In one of the comments, another person had the same experience:

I am not trying to scare you, but these kinds of capricious acts by your social media lords happen from time to time. Your social media lords can make your business disappear in a second. Literally. Just ask the business owners above. Those poor small business owners often have no recourse. They have to start from scratch again.

Do you own your list?

When your social media page becomes your ‘website’, you no longer own your list. Your business’s customer/lead list belongs to the social media platform. If your social media lord does not grant access to your own customer/lead list, you effectively have no means of contacting them directly.

In other words, your social media lord can sever all your communications to your customers, leads and visitors. Not only that, they can see all your communications to them and even censor your language and decide what is acceptable or not.

Can you stand out?

Every business’s social media profile has the same cookie-cutter design. Every profile follows a similar look, feel, format and structure. Your business is being commoditised by the social media lord. As a commodity, it cannot stand out. If it cannot stand out, your business cannot be a brand. If it cannot be a brand, then it can only compete on price. As Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad said,

If you are not a brand, then you are a commodity.

Why should your business own its own castle (website)?

You own your customer/lead list

You have the means of contacting them directly. More importantly, your business’s customer/lead list is a business asset. A business asset has a tangible monetary value that gives your business a value. You can later sell your business if it has substantial business value.

No social media lord can cancel your business

Nobody can make your business disappear. With a website, you own the legal title of your web domain. Even if your web-hosting company refuse service to your business, you have the right and option to shop around and move your online presence to another web hosting provider. You do not have to worry about the capricious actions of your social media lord.

You can decide how your business look like

You can design and brand your business website any way you want, with its own look, feel, format and structure so that your business will stand out. Your business do not have to conform to a cookie-cutter design decided by your social media lords. Your business do not have to be a commodity among the sea of other businesses’ social media profiles.

So, how do I start with a website?

You can start by talking to us. Here’s our contact page.


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About the Author
Terence Kam Terence Kam
Terence is the founder of Stratigus. See his profile here.

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