You may not have heard about it, but there’s big news in the digital and investing world this week. Yahoo has agreed to purchase Tumblr for 1.1 billion dollars. (that’s billions, with a capital B!) Right now you’re probably asking, “what does this have to do with my automotive shop?” A lot more than you’d expect, actually.
Tumblr is a free website and blogging service that anyone can use to create a quick & easy blog or website for their business without having to know any programming or have any design knowledge. The beauty of the platform is it’s simplicity. Many small (and larger) businesses have used it very successfully to grow their business in a short amount of time. But here’s the problem. By hitching their wagon to a platform that they don’t own or control, these businesses could very well be out of business in the not-so-distant future if Yahoo decides to change Tumblr’s functionality, terms of service, or any number of other things (as they have done in the past with previous acquisitions).
This is why it’s so important to own your marketing platform. If you’re building your digital marketing presence on someone else’s real estate, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, MySpace, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, or any other online channel, you’re effectively digital sharecropping, and that is a very bad thing to do.
As I’m constantly telling our consulting and website clients, you have to “own your platform.” That means the information you create and distribute must originate from your website that you own and control. It’s fine to use social media and other free services as a distribution channel, but you can’t rely on them as your primary platform.
The rentor is always subject to the landlord. I’m sure you’re well aware of this principal, especially if you rent your shop space. If the owner of your building decides he wants to tear it down and build apartments there instead, once your lease is up, he can do, because he owns the real estate, and you have not recourse. The same principal is true with your digital real estate. It’s better to own than rent. Otherwise, you’re at the mercy of your digital landlord.
Are you digital sharecropping or do you own your platform?