On Friday, picplz announced that on July 3, 2012, it will shut down permanently.
This is not surprising, given the fact that Instagram recently released an Android version of the Instagram app. Prior to the release of Instagram’s Android app, picplz was one of the best alternatives available to people with Android phones.
What is more noteworthy is that all the photos picplz users have posted on the service will be deleted.
This is a good reminder that many of the services that we use could do the same thing, and all the time and effort that we spent posting photos and other content and building human connections could be for naught.
Home Bases, Passports, and Outposts
One of the key points from their posts that I want to focus on is the fact that while social networking sites (passports and outposts) are great for connecting to your customers and prospects, they should not replace your blog or website (home base).
To build on that further, if your blog or website is being used for your business, you should spend the money and find a web hosting service for your blog or website. After all, while Tumblr or even WordPress.com might be around for a long time, they could choose to shut down at any time. If that happened, all the posts and relationships that you spent time and effort creating would be gone… forever.
Futhermore, while social networking sites should be a part of your online marketing strategy, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you only post on one social networking site, you are completely at the mercy of that site. For a business, that is not really a good position to be in.
Even with all the free social networking sites that are available, you should still invest in a self-hosted blog or website. This will give you complete control over the design, layout and content that you make available to your customers and prospects. And, the site will never go away, unless you want it to.
Don’t get me wrong, you definitely should be using social networking sites to connect to your customers and prospects. The point is, social networking sites (yep, that even includes Facebook) should not replace you website or blog. They should be used in addition to your blog or website. And, whenever possible, you should be using these social networking sites to drive customers and prospects to your blog or website.
Finally, if you have the resources, you should be connecting to customers and prospects on more than one social networking site for two reasons. First, people are fickle (i.e., they might choose to start using another social networking site more frequently.) And second, because social networking sites are run by third parties, there is always the possibility that they could decide to shut the site down.
When a social networking site does choose to shut down, all the content and connections that you spent precious time and effort creating will be lost, unless you find a way to bring your customers and prospects to your website or blog, where you are in control of what they see and how they connect to your business.
With that said, I have to go download a few photos…
Photo credit: odysseygate on Flickr.