11/10/2011 11:49 BST | Updated 11/12/2011 05:12 GMT

The Facebook Business Isn't Your Only Business, I Hope

Businesses are embracing social media like never before. For many, it's now a matter of course to have a Facebook page, Twitter account, and profiles on Digg and the like. With all of this social media hype, however, comes the danger of over-focusing. Many businesses, especially smaller shops and owner-operator concerns, are building Facebook pages and.. nothing more. goes to their Facebook and that's it.

That is a problem.

A presence on social media is a good idea. In fact, it's almost required in today's small business market. Putting your business' entire online brand on Facebook, though? Definitely not a good idea.

Putting your entire online presence as a business into the hands of Facebook is like turning over all of your accounting to the House of Lords. It is wise to give away your business to someone you have little control over?

Definitely not.

Anyone in business should understand that your reputation is your business and if you lose that, you lose a lot more than just a few "likes" on Facebook or followers on Twitter. Only you should control your online media presence. Yes, hiring a professional might be a good idea, but in that case, you're paying someone to do it and still, ultimately, have control and say-so. But not if you hand everything to Facebook by building only a Web presence there and nowhere else.

The price, time, and effort required to build your own website today is so ridiculously low that there's no excuse for not doing it. A small business can literally register their domain, get hosting, and build a website for less than a hundred pounds.

That website can be your anchor on the Web, an anchor that you completely control. From there, your social media profiles and accounts can be linked like spokes on a wagon wheel. Better yet, as your budget allows, you can grow your website presence to fit your needs, add a few widgets, bring in some professional design elements, etc.

Your online presence and reputation is too important to be left at the mercy of Facebook, which changes its privacy policies and locks user accounts without warning. Don't leave yourself at someone else's mercy like that.

It's bad business.