October 4, 2021 was a day that will go down in history. Facebook went down for six hours, and yes this may seem silly, but social media isn’t all about entertainment anymore; it’s evolved into a business tool. While this may seem like nothing but an inconvenience for most people, it was much more for those who use social media for business. Whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, or Tik Tok (as small business owners and entrepreneurs, you absolutely should be on these platforms) many small businesses rely on social media advertising, putting hundreds of dollars into social advertising that translate to hundreds ( or thousands) of dollars a day in revenue! So when Facebook went dark, companies that relied on Facebook for customer acquisitions went dark as well. Multiple entrepreneurs have already come forward to say how they were affected by the outage and what they learned from the experience.
You may have heard people say you should diversify when talking about stock portfolios, well the same principle applies to business! Don’t rely on one site to market and target customers. Putting all your eggs in one basket is dangerous for various reasons. Of course, the outage was an unprecedented moment but it could absolutely happen again. One such small business owner, J.D. Holland spoke with NBC News on how his company began to depend on Facebook Live to drive business for his nutrition club. For Holland, the outrage on Monday cost him $300-$400, and this was the result of only a few hours out. Holland isn’t the only one. In the same article, Zahif Buttat said he lost $5,000-$6,000 during the outage!
This showed many small business owners like them, the danger of relying on one or two avenues to acquire customers. (Check out this article to get multiple responses from small business owners.) Instagram and Facebook make it very easy for makers and small businesses to function entirely on their platforms. From the installment of the Instagram shop feature, to those selling on Facebook Shops, there is no doubt many small businesses and entrepreneurs start their journey on social media. How do we navigate this alongside the potential technical issues?
Here is how some entrepreneurs have decided to move forward:
1. Pura Cosmetics said the outage made them realize: “We can’t solely rely on Instagram and Facebook. We need to be quite agile when it comes to strategy and this did make us consider different tools.” What Pura Cosmetics realized is that it’s important to use various different platforms and avenues to find customers. Both new and traditional ads can be useful, as much as traditional advertising has died down, it is not completely gone, and is also evolving. Traditional Ads don’t have to be expensive TV or billboard campaigns, simply ensuring your business’ branding is modern and fresh is an easy way to get attention and establish reputability.
2. Audrey Leighton Rogers, a clothing designer and vintage curator realized that she was 100% dependent on Instagram for her business after the global outage. Leighton realized, like many others, that relying on one avenue “really puts you in a vulnerable position when you realize you’re so reliant on one social media.” You cannot focus all your effort on the media stream! Although Instagram and Facebook are very different, they are under one company (Facebook) which means any issue that affects one affects both.
3. Social media marketing agency, Social Shepherd found that their clients were overly dependent on Instagram and Facebook. Forgetting some of the other amazing social channels that undoubtedly grow businesses as well: Pinterest, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube etc. All social channels that should not be forgotten or ignored by small businesses and entrepreneurs! John Eringman, is one entrepreneur who took the opportunity to make a Tik Tok account and offers this golden nugget:
“Social networks have a lifespan. Make sure you own your audience rather than letting Facebook or Instagram own your audience.”
Yes, different social media sites should not be forgotten when considering marketing and branding for your business, but do not forget the power of your own website! As simple as this may sound, many brands have chosen to use social channels as a way to inform and sell to potential customers. Although it can be easy to run your business entirely on social media, and it’s often cheaper than investing in building/ designing your own website, there are things that a social channel just can’t offer you.
Ultimately, social media is a powerful tool that all entrepreneurs and small businesses should take advantage of, but there was a time before it, and you should not dismiss more traditional business practices. From different avenues of advertising, to being reachable to your customers, different avenues protect you from ever being entirely down, as many shops were during the outage.
We love Instagram and Facebook marketing, and they are very powerful, but it’s fair to say we’ve become a little too dependent on them. Protect your business by doing your best to ensure you will never be unreachable. With thousands of dollars in losses in just a few hours, imagine if the outage had spanned all day or even longer.