In Our Opinion

When the lights went down on Facebook

By October 5, 2021 No Comments

For 6 hours on Monday, Facebook and Instagram disappeared, and in the ensuing silence business owners, marketers and social media managers considered what they would do without these channels.

For years, experts have warned about the risks of investing too heavily – whether time, money, or content – building channels like Facebook, which ultimately do not belong to the business. At the time the reason was that tastes would change, driving more people to new channels, even as Facebook throttled the organic reach of business posts in a push to increase advertising revenue.

And while the services may now be up and running, businesses and individuals need to decide if they want to continue to support the sites in light of recent revelations that the company both directly, and knowingly, supported the rise in misinformation and political dissent even as their services negatively impacted the self-esteem of teen girls.

With all these factors looming, now is a good time to take a look at what can be done to decrease your business’ reliance on Facebook and Instagram:

Reclaim Your Content
Facebook and Instagram have made it easy to post pictures and stories about people, community involvement, customer and nonprofit profiles, security alerts and tips, and other content. Yesterday all of that content disappeared for most of the day, and potentially forever. The best way to avoid losing your content is to move it to a channel you own – specifically, your website. 

Take time to evaluate what content can only be found on Instagram and Facebook, and move that which you think will be of value to your website. Moving forward, consider posting content to your website first, even if you still plan on posting photos directly to the channels. Beyond ensuring you own your own content, Google will likely reward your efforts through improved SEO results.

Grow Your Email Strategy (and List)
Too often businesses share photos to social channels, but never take the time to share with the audience that is likely most invested in those stories – customers. Now is the time to consider how you can include this same content in your existing email newsletter, or to expand your existing strategy with the addition of topic-specific newsletters (ie community updates; business; etc).

Diversify Your Channels
I’m not saying you need to jump to TikTok right now, but there are other channels – LinkedIn, Twitter, Google My Business, Alignable, Nextdoor – which may be appropriate for your business to use as content distribution channels and do not require an entire re-thinking of your content distribution strategy. Start with channels you own but maybe underutilizing, then consider what channels you can roll in now and in the future.

Don’t Forget Publicity
It’s old school, but do not forget the power of the press. With local publications continuing to suffer from staff shortages, there remains an opportunity to provide quality content to local papers. Reach out to your local paper to find out if there would be opportunities for your business to share photos from community events, bank news (not just new hires and promotions), security tips and advice, or profiles of local nonprofits and partners.

Monday’s outage should be a wake-up call to anyone that the houses we’ve built on rented land may soon sink in the cyber-sea. Now is the time to figure out what’s next.

Facebook Goes Dark