Online Panic! Last Monday, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and many other platforms crashed! We weren’t able to chat with our friends, post Reels on Instagram and — well — use Facebook for nearly 10 hours!
It was an unusually severe and complicated crash, but luckily things turned back to normal. However, Facebook’s downtime has taught us Marketers a few things: Don’t build too many things on borrowed land.
The Crash: Bye bye content!
So Facebook, Instagram AND WhatsApp were down. Three major Social Media platforms we heavily rely on. Consumers spend hours of their days on these platforms, whereas us Marketers try to build our company’s brand on Social Media.
And suddenly we couldn’t do anything. Our scheduled posts were gone. The things we just posted didn’t get any traction, and we couldn’t even access Facebook and Instagram’s website and app anymore.
And what about WhatsApp? This week, I’ve SMSed someone for the first time in years.
Bye bye online presence
Luckily, we could still rely on Linkedin and Twitter, where brands made jokes about Facebook’s and Instagram’s crash. But if your company is only active on Facebook and Instagram, you could practically do nothing. Your company did not have any online presence last Monday. No Marketing Activities at all.
We can’t deny the importance of Social Media for our own businesses. But we shouldn’t rely on Social Media too much either. Because when your Facebook profile goes offline — whether it’s a crash or ban — you’re screwed if you don’t have any alternatives.
Don’t build on borrowed land
Using Social Media is like renting a house: You can live in that house, you can invite friends to your house and you can use whatever furniture you need. But you have to follow certain rules and your landlord can kick you out of your house at any time.
Look at it this way: Facebook allows you to create a profile for free, but you do have to follow certain rules. Facebook’s algorithm decides if and when your content appears on other peoples’ timelines. If you break Facebook’s house rules, you’re gone. And if Facebook crashes, you’re temporarily gone.
So what if Facebook kicks you out of your rented house? Where do you go to? Do you have any alternatives?
Rent multiple houses
Luckily, I could go to one of my other rented properties: Twitter and LinkedIn were still functioning well and I enjoy being on those platforms. I had alternatives. And my audience knows that I’m active on Twitter and LinkedIn with both my personal account and my business profile.
So it’s always smart to build your brand on multiple social media platforms. And let your followers know. “If I get banned on Twitter, here’s how you can reach me. If Facebook is down, find me on platform X, Y and Z.”
Buy your own house: Your website and newsletter
There’s even a better option: Buying your own land. Buy a website domain or start a newsletter. Yes, you have to pay for your website domain and email address, but the benefits of having a website and newsletter for your brand outweigh the costs.
Many small business owners say ‘they already have a website page on Facebook.’ But here’s the thing: If Facebook is down, you will have no place to which you can refer your customers.
When you own a website and newsletter, you can post whatever you want whenever you want, without having to deal with Social Media policies, algorithms and crashes. And when Facebook and Instagram are down again, your customers can still find useful information on your own website and in your newsletter. It’s because you own them!
There’s another benefit tied to having your own website: Search Engine Optimization. Google and Yahoo will direct potential customers to your website if you can help them. And what if Facebook and Instagram crash again? Well, people can still Google you!
So what has Facebook and Instagram’s downtime taught us? Don’t rely on Social Media too much. While you can certainly bring in new customers through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you’re practically invisible if you don’t give your audience platforms they can navigate to when a platform crashes.
Last week, I came across a beautiful quote: “Build paths on borrowed land that lead to the house you’ve bought.” You borrow land on Social media platforms, and on these platforms you build paths that lead to your website and newsletter. And you use your website and newsletter to interact with your most loyal customers.