On the 4th of October, the world experienced several hours without Facebook — and those hours unwittingly revealed just how much of our digital and physical lives depend on the platform. Across the world, the indispensability of Facebook was felt, while Twitter and other platforms got to enjoy the spotlight in its absence. The outage had Facebook messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp under collapse, too.
The impact inevitably trickled down to small businesses, who in a matter of hours experienced the various severities of a social impact outage. Some saw engagement and traffic fall, while others had their sales taking a hit in direct correlation to their social media channels being disrupted.
Facebook acknowledged the businesses that require their apps as a foundation, writing on Twitter, “to the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry.”
The outage has now been resolved, but it cracked open a conversation for the businesses and their owners who are subject to Facebook functioning. Social media marketing is one of the top methods for SMEs to showcase their products/services, engage with their customers, and promote themselves. As a more affordable option to print and TV advertising, it is often the only option for a majority of small businesses.
But if our entire marketing campaigns rely on another company’s technology and infrastructure, we have to accept the risk that these services could cut out without notice. Perhaps it is time to look at alternative options to boost our businesses’ profiles. Some independent businesses are now reconsidering social media strategies and are newly awakened to the need spread themselves across platforms – ones that run parallel to the Facebook empire.
We always recommend working with your brand-owned channels, like your website and your email database. They’re ones that you can always rely on being there, and you have full control over them. Having a responsive, mobile friendly website for your small business is the gold standard independent, consistent and controllable business platform to engage with your customers without being reliant on a third party such as Facebook.