The social media giants of Facebook and Instagram have recently gone down with outages and left their users in the dark, literally. If you and your business are relying on these platforms to build your organization, you need to adjust your strategy and protect yourself. It wasn’t the first time, but the social media outages of 2019 have taken concerns to the next level. I teach a Social Media and Marketing course at the University, and here are some hard truths that I tell my students.
- You do not own the contact information of your followers on social media. You are working on rented space. Your social media accounts can be blocked, ghosted or shut down without notice. Therefore, you need to have alternate ways to reach your customer base. I recently had a viral photo of my sweet baby goat triplets being shared across the nation. This photo was getting so much attention that apparently Instagram thought I was a BOT (robot), soliciting unapproved engagement. They locked me out of my account for over a day, which was extremely frustrating. I’ve had multiple friend’s business accounts disappear for days on end without notice. When they come back, there is no explanation.
- Social Media platforms are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. This has happened many times on the overall platform level and more often on the individual account level. Have you thought through what you would do if someone took over your account and locked you out? You can change passwords and contact the platform help desk, but a response could be a week away, while damage is being done. My Facebook account was hacked and posts were being made that were not mine and definitely not in alignment with my brand. Again, this was extremely frustrating, and it happens all the time.
- As mergers and acquisitions occur in the social media world, the number of key players go down, leaving the account owners vulnerable. Although Facebook acquired Instagram years ago, they are now merging the platform’s messaging and advertising systems. This is what is thought to have caused the recent Spring 2019 outages, but who knows for sure. If you are only operating on these two platforms, heaven forbid if the giant ever folds. Of course, that will not happen, but do not allow your entire business to rely on someone else’s company. That is business 101.
- As the algorithm changes on a daily basis, business accounts are being asked to “Pay to Play”. Gone are the glory days of free advertising. It is said that less than 10% of your business account followers will see your posts on Facebook or Instagram on any given day. More and more, business accounts have to pay in order to boost posts. The algorithm does not appreciate when you add a link or direct your followers to go off the platform for additional information or to purchase something. They want you to stay put and not leave, which will hinder your sales.
So what do I suggest: Still use these social media platforms, but I would change your strategy.
*Get to work on building that website. That is the real estate that you personally own. It legitimizes your organization, gives a hub for all your products and services and protects your future. I don’t care if you use an affordable drag and drop template or you hire a web developer, just get it done. This is an investment you can no longer put off.
*Diversify. On the farm we have a saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, and it is so true. Don’t solely rely on Facebook and Instagram as social media tools. Branch out to a couple of other platforms. Chat with other business owners in your industry to see where your customers are hanging out online. Go meet with them there!
*If your industry is visual at all, get yourself on Pinterest. Pinterest is the #3 search engine in the world. Yes, you read that right. It is not a social media platform, but a search engine that is worth billions. Pinterest is not dead and in fact is making many bloggers 6 and 7 figures bringing traffic to their website. The google analytics prove the stats. It is still mind blowing to me how this sweet little recipe and decor platform is being monetized. Photographers, architects, creatives and more… Don’t miss out on this!
*Video is the wave of the future, so you might as well embrace it. There are many video search engine platforms and we can agree that YouTube is the most well-known. Use video and their many platforms to diversify the ways your customers can reach you.
*Start an email list. This is huge, and so many business owners overlook it. The word on the street is that close to 70% of sales come from an email list. You are much more likely to close a sale from an email than a social media post. Email subscribers should be your client list, not the followers on your social media accounts. Give away free guides and content (often called freebies or opt-ins) in exchange for a potential customer email address. I use ConvertKit for my email list, but was also happy with Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. There are many providers to choose from.
*Use your social media posts to drive your followers back to your website. Instead of the hub of your business being a social media account, make it your webpage. Craft your social media posts with a call to action to move off the page and out to the real you…the website.
When you put these above items in place, you will not stress as much when the social media giants blank out. There is great peace and joy knowing that your business is secure when the online storms occur. You will still be able to connect with your customers. Hooray!
I am thrilled that you stopped by here today, and I hope you find this information helpful.
Blessings to you and your business my friend!
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