Last week (4th October 2021), the Facebook group of social media apps went down. And the collective internet came together to mock Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram. This gave Twitter a short-lived surge in popularity and a lot of entertaining memes (I’ve included some below). It also gave many businesses a shock.
For many businesses, the Facebook group of apps provide the sole point of contact that they have with their customers. While the platforms were down for a little over 6 hours, some businesses have seen this as a sign that they need to make changes.
Why Change Their Approach?
For many small businesses, their marketing approach is limited to a small number of sites. These are often where they receive the most sales from. In most cases, this results in Facebook and Instagram being the core of any promotional strategies. This reliance has only increased over the last few years. This is because Facebook, Instagram and many other platforms have pushed social commerce to the forefront of their own growth strategies. By offering in-app shopping and payment features there has been less and less incentive for small businesses to invest in additional platforms. Such as their own website.
Therefore, through this reliance on social media, small businesses are at the mercy of the platforms, their algorithms and, as seen last week, their infrastructure. When changes have been made to these platforms, businesses that are reliant on them see a huge change in their fortunes. Both good and bad.
What Can They Do?
In short. Reduce their reliance on a single platform or small group of platforms.
The slightly longer answer is that these businesses should look to expand their promotion strategy. This reduces the risk of platform changes. These include algorithm updates or complete shutdowns that can be devastating to their business. These businesses might therefore choose to look towards increasing traffic to their own website and building an email list. This gives the business ‘owned’ platforms. These can be used to communicate, promote and sell products directly to their target audience without being subject to the whims of social networks.
Stay in Touch with Your Customers Through Email
It is worth noting that while social media platforms provide an instant connection with customers, and allows for a quick two-way dialogue, it’s important not to disregard other forms of communicating, such as websites and email. Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp might have been down last week, but email remains as dependable and robust as ever.
There are a number of benefits for businesses when building revenue streams that are not reliant on social media. For example, e-commerce websites and emails marketing can integrate seamlessly with shopping feeds on social media and search engines. This not only gives sellers the ability to sell through social profiles but also offers an additional avenue for sales.
When sending emails, you can carefully tailor your messaging to address specific customers. This is compared to the more general approach you might need to take with social media. You’re also not limited to word counts, so can get into a bit more detail about your products and services. Your message is also be sent directly to your customer’s inbox. Instead of competing with the sea of voices and algorithm changes on social media. You are in front of your audience when you hit ‘Send’.
I don’t recommend ditching social media for email. However, a good business has multiple ways to stay in touch with its customers. A solid email marketing strategy coupled with a website can work with your other promotional methods to bring many benefits.