As I write this, Facebook is experiencing a major outage affecting users across the world. The company owns other social platforms including WhatsApp and Instagram, and these are also experiencing issues which Facebook are no doubt trying desperately to resolve as soon as possible.
My first thought in all of this was: how does this affect all those businesses who rely on Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp for the majority (or all!) of their marketing.
How many sales are they missing out on today?
How much will it add up to in terms of revenue lost?
How many people are going to look for an alternative platform if the issue isn't resolved quickly, or happens again!?
Am I Nostradamus?!
I've actually had a half-baked blog post waiting in the wings for some time now in which I discuss the risks associated with relying on one platform for your marketing, and why the simple act of relying on an external party is fraught with danger.
Sure, Facebook is a massive company, and quite unlikely to go belly up any time soon, but there are no guarantees and the average person like you or me will never truly know what is going on behind their closed doors.
So what are the risks and what are the alternatives to ensure that our business doesn't suffer even if Facebook, or Twitter, or Google, or any other corporation is in dire straits?
"Don't keep all your eggs in one basket"…. This is a sage piece of advice, as old as time.
Keeping all your assets in one place (whether that be shares, piggy banks, data storage, marketing or anything else) increases your risk should anything should go awry. We all take out insurances "just in case". We diversify our investment portfolios so that we spread our risk around in order to reduce our exposure to potential losses.
But when it comes to marketing our businesses, I see so many small (and even large) companies who only use Facebook, or only use Instagram, or only do Yellow Pages….
They heavily rely on these platforms to promote their business and make sales but may not even think twice about what they need to do if that platform fails.
By using a social platform owned by and controlled by others, you have no real control over that platform.
If the rules change, you have to follow suit. There is no grey area. A great example is the number of people still promoting their businesses by asking people to "like, share, tag" on promotional posts.
Facebook cracked down on this over a year ago by significantly reducing the overall reach of these posts and yet I still see businesses using this tactic all the time. The rules changed and not everyone knows about that but Facebook couldn't care less what you do or don't know.
If the platform disappears completely you have to find an alternative, build a new following, and hope you can do it quickly enough that your sales and profits don't take a massive hit in the meantime.
Having control gives you more options to do as you please (within legal bounds) and you are not dictated to by strict Terms of Service that may not be relevant to your industry or location.
Marketing ideas (including Facebook!)
So if you are currently relying heavily on social media to promote your business and drive sales, I urge you to consider having a couple of extra baskets.
Here are some quick ideas that may work for you:
- A professional, high quality website
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Online ads directly targeting ready buyers
- Social media platforms (as many as is appropriate, or hire a Social Media Manager for professional help)
- Email marketing
- Text messages
- Loyalty programs
There are also many other options that may work for your business.
Why not book a digital marketing strategy session with us to find out more?
We'll discuss your business marketing and how a strategic approach can reduce your risk exposure while boosting your sales and profits. We'll leave you with a solid action plan to implement, and can work with you to achieve your goals. Contact us now to find out more.