What The Great Facebook Outage Means for Small Businesses

Samantha Ford
5 min read

It's not news that last month, Facebook experienced the worst downtime it had in well over 2 years. What is news is that it took down some of the biggest business and communication platforms for nearly an entire day.

No, this is not the longest outage we've seen from Facebook HQ in its history. But, since the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and small businesses started up and exist exclusively on social media. Facebook is boasting historically high numbers of business accounts and, of course, Facebook ad revenue. And, as Instagram increasingly becomes a pay-to-play space, small businesses are feeling forced to choose between investing in their website or boosting their posts.

So where does that leave small businesses and their marketing efforts? The Facebook outage had a profound impact on these companies that run products exclusively on social media, who rely on Facebook-owned messengers to communicate with their customers, and who push sales through social. We don't yet know the full impact this has had on business accounts—particularly lost revenue.

Are you a small business that panicked when you saw Facebook and Instagram were down? Do you think you lost revenue? Do you see a noticeable difference in sales on the days you post and interact with your social media followers overall? If social media is the backbone of your success, what does that mean for your long-term business and how do you pivot in case the outage happens again (which is likely!)?

This might be a hard pill to swallow, but it means you don't have a business. At least, not a long-term, scalable business. But there are some things you can do you can do about it.

How to Scale Beyond Social Media for a Sustainable Business Model

1. Create an email subscriber list

Creating an email list is vital to a growing business. While an online platform has its vulnerabilities, you'll never lose your email list. And emails are one of very few remaining algorithm-free digital marketing avenues. Be sure the platform you choose is solid and has great analytics or links to Google Analytics.

Protip: offer a freebie of some kind to entice your customers (Subscribe to my email list and we'll never lose touch (unlike IG ;)) is a great example).

2. Diversify your marketing

It's true that we're big proponents of scaling down your marketing. We work with way too many clients who take the approach they must be on every platform. This isn't true! But, if your ENTIRE business is reliant on Instagram, that's just a bad marketing strategy.

You should be on the platforms where your customers are. Not everyone needs to be on TikTok, even if it is the fastest-growing social media network in 2021. But by being multi-platform, especially if the platforms are owned by different parent companies (Google and YouTube, Facebook and Instagram), if there's ever an issue with one of these platforms, you have backups in the others. And you avoid burning out your marketing team.

3. Build a website

If you're a legitimate business selling products or services online and you don't have a website, please rethink your entire business strategy. Seriously. Having your own website allows you to own all your data and own what's happening when and where. This allows you to develop a content marketing strategy, ensuring you'll never face an outage at the hands of Facebook.

This is likely to be the first of many, many changes and issues coming for the social media giant, Facebook. If you don't know where to go to solidify your business outside their platforms, contact us. We'll help you with the right strategy to move your business forward, not into the darkness.