As a social media manager, I spend a ton of time on Facebook working my client’s profiles. A recent Facebook outage shed some light on just how dependent I am on Facebook while I work online.
Because it isn’t just Facebook itself I’m tied to. It turns out that I forgot the number of applications that use my Facebook account to login (rather than create a separate username/password). I was locked out of Canva (and application I use for my graphic designs), I had just signed up for a new social media tool for my business (Agorapluse) and couldn’t get started because it couldn’t connect to Facebook and I couldn’t check the sign-up sheet for my upcoming events with Sign-up Genius.
I felt like I had lost complete control over my day!
But as with anything in life, these instances help us understand some truths about our business and I wanted to share my lessons with you.
Facebook Outage Lesson 1:
Every Business Needs to Own their Online Space
With a Facebook outage and most of the world unable to update or access the site (and anything related to it) it brings to light more than ever that you can not rely on these applications to control your business. So many small businesses rely on Facebook to be their website. But the truth is you do not own that space online. Facebook could have an outage or ban your account and you would lose everything you have going for you!
So what should you do?
First and foremost get a space online that you own! Find buy a domain from any number of sources (I tend to like GoDaddy). Even if you are a business on a budget it doesn’t take much to buy this little piece of the online world. It may take time to find the right domain (especially if you are an established business and that
Once you have your url established you then need to find a company to host your site for you. There are a number of options. I personally work with SiteGround , they have great customer service, I have never had an issue with speed or outage and I feel like they don’t nickel and dime you for every add on.
A few things to watch for when you are looking for hosting is that you want to look for backups and security. Be sure you know the pricing on this before you buy it. Some sites will include it in their monthly fees and others will not.
Once you have your online address you need to build your house…I mean your website! There are so many solutions out there to help you do it yourself depending on your needs and some of them are for free. Personally I have a WordPress site that uses a Genesis theme and child theme from Restored 316 to customize it. But you don’t have to go that far. There are companies like Wix.com that will help you build a simple site as well.
Whatever solution you decide to deploy having your own website means that you have a place that is yours to control online. You can check out some of my other favorite tools for our website on my resource page.
Facebook Outage Lesson #2:
You need to be able to reach your customers
If Facebook or any other social media outlet is the only way you reach your customers you need to change that now!
I have seen shop owners who regularly post changes in their store times on Facebook. I have also seen non-profits that put out the call for donations and volunteers through Facebook as well. But during a Facebook outage, they will be unable to reach their customers to let them know about their needs.
So how do you consistently reach your customers?
Just like with social media, people are constantly in their email boxes. They are also picky about what lands there so those that keep you want to hear from you. But how do you get their emails in the first place?
I was having this conversation with a client earlier. He expressed that he was frustrated that he gets a large number of visitors to his webpage every month, but only a very small number reach out to him. When we looked at his site it became apparent that the call to action (to reach out to him) was only for people who were serious about buying his product. We needed to offer a way for people who wanted to stay in touch to do so (without the large commitment).
In this case, I suggested he think about the customers he wanted to attract and offer something to them in exchange for their email. Some simple ideas are:
- Create a how-to guide
- Create a checklist
- Offer a discount code
- Provide private access to a Facebook Group
- Early access to promotions
The idea here is to offer something that you know your customers will value, but not something that will take you a ton of time to create. Then you can use an email exchange service like MailChimp, Mailerlite or Convertkit to collect and organize the emails.
The key here is to be sure that you then stay connected! You don’t have to send emails every day but find a schedule that works for you (and your customers enjoy) and stick to it!
Facebook Outage Lesson #3:
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket
My last lesson learned from the Facebook outage is that I should not constantly rely on Facebook to log me into applications. Yes, its easy, so super easy to click on that “Login with Facebook” link. I love that I’m always (almost) connected to my favorite sites without having to login. But now, I don’t think the sacrifice is worth it!
My business almost came to a stand still because I now couldn’t access the applications and websites that I use to conduct mine and my client’s business. I was completely relying on Facebook and that wasn’t a great feeling. So even though it’s easier, I think from now on I’m going to stick to creating usernames and passwords.
What would happen to you and your business during the next Facebook outage?