Facebook, Inc suffered a massive outage on Monday October 4th, the same day they were being investigated by Congress, and weeks after the Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files began appearing.
What’s a tech giant to do? What are YOU supposed to do as a small business owner? We explore three ways customers can wean off Facebook – and what your business can do to reach them next.
- It’s the inbox, baby!
- Video rules – YouTube and TikTok
- Patreon, in-house networks and private apps
It’s the inbox, baby! Your customers WILLINGLY gave you permission to email them. Get to it! Further, show them how searching their inbox yields a wealth of informative, entertaining ways to engage with your business by searching your business name or a category. I’m not talking the sales emails you want to send, but the really meaty content that you know you SHOULD send but don’t want to take the time to produce. Your email marketing should be about 4:1 informative + entertaining and sales. Further, you can show them how the use of their inbox – UNFILTERED by an algorithm, gets them to the stuff they want most anyway. Most people didn’t come to Facebook for the spam ads, or the divisive political content – they came for their friends’ photos, and their favorite brand’s informative and entertaining content. Yes, they LIKE YOU! Really!
Video rules! As customers got booted from FB’s services on Monday, amidst the turmoil and news that they’re really just a big company interested in making money (yeah, sorry, so is everyone!) many turned to YouTube. Anyone with a teen or tween knows how powerful YouTube is. But it’s also a great place to connect with wonderful content from small businesses. If you’re not on YouTube, it needs to be a strategy. Many gravitated toward Tik Tok during the outage too – and older customers dusted off their Twitter accounts (and Twitter posted this! LOL!)
As you look to provide video content, remember that customers value authenticity over polish – and you can get a ton more info about using, creating and sharing video here and here and here, in our many blog posts about how to get started with video content. If you’re camera-shy, you can focus on your hands or your screen with the use of tripods and screen recording software.
You can mix up video – some longer form video, some shorter form, with an emphasis on short to medium videos that don’t require a ton of time for the customer to commit. Mix up longer form “podcast” style content with shorter, informative, how-to type content as some viewers don’t want to sit through the yackity yack – but some DO!
Patreon, in-house memberships and private apps are here – and they’re not going away. You can offer private spaces – PAID private spaces – for your customers to go to get your content and your premium stuff – and you can give them a reason to get off Facebook (and Google) by coming to your private networks. If you have a membership website, or even your own private app, you can keep them all for yourself! Of course, you have to get them there – and you can do THAT with email, website and, yes, traditional social media like Instagram and Facebook. The time to be moving into these other private networks and video is NOW.
Is Facebook declining? Well if you’re under 35 and live in the United States, yes. It’s still a growing platform in the developing world, with the problems that come with a (largely unrestricted) platform that reaches all. Our bet – based on 4 decades in the tech industry – platforms come and go – but your own owned networks built on your own apps or your own website offer the most longevity.
Do note though that it’s either “one more app”, or one more place a customer has to be engaged – so be proactive and ask customers. Do they want to see a private space, an app or use a platform like Patreon (where they may access more private paid content from others they also follow.)
Pinterest and Twitter still offer discovery platforms with less of the turmoil and expense of Facebook. Consider these if your product and brand support content and sharing here. These discovery platforms are different – Twitter is fast moving (content changes minute by minute), and Pinterest is evergreen – your customer can find content from last week or five years ago and still engage with it.
The Facebook outage coupled with their recent newsworthiness means a lot of your customers are pausing right now. They’re starting by deleting the apps from their mobile devices, and they’re consciously taking a look at where and how they spend their precious time. Make sure you’re offering them multiple ways to engage with your business and remember – they ASKED to be on your email list in the first place!
Note: we shared THIS content first to our email list, then to Twitter and Linkedin and Pinterest, and then to Facebook and Instagram.
Need help producing that informative content? Starting at $375, you can get started with a short video how-to mini course, or for a little more, a series of video how-tos. I’ll produce them with the same passionate care as you would. Ask how you can make this happen for your business!