Facebook’s Outage and the Big Impact on Small Businesses

Last week, the Facebook outage, compounded by the Congressional testimony of that platform’s former employee, Frances Haugen, topped the news for several days. The ripple effects, however, may last for some time—particularly for small businesses that advertise on Facebook, not to mention its “family” of platforms that include Instagram.

Reactions toward the outage—from funny to fearful

As Garett Sloane phrased in AdAge, as “the Facebook hangover,” what made this social media crisis worse was the fact that it coincided with the beginning of a very busy fourth quarter. Some brands made light of the incident by simply posting to Twitter, such as Snickers, which tweeted “Maybe Facebook and Instagram just need a SNICKERS.” At the opposite extreme, however, Mr. Sloane points out that last year, a single day’s revenue for Facebook advertising equaled approximately $233 million. All brands were impacted. And this impact was undoubtedly harder on local, smaller brands.

Social media and small businesses

Since small businesses do not have the fame and name recognition as many big box brands, the advent of being able to promote their goods and services on social media has become their proverbial bread and butter. Additionally, as Raisa Bruner noted in TIME Magazine article, the outage not only cost small businesses considerable traffic, but it also prevented them from communicating with their customers. This was perhaps the greatest casualty, as the more personalized merchant-to-customer relationship is the foundation for the success of small businesses.

The lesson to be learned from the Facebook outage

Ms. Bruner received insight from investor and Instagram influencer, Michele Romanow, who stated that businesses should have more diversification in their methods of advertising. Indeed, the takeaway from last week’s Facebook fallout is that small businesses should strengthen their methods of marketing in order to maintain relationships with current customers while making their presences known to new ones. Yes, small businesses should continue to use social media as an advertising tool, but they mustn’t place all attention, assets—and particularly, dependence—on these platforms.

Staying diversified

As with any enterprise, a healthy mix of resources to promote a business—from announcing latest sales to being able to answer customer questions and concerns—is key to survival. Keeping a website up-to-date and even utilizing traditional print, television and radio forms of creative development all strongly complement the easy access and popularity of social media advertising.

Small businesses may also greatly benefit from Raydeus Local, a digital marketing platform that oversees everything from local listing to reputation management, among many other services.

Give EGC a call to find out how we can help make your business visible, up-to-date, and manageable when unexpected events take place.