When Facebook went offline this week, the variety of reactions were telling. To some, going without the world’s most powerful social platform left them feeling isolated. Others saw the outage as a welcome break from the constant barrage of likes, shares, and messages. Many thought of it as nothing more than a simple inconvenience.
In fact, the only thing that was truly unusual about the responses was that they weren’t shared on Facebook itself. There were no thumbs-up buttons or worried face emojis sent through the social network itself.
For most of the world, the event will be a small blip that will quickly be forgotten. For business owners, entrepreneurs, and marketers, though, even a temporary loss of Facebook was a powerful reminder that important sources of online traffic and revenue can disappear in the blink of an eye. And that, really, takes us to the number one business lesson to draw from this week’s Facebook outage…
Never Put All Your Eggs in One Marketing Basket
Obviously, “spread the risk around” isn’t exactly groundbreaking advice. Neither does it qualify as a cutting-edge, digital-age business tactic. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth thinking about.
Consider some of the advances we have all lived through the past few years:
- Numerous Google algorithm updates that suddenly cut off traffic to previously popular websites.
- Shifts in Facebook’s display algorithm that (for some) reduced organic viewership by 90% without any warning.
- The growth of brand-new social channels like TikTok that rocketed to popularity out of nowhere.
These are obvious and recent examples. We could get into bigger changes around Google’s link scoring, for example, or go further back to the days of MySpace. That’s not necessary to reach the bigger point, however. There was a time when you could count on a medium like highway billboards, magazine ads, or direct mail to stay constant for years or decades. Now, it pays to always look for new and better ways to reach out to your market… all while watching for disruptions to existing sources of revenue.
As obvious as the need to adapt to a changing digital landscape can seem, it’s harder than it looks. As new platforms and best practices emerge, it’s human nature to want to stick to the processes that have worked in the past. The more confusing and complex the world feels, the more likely we are to hold on to the tactics that have previously made us feel comfortable and successful. So, we cling to them even when they stop working.
Keep Facebook, But Don’t Ignore Everything Else
If you’ve been paying attention, you will have noticed that we aren’t advising you to stop using Facebook as a tool for advertising and promotion. It’s still a very valuable forum that millions of business owners use to reach out to their customers. What we are telling you, however, is that you shouldn’t be dependent on it. In fact, you shouldn’t be overly reliant on any single search engine or social channel.
The key to online marketing success, now and in the future, is to emphasize winning strategies while keeping agile. We know that can be difficult, which is why businesses like ours exist to keep you ahead of the curve rather than falling behind it. While some advisors and creative teams have been blindsided by the Facebook outage that occurred this week, we simply think it proves the point we’ve been making all along.