How can businesses handle a social media outage?

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Today, the lines between physical and virtual worlds are very blurred and with each passing day, thinning further and further. To many, social media platforms are the entirety of the internet. Millions of users around the globe use these platforms to communicate, connect and use them as their digital memory wall.

On Monday, Oct 4, 2021- Facebook and connected app suite- Instagram and WhatsApp were down for nearly 6 hours.

Whatever the reason for the outage, it did affect individuals as well as businesses.

Individuals were not able to connect with families, call back home, connect with friends abroad, nor connect with their favorite influencers and brands.

Businesses were also left in the dark, as many were not able to provide product updates, nor communicate with their audiences.

So what contingency plans can businesses have for a social media outage?

  1. Focus on Owned Media: A lot of businesses have been over-reliant on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and in their defense, why not? It is where their audience has a digital presence so it makes sense to connect with them on their preferred platforms. However, neglecting your own media can be a big mistake as it makes it really difficult for individuals to connect with brands and vice-versa. Without owned media, brands can be handicapped and not able to pivot last-minute strategies should the need arise. Having an email list, in addition to your own website, can be a strategic step to ensure your marketing efforts are not reliant on third-party platforms. A case can also be made in favor of Telegram, for as a business, you can create your own group and communication channels to connect with your audience. The added benefit of using Telegram is that individuals can connect with each other via just the username, without sharing phone numbers or email addresses, thus fostering privacy-respecting communications with your audience.
  2. Do not put all your eggs in one basket: Facebook is undoubtedly the biggest social media platform in the world, even furthering its reach with acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp. Owing to the great network effects these platforms can offer, it does make sense to utilize these platforms. However, focusing on one platform can lead to dead alleyways should the platform face issues of any kind. From a strategy perspective, yes, focusing on one platform and doing it right makes sense in the face of limited resources and limited marketing budgets, however, a smarter approach would be to have a weighted approach to platform presence. Focus on one primary platform where you can connect with your audience but also have multiple fall-back platforms with robust activity so that you can connect with your audience should something go awry with the primary platform you are utilizing for your business needs.
  3. Have a fail-safe for platform-specific events: A lot of companies leverage the ‘Live’ feature offered by platforms for an array of uses such as live sessions, live Q&A, live behind-the-scenes, live product demos, etc. In case of a social media platform outage, where your preferred platform is not available, it is a good idea to telecast and host the same ‘Live’ session over on another platform simultaneously. This allows your business event to continue unhinged and minimize any losses.

A case for peer-to-peer and decentralized Social Networks

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

We all have heard that before. It is unlikely that every social media platform will witness an outage simultaneously. Except in the event of a solar blast.

Decentralized networks and social media apps have been the talk of the town for some time now, and a prediction of solar blast knocking off the internet for several weeks and months strengthens the case for utilizing decentralized social networks and peer-to-peer platforms.

In Closing

Businesses should not panic nor topple over their existing social media strategy, for these outages are rare occurrences.

The best way forward is:

→ To cultivate a presence on multiple social media platforms
→ To fortify owned media efforts
→ To utilize multiple communication platforms
→ To strengthen the business use case for leveraging decentralized platforms

If found value, or have more thoughts on the topic, please give a clap or start a conversation in the comments.

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