I want to talk about Facebook – social media in general, but Facebook first.
You see my Facebook Business Page went down back in February in amongst all the Australian media that went down too in the “Great Facebook Media Blackout of 2021”.
My feed was deleted – my Business page was not – so you could still go there, but there was nothing to see. The feed was shut down for around four days.
But it’s not the four days of no Facebook Page that I want to talk about today, it’s everything else around it.
For those in my world who have listened to my many podcasts, read many of my blogs, follow me on social media – all the following points will sound familiar.
Many people had not actually seen in action the blockout capacity until February when Facebook showed it power – it’s extraordinary power – with absolutely no notice and no one to call to complain about it.
So first up, full disclosure – I don’t like Mark Zuckerberg and it’s not a “rich” thing, it’s a monopoly thing. I’ve studied law and economics enough to not be a fan of monopolies in most industries.
So, I guess as his least fan – my thoughts as follows definitely are not complimentary to his business model!
- His power, the power of Facebook – we have learnt firsthand, in fact SEEN firsthand, the power over a platform we rely on – albeit a little much.
No warning, no notice.
Facebook literally has the power to turn you off at any stage!
Let that sink in for a second – even if you are PAYING Facebook to run ads, they can switch.you.off at a whim.
And although we all “knew” this could happen – I don’t think most people really appreciated the power they had until they switched off accounts.
As I say very frequently – “Don’t build empires on crown land (land you don’t own or control).”
- A private company asserting it’s influence over a democratic society. Wrong on so many levels – so many.
The big thing here was that it wasn’t just media that was scooped up in that blackout – many emergency services and other government pages that communities have come to rely on for information regarding emergencies and other critical public interest events were wiped out too.
It reinforces that Facebook does have massive power over what the general public have access to when it comes to information.
- Being all about supporting small business but not really supporting small business at all.
Now this one stung me when the blackout happened, probably more than it normally would.
My other business, Spend With Us – the marketplace platform I have for rural and regional small businesses (check it out if haven’t already – www.spendwithus.com.au) had just got a HUGE article on news.com.au – it was a fabulous article showcasing two of our sellers and their journey with Spend With Us and how it’s helped them.
Although I knew their stories, it still made me tear up reading it – to think that what started out as a single thought could help so much, and it was very heart-warming for me.
The problem was though, due to the media blackout, I couldn’t shout it from the roof tops – I couldn’t link to it on news.com.au – I couldn’t get the traction from it. None of the accolades and the engagement from it that I could get if I could share it, shout it – sing about it.
This hurt me most in that whole blackout debacle.
We’d waited weeks for this article to come out – bad timing hey?
(I’ll put a link to it here in case you’d like to read it!
In fact, in that blackout period between my two businesses, we had media attention from news.com.au, Smart Company, Ninemsn, ASPL Leadership and a few more – and we couldn’t share any of them to our Facebook pages.
Yes, of course, we innovated and diversified and put them on our website and linked to them – we posted about them on our other social platforms including Facebook groups, LinkedIn and Instagram and in our newsletters – so we still got engagement and reach – but it was not on our page.
I have said for a long time now I have been saying that Facebook Business Pages are like the White Pages phone books of yesteryear. And I would say to people “If you haven’t got one – why not? Why wouldn’t you be on Facebook?”
The Facebook blackout changed that thought bubble.
So, Facebook is apparently all about helping small businesses! They promote this heavily.
However, in the blackout they showed their true colours, because if you were a small business trying to position yourself as an industry leader, as an expert in the field and as an ambassador to your brand, this almost all became null because the opportunity to use PR and media and repurpose content was very abruptly taken away.
How can Facebook say they are supporting small business, when really, they are only supporting them how they see fit – primarily via paid ads! Because let’s face it – traction on your Facebook Page has been in decline for years unless you pay to play.
BUT – I must say I had a little chuckle at the irony when my Facebook Page lost its content.
I thought, “Well Jenn, you’ve been saying for years not to rely on social media to build your brand and talk to your prospects and customers – and well, here it is – your page is gone – so no use complaining too much.”
I had actually warned myself!
I did however, quickly go and make sure my groups had more than one admin on them. I found most did, however, I noticed one of my main groups only had an additional editor – not admin – so I quickly upgraded her to protect other social media assets.
Perhaps a reminder to us all – if you have a Facebook Page & Group check that you have a trusted additional admin!
So, the question, I ask often – what would your business look like tomorrow if you woke up and your Facebook was gone?
Perhaps you’ve heard me ask that before, but now it’s seems more plausible given what happened in the Facebook blackout.
So, you might be thinking, the lecture is all good Jenn, but what do I do about it? How can I diversify? How can I take people from social media to an email list?
Ok, so glad you asked!
Here’s some ideas on how to take people from social media to an email list:
- Have a simple opt in – perhaps on your website, a pop up or in the header, your blog or in your email signature (how many times a day do you email!?!) and on your socials of course!
- Run a competition on social media and gather email addresses – go listen to my podcast episode 11 socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/11
- Create a freebie, a download or a guide – create something of value that your customers would want – like my “108 Social media Content Creation Ideas” eBook – https://socialmediaandmarketing.com.au/freebies/108-social-media-content-creation-ideas/ – exchange the freebie for an email address
- Incentive to hand over their email address – like a $20 off your first order, or 13% off etc. As a pro tip, I like giving odd numbers for strategies like this, because then you’ll know exactly where those leads came from because you don’t use 13% anywhere else!
- Link to joining your list, your freebie or your incentive on your socials – including your Facebook cover, as part of the questions to get into your group, in your Instagram bio, LinkedIn bio, Clubhouse bio etc
- Run a Lead Generation Facebook/Instagram ad and put some $$ behind your list building
- Create content that’s “bonus” content – just for people on your list – create FOMO for those who aren’t on the list
- Put the call to action button your Facebook page to connect to a “sign up” freebie
- Use Pinterest for traffic and leads to your website – and get people to sign up there
- Once you have people on your list, you can encourage them to forward or share your emails to others in their world – growing your list and audience that way too!
Of course, there’s a plethora of ways to collect emails offline – but today we are just talking about taking people from online to offline.
I’ve said for years, the number one reason why you should be on social media is to get people off social media!
So, change your mindset around why you are on social media.
Start building a list. Start putting list building strategies in place so that you don’t get caught with your pants down if you loose your social media accounts.
I’m not against social media – heck I use it every single day to grow my business and interact with my audience, but do it knowing what could and what did happen.
I didn’t have to eat humble pie, but it was still humbling to have my content removed from the platform!
Please learn from my lessons.
It’s what having a mentor in business is all about!
Things happen in my business, to my clients and I share those experiences to help everyone else via my channels, including this one!
We as humans are adaptable and we will adapt if Facebook becomes outdated or no longer serves us – a humble warning to all businesses I think, including Zuckerberg’s.
Do you need some more assistance in helping you move away from only using social media platforms to market your business?
Schedule a free discovery chat with me and let’s talk about how I can help you with your business and marketing strategy.
Book a call here: https://calendly.com/jenn-smm/discovery
If you have any queries or questions, I’d love to hear from you in the Like Minded Business Owners Facebook group – if you haven’t joined yet, please do! It’s a community of amazing small business owners who are all so generous with sharing their knowledge and journey with everyone. Or, please DM me on Instagram or shoot me an email email@example.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR!
Jenn Donovan is a marketing strategist and social media extraordinaire, coach and mentor to savvy business owners. Owner and Founder of Social Media & Marketing Australia.
With a passion for making business simple, because it’s isn’t easy but it should be simple or at least simpler, she’s built a reputation for helping other small business owners simplify their marketing and businesses so they can reach their goals, be more profitable and live the dream (finding the freedom they set out to achieve when they started … the illusive small business owner freedom dream …!)
Jenn believes in giving before asking and that’s why she’s the host of the popular Small Business Made Simple Podcast.