Yesterday, Facebook and its related apps, including Instagram, experienced an outage. Many users reported the inability to log-on and use these social media platforms. While some people might roll their eyes and deem this a non-priority issue, there are many for whom the outage was crippling.
Facebook (which also owns Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) has evolved into more than a cool place to post cat memes and recipes. There are almost 3 billion social media users worldwide, which translates to more than a third of the world’s population using social media to communicate.
For many people, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms are today’s virtual water cooler. They are communication tools, often critical for sharing information and connecting with professional contacts. They are also advertising platforms so an extended outage like the one we just experienced can affect revenue.
My work was directly impacted by the Facebook outage. I could not post social media content related to clients’ products and events. I could not check metrics to evaluate advertising performance. On a more fundamental level, there were individuals I could not exchange information with.
I’ve identified seven strategies to avoid a work interruption when Facebook (or any other social media platform) goes offline.
1. Email clients to alert them to potential problems. If you anticipate the outage may impact specific issues (such as a prescheduled live event) be prepared to offer solutions to minimize impact on clients’ followers/audience (such as sending out an eblast/email).
2. Check other social media profiles for messages or outreach from clients/contacts who usually rely on the channel(s) experiencing an interruption.
3. Monitor the outage so you can resume work as soon as access is restored.
4. Post a message acknowledging the outage on other social media profiles. Include instructions/contact information if appropriate.
5. Expand your social media footprint. If you only have profiles on one or two platforms, create “social media outposts” on other channels to remain accessible. Chris Syme has how-to advice on using outpost channels.
6. Collect contact information for clients/contacts. Include email and phone numbers, as well as social media links.
7. Diversify how and where you communicate, connect, engage and advertise. Social media is just one method for communication. Others include your website, blogs, newsletter, texting, phone calls and–my personal favorite–in person.