Yesterday’s Facebook outage showed us clearly that we can’t rely on social media for communication with our existing and potential customers. An email list that you actually own is the safest and most sustainable way to communicate with your customers and nurture your leads. But still – social media remain a great tool for building one! Let’s see how you can use social media to build your subscribers’ list. That way, you will become independent from social media whatever happens: whether it’s another Facebook outage, your account gets suspended, or your followers stop using the platform – your email list remains safe.
What happened during the Facebook outage?
Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp were partially down yesterday for 14 hours, apparently due to problems with an overloaded database. While the #facebookdown hashtag was trending on Twitter, several individuals and businesses found themselves unable to:
- log into their accounts
- post new updates
- upload photos
- use Ads Manager
- – and – most importantly – communicate with their audience.
All this for nearly 14 hours!
Events like this provide food for thought:
What if social media disappeared altogether one day?! 😱
Are you prepared? Would the demise of Facebook ruin your business too?
In today’s post out guest writer Emilia, a content strategist at a social media scheduling tool Postfity.com will have a look at how you can prepare yourself and your business for similar situations.
In addition, Emilia will explain why newsletters are still the best way to communicate with your leads, and how you can use social media to collect email subscribers. Just in case another Facebook apocalypse is just around the corner! (OR the fussy platform changes its algorithm and slashes organic reach again!)
Social media are without a doubt a great marketing tool. But the cries that ’email is dead’ were premature. And incidents like yesterday’s Facebook outage make it all the clear:
Social media marketing will NEVER replace email marketing.
Imagine you run your marketing exclusively on social media. You have replaced your website with a Facebook page. Same with your online store – as you can now sell directly on Facebook. You communicate with your audience only on social media platforms. Posts on social media have replaced your blog posts. You also use exclusively Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to find leads. And you nurture the relationship with your leads through chatbot marketing, not newsletters.
Now, imagine what happens if:
– Facebook outage last much longer than 14 hours
– The other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn are down as well
– Facebook, Instagram or another social medium blocks your account (and you can’t do anything about it!)
– The algorithm on the platforms you are using changes for the worse – and the organic reach drops so much nobody sees your posts. This, by the way, is already happening:
The falling organic reach rates mean that out of every 100 followers only up to five have a chance to see your post at all. Which doesn’t mean they will. It only means that Facebook publishes your post to their feeds. Unlike email marketing, you can’t see who exactly saw your post either, so you can’t segment your followers’ lists in any way.
– The users start leaving the old platform for a new one (Impossible? Well, remember MySpace a few years ago?)
What happens to your business then? 😱
If you don’t have your own email list and your own platforms to attract traffic and generate leads, your business is extremely vulnerable to the decisions made by social media.
Let’s face the truth:
#1. You don’t own your Facebook page or Instagram account. You don’t own the followers. Facebook owns them.
A single decision of Facebook to shut down your account due to ‘violations of terms and conditions is pretty much irrevocable. If you’re building your audience only on social media, you can lose your follower base overnight.
This won’t happen if you’re using your social media to build your email subscriber list.
How to build your email subscriber list using social media?
As we already mentioned, Facebook and other social media are great marketing tools – especially for building brand awareness and reaching new potential customers.
You should, however, treat social media as marketing tools for the top of your sales funnel (the very beginning of the customer journey):
…and make sure you funnel the followers on your Facebook page / Instagram account down the customer journey – and convert them into your newsletter subscribers.
That way, you will gain control over your communication with those leads – and won’t fall victim to any Facebook outage again.
Here are 7 ways how you can convert your Facebook/ Instagram followers into newsletter subscribers:
- Offer a downloadable ‘freebie’ to those who follow you on your Facebook page and to the members of the group some valuable materials to download from the landing page after subscribing to your newsletter.
- Organize a webinar/ Go Live – and collect newsletters from the participants of the webinar via a landing page (with a subscription to the newsletter – however, this must be clearly stated for the subscription to be in line with the GDPR)
- After the webinar, give the participants an opportunity to download notes from the webinar / or the webinar video – from your landing page – also provided that they subscribe to your newsletter;
- Offer your followers a free email course
- Start a closed group on FB and ask for an e-mail as a condition for joining the group in question. (A bit radical, but on the other hand you’d be better off with just a handful of really determined people in the group, than a whole bunch of spammers and ‘dead souls’.
- Use a “Pinned post” on your Twitter and Facebook page to advertise your free email course subscription.
- Use Facebook Lead Generation ads to collect even more signups to your webinars, freebie downloads, and email course signups.
Hope this helps you prepare for another Facebook outage – and develop a more balanced and sustainable marketing strategy.
Do you have any other ideas on how you can protect yourself from future social media outages? Or maybe you have another way of collecting subscribers on social media?
Let us know in the comments!
P.S.: For more ways how to collect email subscribers check out our earlier post here.
About the author:
Emilia is a content strategist at a social media at a social media scheduling tool Postfity.com
She loves travelling and running. Currently, she’s running a Social Media Academy with Posfity, where she teaches small business owners how to do social media marketing effectively.
Jodi Graham says
Great advice Emilia! We never think about our lack of control and ownership of social media until something crazy like yesterday’s shut down happened…time to create a backup plan 🙂