Opinion

#FacebookDown - How to survive a social media blackout

Hayley Bonnick

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05.10.2021

#FacebookDown - How to survive a social media blackout

Leading social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp are back up and running after an outage that left their users without service for almost six hours. Facebook have since stated that the issue was down to a faulty configuration change that affected their internal tools. But how did Facebook manage communications during this time with their 3.5 billion users?

They took to their competitor platform, Twitter. 

And of course, this outage isn’t the first, in fact, platforms have technical difficulties to overcome all the time.  But when you’re the world’s most widely used social media platform, you can’t hide away that easily. Of course Twitter and its users were ready and well-versed in poking fun at the situation and all the big brands were quick to jump in on the fun, with huge accounts like, Adele, McDonalds and Starbucks responding to Twitter’s response to the situation to capitalise on the influx of users engaging with trending subjects #Facebook and Instagram, and #Whatsapp down.

Owning your brand's digital space

Whatsapp and Instagram’s social media team were quick to get in on the conversation too, gaining over 115k retweets between their two posts and 595k likes.

This is an important, strategic move from the Facebook platforms in crisis management. The world is watching impatiently in real-time at their failing and they’re completely owning their space. Keeping up with conversation and their brand personable, who hasn’t experience a bad Monday?

This is important for any brand to take note. There will always be challenges in business, but having a strong online presence across the digital ecosystem with a proactive and savvy digital team can help protect your brand’s reputation and retain customers. 

Brand’s that are visible and have community management as part of their on-going social media strategy can navigate crisis more seamlessly. Being present and visible across platforms gives organisations agility to react quickly and demonstrate to audiences that your brand is reliable. 

A costly social apocalypse 

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg is reported to have lost $6 billion in personal wealth as his social empire plummeted for the six hour stretch, but this isn’t the only cost of the outage.

For many users the blackout simply removed a form of entertainment, but for some the outage will have impacted their income, preventing influencers and businesses relying on paid ads to drive business. 

The greater cost is possibly brand perception. For organisations that fall silent or do not have integrated activity set up, these types of digital crisis really shine a light on the true leaders. Brands that have a consistent multichannel approach to their marketing and communication activity needn’t break a sweat when a platform fails or a technical glitch happens. They and their audience know they can reach each other across any channel, any device, at any time. 

Social media users are also website visitors, offline store customers or brand ambassadors, keeping your brand in the forefront of your audience and controlling how your brand is perceived is paramount in all situations, not just during a crisis. 

91% of consumers that follow brands on social will visit their website or app, whilst 90% will go on to buy from that brand.

Getting your social media strategy right to support your broader marketing and business aims is paramount. Book a consultation with an expert today to find out how to strengthen your social media marketing.

Optimise your organisation’s digital ecosystem

During the Facebook outage Twitter was noticeably able to take part in some banter around the situation and capitalise from some big names engaging on their platform, to mention the free PR.

But this wouldn’t have been the case if their development teams hadn’t built a scalable platform that would be able to handle a huge surge of additional users in a short space of time. Having the right technical foundations in place meant that their social media team could get stuck in and use this blackout to their advantage, demonstrating them as perhaps one of the most dependable social media platforms. 

The 3 billion users also fled to Snapchat and TikTok amongst other platforms in this time, however there were reports of users experiencing a bit of a lag in app performance, unlike, Twitter which seems to have established itself as the more reliable in a crisis. 

What can brands learn from this? Optimise your ecosystems. Ensuring that your websites and apps have been built to scale with peaks and drops in traffic, company growth and securely for your brand and your users is paramount and could even elevate your business.

How to review your brand’s digital marketing

Making sure that your organisation’s marketing strategy and infrastructure is optimised to perform to its best is key to success. We are BBI, an award-winning integrated marketing agency that’s been helping enterprise level brands achieve their goals since 2011. We are a team of experienced strategists, designers, developers and digital marketers that offer a range of services to help our clients to move their audiences and achieve great results. Contact us today to discuss your social media activity and how we can help accelerate your brand.