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The Big Social Media Breakdown of 2021 For Small Businesses

Facebook, Instagram, Messenger & Whatsapp all go down at once!

On Wednesday morning NZ time, we all woke up to four of the most used apps in the world not working: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp.

If you have whānau overseas, or work in social media (like us), you would have noticed this pretty much straight away. While others, who aren’t so reliant on it, may not have noticed it at all! 

It soon became apparent that it wasn’t the internet that was down. And it wasn’t just you - 3.5 billion people were affected! Why did it go down? Well that’s another story - but you can read about that here.

Do you rely on social media for your business?

These apps, while they have their pros and cons, are relied on by most small businesses around the world. And it got us to thinking: if the only way you connect with your customers is through Instagram or Facebook, you’re royally doomed when these sorts of outages occur.

Of course, as with every communication tool, there will always be instances when you are “offline”. Heck, we have lasted almost two years where a lot of the world was ONLY working remote. So to say businesses are good at adapting to change put in place in the environments around us is an absolute understatement.

Simply put, you need more than social media to survive.

Social media is a great tool - an EXCELLENT tool - one that we promote here at The Renew Room. We even run client’s social media accounts and run ads for them across Facebook and Instagram. But this cannot be your sole marketing strategy. You need much more than this to survive. More importantly if you are a purely online business. 

Facebook and Instagram are marketing channels: you use them, but you do not own your account. You could get shadowbanned at any moment, you could get blocked and have to start over - and because it is used by billions of people around the world - you can’t just call someone up and get your account back.

When you rely on third party systems to keep your business alive, at some point you’re going to be affected. 

What other things do you need in place alongside social media?

First things first...  a website!

If you own a business in 2021, you need a website. It’s how people know you exist. The days of walking past your store in the mall (especially during lockdown season) is long gone. Pair that with social media going down, and you’re literally invisible.

So if you don’t have a website yet - seriously consider it. Most people find out about new businesses through google. If you have good content well written with SEO in mind, as well as paid ads, you will be seen - and it will bring you in more revenue than you think possible. You only need to look at your own consumer habits.

Imagine this...

If you’re thinking of travelling to a different city and want to find a good restaurant, you’re likely going to start with a google search: “Best Italian Food  in Wellington” (as an example). Now you might narrow your search down through what is closer to the place you’re staying, but you will probably want to look at a menu, and maybe see some photos of their food. What better place to host all of this information than a website?

Once you’re on the website - guess what - this Italian restaurant now knows you. They know you exist - and they have got your data - so can send you ads across the internet, or even on social media, and say “Hey - are you hungry for Garlic Bread? Cause who isn’t?”. Enticing you even more to choose them!

Another thing to think about is a Google My Business account.

When you’re searching the interwebs for the best gnocchi a gal could ask for, you’re going to be served a whole bunch of restaurants through their Google My Business account. 

The trick here is to actually USE Google My Business. It’s not a one & done scenario. Constantly put updates like you would any other social media platform. Post your menu. Post updates to your menu. Post updates of your food. Post photos of new food items. And lastly (but most importantly) encourage reviews! Then respond to said reviews and answer questions that people ask! 

If I see a review that says “straight up, if I was on death row and I had to choose my last meal - it would be at [insert Wellington Italian restaurant name here]” - you KNOW I am going to make sure I give this place a go. 

But, how do I communicate with my customers if not through the gram?

If you’re using Instagram and Facebook stories effectively to chat to your customers about upcoming deals, issues with stock, or even using Live’s to do workouts - you’re not alone. If you have a Facebook group that is dedicated to your customers to talk through regular updates and just have an online community - you’re also not alone.

If these are your only channels of communication - YOU ARE ALSO NOT ALONE.

It is so common for businesses to use Facebook and Instagram solely to communicate with their clients or customers online.

It is certainly not wrong to use these channels - even as your main comms strategy - but it need to be accompanied by other strategies.

Our favourite one to talk about is email marketing.

Email marketing is an excellent way to connect with your customers. You can use it to give updates, to promote sales, to talk about your upcoming products - and you can even use it to give exclusive discounts. It’s building a loyalty base for your brand. When social media goes down - you can postpone your live through email - rather than refreshing your feed every 2 minutes in hopes that everything is back up and running.

Not only is email marketing a great tool for connecting with your customers regularly - you can also extend that one step further with an automation strategy. Think end-to-end sales funnels, reconnecting with those that haven’t opened an email for a year, or even birthday discounts! It’s all possible through the power of email. 

Are you ready for the next outage?

Not trying to be a daisy downer, but the internet comes in and out all the time. 

Of course traditional marketing methods (if you have the budget) will always be available - radio, TV, outdoor, mail-outs - but if you’re online, stop relying on two apps to get it all done.

If you haven’t already got the below three things sorted, then get onto it now - before the next outage!

  • A website with good content
  • A Google My Business account
  • An email marketing strategy

To end with a not-so-subtle plug on The Renew Room... If you aren’t a DIY kind of guy - we can help you with all of the above (and more). 

Interested? Email hello@therenewroom.co.nz or go to our contact page for more information.


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