Facebook and all its properties, including Instagram and WhatsApp, have been offline since this Wednesday morning. Social media managers aren't having a good day, nor is, well, Facebook. But your business? It doesn't, and perhaps shouldn't, be in rough shape.
Facebook may be back up by the time you read this, so take it as a gentle reminder: Your business should not be entirely dependent on a third-party platform. Here's why.
It's a one-way proposition
Coincidentally, I just talked about this here on Inc.:
And if Twitter suddenly shuts down or Facebook crumbles under muddled leadership or Snapchat loses all its executives? Make sure your connection to your community doesn't go away with them.
Oops! Looks like that happened this week. And, as of Wednesday night, Facebook has given no insight into what's happening. If you are dependent on Facebook or any of its properties, it also means you have no insight into what your customer wants or needs at the moment.
Today's outage is the most benign situation. Remember that your followers, likes and responses are not yours to keep, but available and stored at the company's whim. Just ask the newspapers.
Open up your communication
When we co-founded Cuddlr, we received hundreds of daily emails from a quarter million members. Social media helped, but it wasn't the main way we communicated with our community.
This stayed true after we sold Cuddlr, as the main way I'm building a community of non-traditional entrepreneurs is through my JoinDamon.me email group. In fact, I spent a business quarter away from social media and my profits improved.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media are powerful tools. They are just that, though: Tools. As today's outage shows, you need more than one tool in your toolbox.