For seven hours, the world lost a vital piece of their everyday being - Facebook and their associated properties suffered an outage and were unusable across the globe. This meant that businesses could not post about their latest sales, your neighbor couldn’t post about their thoughts on, well, about anything, so on and forth.
And while we write about this with a bit of spice and zest, it was a pretty significant issue.
Following a whistleblower report released the day before claiming that higher-ups in Facebook ignored studies detailing the detriment that social media can cause to the youth, the sites went down. This report (which was not the first controversy for Facebook), was not a good look for Mr. Zuckerberg.
Was it a conspiracy that the network collapsed after many investors saw the report on Sunday and started selling stock on Monday? Or that many users were disconnecting because they had finally...had...enough? Probably not, more like a coincidence, but the timing certainly is curious.
Outside of the United States, Facebook serves as more than just a marketplace for used shoes and venting space for parents. For most of the world, Facebook IS the internet. Their Free Basics (aka Internet.org) program offers access to over 100 million people who live outside the U.S. and don’t have regular connections to spiffy 5G WiFi or hot spots.
Facebook partners with mobile phone providers in areas like Africa and India to give FREE access to the people on their phones, including browsing the internet AND connecting with friends and family globally via their WhatsApp tool.
While most in the United States were upset they couldn’t see an Instagram feed for a few hours on October 4th, some other folks had ZERO access to the internet or an ability to contact their family. So it gets kind of scary when you view it with that lens.
On top of that, about a month later, Zuck announced the change of Facebook’s parent company from “Facebook” to “Meta” - much like Google did when it shifted to “Alphabet” a few years earlier. Zuck explained that this shift happened because Facebook, er, Meta, is planning on creating a Metaverse of their networks in the future - a combination of Augmented Reality, social networking, and much more - all in one place.
TLDR; they want to turn Facebook into a place you can work at (via online workspaces attended by avatars, bye-bye Zoom), play at (like attending AR concerts), and cuddle up at night and live at (via their Meta home program). Okay, so I hope that last one I made up doesn’t come back to bite us all in the collective metabutt.
As a marketing agency that spends a lot of time running advertisements and social media campaigns for our clients on Facebook and Instagram- both the outage of October, the controversies, and the announcement of Meta made us think about “What does the future of social media look like?”
We pondered and pondered, read and researched, and came up with three takeaways from these announcements and discuss what impact they may have on the future of social media marketing for your business:
For a while now, Facebook has been a place where more (clears throat) mature generations have lived. Those in college when the site first came live are now in their 40s or 50s, are business owners, and use the platform daily for their company or personal explorations.
Following the announcement of several controversies surrounding Facebook (and general burnout), some of these users stopped using the platform altogether or scaled back considerably. As Facebook, or Meta, continue to try and scale younger to capture some of the Instagram and TikTok love of the youth, it may alienate even more seasoned users.
If you find that your audience is starting to slip, especially while trying to connect for business purposes, you might want to try to step your LinkedIn game up a bit. We have seen some growth for a few manufacturing clients there compared to Facebook over the past year and wouldn’t be surprised if that trend continued for the next few years.
Again, as some users move away from Facebook due to their controversies, shifts in focus, or just general burnout - email marketing could make a great leap forward.
If you aren’t already running email or drip marketing campaigns for your business, we suggest you get in touch with us and explore some options today. Email, compared to social, allows the user to have greater control and get direct messaging from you about the things THEY love.
Think about the email lists to which you subscribe.
They are probably for products or companies you care about, communications come in semi-frequently, and you always have the ability to unsub if you are done with them.
With social media, we often get sucked into rabbit holes where we like and like and like adjacent companies or profiles to the point that we get so far down, we aren’t even sure who the heck we’re following anymore. These not-crucial posts can be daily and clog our feeds, and there can be a weird sense of guilt for giving an unfollow. Of course, most of us would instead choose to keep scrolling past this unusable content - but if YOUR business had a bunch of users doing that, you would want to know it, right? Why market to people who aren’t interested in you?
We suggest you build an email list full of devout followers and reward them for staying with you. Offer up sales or new product announcements before it hits social media and keep your frequency and involvement low to nurture a list that can turn from prospect to purchase before you can say “Like and Subscribe!”
Last but not least is a topic we didn’t mention in the above introductory paragraphs: COOKIES! No, not chocolate chip or oreo or oatmeal. We’re talking about the kind responsible for you getting served up intimately personal ads on (almost) every website ever. The kind that makes you OPT-IN and click ACCEPT before you view content on a website.
Cookies share data with advertisers that personalize your web browsing (and buying) experience. Unfortunately, next year, Google Chrome (which has over 65% of the internet browser market share) said they wouldn’t be supporting 3rd party cookies for ads anymore. This announcement has challenged marketing companies (like yours truly), content creators, and more to figure out “WHAT’S NEXT?”
Google Chrome isn’t alone, however. Apple (which has about 65% of cell users in the U.S.) recently released an iOS update with a feature that allows users to block specific data from being shared with websites, email senders, and advertisers. Facebook is also said to be working on some ideas for making privacy a more substantial part of their experience.
What these changes, and the future ones that will fall along similar lines, mean is that ad delivery and analytics for your audience are going to change. You might not always get the most accurate open rates in email, pageviews in analytics might be lower, and your ads might be hitting audiences that aren’t as targeted as you would like.
While we know that the world needs more transparency and security from their social media and tech sites, those companies also need to stay in business. We won’t start rumors or point fingers, but we are sure there WILL BE routes to access data the way you can now - it will probably just cost you more or might be in less obvious ways.
To battle this, make sure you are creating strong bonds with clients, capturing their data NOW, and keeping a finger on the pulse of relations as things start to shift in the coming months and years. Your numbers might not be as strong when algorithms start to shift, but no one wants to lose a client or connection because they THINK they didn’t interact with a piece of content, right? Conversation and phone calls often get replaced by less-personal texts, emails, and social media posts - but asking someone, “What’s going on with your business? How can we help you? What can we do better?” is still a compelling way and will always top a bunch of statistics generated by computers.
If you need help crafting a social media or marketing strategy that works for your company in the wake of the ebbs of flows of a raging digital current - give Studio x. a call or click today!