Where were you when Facebook went down?

A few days ago, there was a rare occurrence in the world of social media; the sort of planetary alignment that happens once in a very long while, and sets the world off-kilter for a few hours.

Yes, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were all down. For several hours. At the same time.

I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.

-Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars

Now, for a lot of people, this was merely an inconvenience. Social media being down for a few hours? No problem, I can go about my day. But for those who use these platforms for their business, this was much more than a chance to put your phone away for the morning. This was an interruption of their business.

So, what can you do about it? Really, when it comes to outages, there’s little you can do. A site with 99.9% up-time will still be down three days a year, and unless you want to invest some very large sum of money into helping to secure your favourite social media site, you’ll just have to learn to live with it.

But while there’s nothing you can do about the platforms you use, there is something you can do for your outreach for your business, and it’s what your banker has been telling you to do with your money for years - diversify.

Again, you only want to be using the platforms that work for your business - so don’t open that Twitter account if you’re not going to use it - but ensuring that your customers always have a way of reaching you is just smart business. That means maintaining a phone line, a website, several flavours of social media, and if it suits you, a physical location that they can visit, should everything else come off the rails.

A well-diversified portfolio of social media accounts means that when the shutdown happened this week, you were able to talk to your customers on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and maybe even Reddit, Snapchat, or Pinterest. Again, it would depend on who you are, what you do, and who you deal with, but there are always options to keep you from putting all of your hopes into one means of communication.

So, don’t wait for the next outage to send you scrambling. Talk to your customers, your staff, and scope out what the competition is doing, and make sure that you have more than one way to catch a customer.

Don’t know where to look? Talk to us at Black Pug Solutions, and we can help you through the maze of social media platforms, to find the best ways for you to talk to the people who want to hear from you.

Trevor Prosser