May 14

The Facebook Blackout: What Happened and How it’s Still Affecting Businesses

What happened to Facebook?

This was the question that was ringing through the air and had all of the social media running to Twitter to ask and tweet about it on Wednesday, March 13th.

Facebook Black Out

If you are in the business of social media and marketing or just an avid scroller and poster, you remember that day. It was a seemingly impossible occurrence that somehow happened — and for over 14 hours nonetheless.

As a personal user, it was very frustrating to not be able to check either Facebook or Instagram, but as a professional in the business of online marketing, it really put in perspective the power of social media, how much businesses rely on it, and how frightening it would be if both Facebook and Instagram just shut down permanently or for an extended period of time one day.

In case you didn’t know, Facebook owns Instagram. So when one went down, so did the other. From a business perspective, that is over half a day of no pre-set and planned ads running as well as any scheduled promotional posts and launches.

This social media blackout reportedly cost Facebook $90 million in lost revenue and caused the company’s stock to drop 2 percent, which is a huge chunk in trading.

While it is now May, about two months after the blackout, the repercussions of this event are still occurring for both personal users and business accounts.

It’s strangely and scarily amazing.

While Facebook has stated that these issues were due to a glitch, following the blackout, many business Instagram accounts mysteriously got deleted and posts from both professional and personal accounts were disappearing. Was this a “glitch” under the blackout?

Another lasting effect of the Facebook blackout was the pause Facebook took on some new updates and changes that they were getting ready to roll out. Allegedly, Facebook was gearing up to launch “Facebook Coin” — a stablecoin, attached to the US dollar, that would allow user-to-user payments within its Messenger app. However, it seems after this blackout, they have paused launching this new feature. It’s a sign that this blackout was a serious blow and maybe Facebook isn’t ready.

So, the big question from all of this is more of a theoretical one — what if Facebook didn’t exist? What if Instagram shut down forever?

While this major blackout was a one-time occurrence and not a “forever” type situation, it spurs the “what if” there was no more social media type of questions. Or maybe, a little more realistically, what if there was a glitch and your account was no more? What do you do?

Within this line of thinking, we started searching for ways to ensure that your accounts on social media are secure and we found something amazing– did you know that you can back up your Instagram account so that all of your data and posts are saved in case something happens to your account?

If you go through settings on Instagram, you can request a data download and Instagram will email it to you. If you work in social media, we recommend that you do this for your personal account as well as the accounts of any clients that you may have.

Situations like the Facebook blackout teach those of us in the marketing field to be ready for anything and always have a plan if something goes wrong.

While it’s not likely that social media will completely disappear, this event is a warning sign that not even the largest social media platform in the world is always going to be 100% reliable.

What do you think? Do you think that this blackout was a one-time occurrence?

Jun 20

Social Media is like Networking


Many small business owners are still wondering what social media marketing really is, and are unsure of how to utilize it for their business and what to post when they do finally make the plunge to get on a social media platform.

Social media is simple: It’s word of mouth marketing in the online sphere.

If you have a great company and reputation, then it should effortlessly reflect on your social media channels as customers will love you there too. However, if you’re a lousy company with a reputation for poor customer service, your social media will reflect that too. I like to refer to social media marketing like networking.

A dear friend and I were sitting around talking one day about social media. He phrased it perfectly after sitting and listening to me ramble on keywords like engagement and followers for hours. He looked me in the eye with excitement and said, “I’ve got it! I now know what you do!”

With equal excitement, I looked back and eagerly said, “I’m all ears, do tell!”

What came out of his mouth next was a beautiful symphony of lyrics that explains social media marketing to those who don’t yet “get it”.

It’s like networking he said…

Imagine you go to a networking event. There are different types of networkers who attend these events, those who attend the event and stand in the corner, never talking to anyone and who leave upset because they didn’t make any connections and received no new business from the event. These social media pages are companies who create a page on every platform, invite their friends and family, never post anything to the page, and then complain that they get little business from their social media efforts.

Then there are the ones who go to the networking event, run around the room handing everyone a business card – never making a real connection with anyone – eat a bite, and leave. They would call the event a bust because they didn’t make any new connections or receive business from it. They keep bouncing around from event to event with the same results. On social media, these are the companies who set their pages up and typically only post about themselves. Their content contains sales post after sales post about their services – and why they are so great and amazing – and yet they wonder why no one is purchasing from them.

Then you have the ones who go to the event, slam a few drinks to get their courage up and then verbally vomit all over everyone, making an ass of themselves and their company. Leaving the event not really remembering what happened or who they talked to and of course in return getting zero new business from their efforts. These are the companies who have no strategy with their social media. They post whenever they feel like it, with no clear direction, of course they don’t get any business from their social media either.

With eyes lit up, he continued, “Then there is the professional networker.”

The kind that are smooth, know exactly what they want and show up to the event with the intention of meeting select key people that they can build a relationship with. They know who they want to meet, they ask for introductions, they stand and talk to those people when they are introduced asking pointed questions that less to great conversations. When they get home, they follow up with those people and continue building the relationship with them over time.

This can be compared to a company with a clear social media direction. This is the company who hires a professional to manage their platform. They show up to the “digital networking event” every day, at the right time, saying the right thing with the intent to build a relationship over time that leads to business whether short term or long term.

Brilliant, I thought! Anyone who has ever in their professional career attended a networking event, can relate to each type of “networker” outlined in this explanation.

Jun 15

The Stalker, the Lurker, and the Influencer

A guy walks into a bar…

Just kidding! He’s surfing Facebook in the comfort of his pajamas at home. He comes across funny posts, news, articles about sex and photos of his friends families.

He reads every posts he comes across, he checks out every picture within his friends list – in detail might I add – carefully reading the sentences word for word, but he never comments, likes or shares anything. In fact, if you went to his personal Facebook profile, there likely little on his page except a occasional profile picture update and possibly an article or two. But, once he’s done surfing the endless posts on his news feed, he goes to a website from one of the articles he read and purchases a whopping $400 product off the site.

First, what type of social media user would you classify him as?

Secondly, how do you as a company brand know that you’ve reached him?

He didn’t come from a link you posted, he didn’t click an Ad or go through a referral link.

Want the “Bragger Answer”?

We’d classify him as a lurker. These types of individuals typically have a “c” type personality according to disc personality profiling. They are the types that you’d never know existed on social media platforms, until they see you in person and regurgitate the last six months of your life to you. You’d think, Wow! Bizarre that this person has been paying attention to all my posts, but never interacting with them!

Lurkers are a very common type of social media user, yet the hardest to detect. Why? Well because you never really know they exist unless they want you to – whether it be an in-person conversation with a friend or a website purchase.

As a company/brand, how do you know what type of information is reaching these individuals and what moves them along the funnel to make a purchase?

They will literally study your posts for months, look at your pages often, criticize everything you post, know all there is to know about the products or services you are selling and then make a purchase. Sometimes the outcast is small, sometimes it is large. They are often loyal and repeat customers. They will take the conversation offline, and talk about your brand to their family and friends.

So how do you know you’re really reaching them? This is where a mixed content strategy comes into play. A dose of information, a touch of sales posts, and some interactive/entertaining posts go a long way to keep this type of social user engaged.

The influencer personality is easy to identify on social networking. They are vocal about what brands they like, and are typically early adopters with an influence over their circle of friends – however large or small it might be. People trust their opinions and advice. They offer reviews, they like and comment on posts that appeal to them, and they will share select posts to their network. They are typically outgoing in real life and tend to be the life of the party wherever they go. These are the types of users you want to have carrying your brand/company’s message often because their advice is trusted.

The stalker is fairly easy to identify as well (and no we aren’t talking about the real life, spooky stalker type). We are strictly speaking to the behavior they exhibit online. The stalker is typically fairly easy to identify as well. They will literally like every single post you make on your page. They comment on everything and they will share it no matter what it’s about. They aren’t as calculated as the lurker and don’t have the influence over their network as the influencer, mainly because they post everything so their network has “tuned them out”. They tend to not be as loyal of a customer and jump from brand to brand, not making as many purchases as the lurker or influencer.

As a brand/company, it’s essential to understand your audience and their behavior types. Tune into online and offline conversations, purchase behaviors, and the metrics within your social media campaigns. For more insights on buyer behavior and reaching multiple online personality types, follow us on the Business Bragger Blog.

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