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What would you do if Facebook shut down tomorrow? Do you have a plan or strategy?
OK, I know that’s (probably) not going to happen. With reach on the decline and users placing less trust in Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal should we be looking at a strategy that doesn’t have Facebook in it?
Michael Stelzner from Social Media Examiner is playing with this idea. He announced to the Social Media Marketing Society training group (part of Social Media Examiner) that as an experiment. For 30 days they won’t post links to their articles on their Facebook page. They’d continue to post other content but links would disappear. It will be interesting to see what happens.
What would you do if Facebook wasn’t around anymore? I discussed this with Kate McQuillan from Pet Sitters Ireland this week.
Listen to the conversation below
Use other social networks
The obvious solution is to to look for a replacement.
No social network is just like Facebook but combining a few might work.
Instagram seems the obvious choice. Owned by Facebook it’s growing at a phenomenal rate. Many of the people I’ve talked to who have cut down on their Facebook use are using Instagram instead.
As much as I love Instagram it comes with its own challenges. Unlike Facebook, Instagram isn’t somewhere you post links. Unless you pay for ads, have 10,000 followers or have an online shop you can only link out of the site in one place. Your bio. It will be a challenge to replace the volume of traffic you get from Facebook with Instagram.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it. It’s a great place to build awareness and the business accounts make getting in touch with your business easy.
Kate gets frequent enquiries from her Instagram account.
Stories are gaining in popularity too. These give you the opportunity to add a personal touch.
The Strand Bookstore is one of my favourite accounts, it keeps you interested and makes you want to become a part of it.
LinkedIn has upped its game over the last year. What used to be a dry and dull network is now full of conversation. It’s a far more entertaining space and is the network that resembles Facebook the most. But is LinkedIn an option even if you aren’t B2B?
I said no but Kate points out that people on LinkedIn own pets, go to shops, need your services. It’s a less crowded space than Facebook so it could work for almost any business.
Twitter has had a tough few years but it’s on the rise again. Donald Trump has put it in the spotlight but I think it’s Kylie Jenner we have to thank.
sooo does anyone else not open Snapchat anymore? Or is it just me… ugh this is so sad.
That one Tweet crucified the Snapchat share price but what’s interesting is that she chose Twitter to make that announcement.
Will the younger social media user follow her lead and head over to Twitter? Only time will tell but I’m hopeful.
Twitter in many ways is a better network than Facebook. We can connect with people directly and start a conversation with anyone we want to. We can also post links back to our site.
Even though it is a smaller network, there is a broad representation of users. There are people from all walks of life. From that perspective, I think most businesses will find their audience there.
None of these social networks could replace Facebook on their own but a mixture of them could.
Don’t put it off. If Facebook is the only network you use now it’s time to diversify. Look at the other networks you could use and see which ones are the best fit for your business.
Pinterest as a search engine
Pinterest says it’s not a social network. I agree. There is little social engagement on the channel but it’s an excellent search engine.
Getting onto page one is becoming much harder on traditional search engines like Google and Bing. Could Pinterest be the solution for small business bloggers?
If you work at it, Pinterest can drive considerable traffic to your website. For this reason alone It would make a good replacement for Facebook.
YouTube is still the number one place to get video content found online. Like Pinterest, it’s a search engine with some social functions. It could attract Facebookers.
Successful YouTubers have made it a more social space, you’ll see the top YouTubers getting hundreds of comments on their posts. As small businesses, it’s harder to get this engagement but if people watch your video, you have their attention and that’s the first step towards selling.
Everyone seems to use WhatsApp (also owned by Facebook). For many, it has replaced Facebook as the place to connect with friends and family. Even my most tech-phobic family members use it. But how can we use it for business?
Make it easy to share
If people are using WhatsApp you should make it easy for them to share your blog posts and web-pages.
Some social plugins have WhatsApp sharing built in. I use the premium version of Social Warfare (affiliate link) which includes it.
WhatsApp business profiles
Only available to Android users at the moment these are official business accounts with built-in tools for business. If you can get one, do.
With or without Facebook WhatsApp will soon become an important tool for business. Messages are encrypted making it safer than Messenger.
Private messaging apps like WhatsApp, Snapchat and Messenger are taking over from the more public social networks. As they grow we should look at how we can manage the messages we receive with chatbots?
Bots are automated systems that can deal with customer enquiries and send them in the right direction. You can use them to send them to the right member of staff, qualify them as a lead or send them to a blog post to deal with their query (and many other things).
At the moment you are most likely to see a bot on Facebook Messenger but you can also use them on Skype, Twitter and I’m sure it won’t be long before you integrate them into Instagram.
It’s old fashioned, but it’s still one of the most effective things you can do for your business.
The nice thing about your email list is it’s yours. As Kate points out in the interview, you have control of your list. The only way you’ll lose it is if you upset the people on it and they unsubscribe.
If we have a list of emails for our audience, we can stay in touch even if Facebook closes down.
A well-executed blog or content plan will help you no matter which network you use. Outstanding content will get you noticed for all the right reasons.
You can promote your content on whichever social network you use, via email and it will help you appear in search engines.
Aren’t you glad you’re a blogger now?
Facebook will not disappear tomorrow but with reach declining, we need to have a plan in place to keep our business alive.
What do you think?
Do you have a plan or strategy for expanding beyond Facebook? What would you do if it disappeared tomorrow? Leave me a comment with your thoughts.