Indigo Online: When giants fall…for 24 hours at least

By March 19, 2019Featured

Information, sales, advertising, customer support and more: social media is a powerful tool, and it’s integral to the success of organisations around the world. So what happens when it all goes away?

Last week, Facebook made headlines when a “server configuration change” (their words, not mine) caused the majority of North America and Europe Facebook users to drop offline – taking Instagram and WhatsApp with it. The outage lasted only around 24 hours, but the disruption caused was widespread. A number of companies that sell and promote services using Facebook Live were particularly affected as they couldn’t post their video content in the normal way, and even if they could, there were few people online to be able to see them.

Even the biggest can fall – and they can fall at any time, without warning. So what can you do to protect yourself and your organisation?

Well, Facebook itself took the sensible option of going on Twitter. Indeed, having an account on another social media platform that can be used as a backup is a great way of being able to explain to your audiences what’s going on, as the first thing they will tend to do is dive onto another social media site to try and get more information (it’s exactly what I did). The important thing is to remember who owns who. Facebook down? Then of course the Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp aren’t reliable contingencies, whereas Twitter became the place where users flocked to find out more.

All of which underlines the fact that while a social media strategy should always focus on the platforms that work best for an organisation and its target audience, being able to work with alternative tools is an important consideration if there’s an outage. Facebook and Instagram are a popular combination for social accounts, but one that leaves users deeply vulnerable to service disruption if that’s all they use. Posts to company websites are always an option for updating audiences in a crisis, but social media gets proactive messages out far more quickly to a broader audience, so retaining contingency platforms remains important.

Of course, where some will get things wrong, there’s always those who will get it right. Messaging app Telegram saw its users jump up by over three million during the Facebook outage, showing that when giants fall, it can be just the opportunity that rivals need to stand on their shoulders.

Want to discuss how planned crisis communication strategies well in advance can set you up to make the most out of a bad situation? Contact Erith@indigopr.com to find out more.