What would you do if Facebook no longer existed?
How would it impact your ability to market yourself or your business?
Well, the social media giant is in big trouble this week after a number of data breach allegations, with many boycotting Facebook and even tech entrepreneur Elon Musk deleting the Pages of ALL his companies in a very public stance against the platform. Some have even called for Mark Zuckerberg to resign as CEO.
What’s the big problem? And why NOW?
It all started with UK based company, Cambridge Analytica, using Facebook to help influence the 2016 US election. It is alleged the company gathered personal data on 50 million people to help them deliver targeted advertising to sway their vote toward Donald Trump. In short, Facebook exposed data on 50 million Facebook users to a researcher who worked at Cambridge Analytica, who worked for the Trump campaign.
Although the alleged activity took place some years ago, the news has only just recently surfaced after journalists went undercover and exposed members of Cambridge Analytica on camera, admitting what they did.
Furthermore, and a little closer to home, it has been revealed that Facebook approached Australia’s major political parties during the 2016 election with a new and powerful data matching tool, but Liberal strategists rejected the offer out of fear it could breach the law by sending voters’ personal details to the social media giant’s offshore servers.
In wake of all this recent bad news for Facebook, their share price has plunged. It is estimated the value of Facebook dropped $45bn USD. The hashtag #deletefacebook has gone viral with hundreds of thousands of people deleting their Facebook profiles in protest and even tech entrepreneur, Elon Musk, deleting the Facebook Pages of all his companies.
Is this the start of the decline for Facebook?
Zuckerberg has publicly apologised to Facebook users for allowing this activity to happen, but it’s done very little, if anything, to restore the public’s faith in the platform and Zuckerberg admits that it’s going to be very difficult to win people’s trust back.
It’s hard to believe that Facebook will go away anytime soon, but the reality is… it could.
What this could mean for you and your business
You should never forget that when you (or your business) has a presence on any social media network, you are relying on that platform in order to reach your fans and followers. If you have spent years building a Facebook following and suddenly your followers decided they no longer wanted to use the platform, or the platform ceased to exist (*ahem*… Myspace), then you lose the ability to communicate with your audience. Period.
What you should be doing. NOW.
Your email list/database and your website are the only digital assets you own. Therefore, if you have a clean database, and a communication plan for that database, you’re less likely to feel the effects of a Facebook downfall – or any social media network for that matter.
But, if you’ve spent years building your audience on social media but never given them a reason to visit your website or to hand over their contact information, even just an email address, get ready for a world of hurt if you wake up tomorrow and Facebook is no longer relevant to your fans and followers.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start putting a lot more emphasis on your ‘owned’ digital platforms (i.e. your website and email list). Yes, still use Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and other platforms to communicate with clients and prospects, but balance your efforts by giving your followers a reason to subscribe, call, email, visit and engage with your business on the channels you own.
Don’t build your house on rented land.
It’s time to go ‘old-school’. Your email list and your website are more important than ever and the news in recent weeks is yet another reminder never to rely too heavily on social media networks to drive your marketing and customer service initiatives.
If you want to learn how Australia’s top agents and brands are building their databases through smarter social media marketing, attend Digital Marketing Essentials – Australia’s leading digital marketing training event for real estate. Coming to Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide in June 2018.