Yesterday, the world experienced several hours without Facebook — and those hours unwittingly revealed just how much of our digital and physical lives depend on the platform.

Across the world, the indispensability of Facebook was felt, while Twitter and other platforms got to enjoy the spotlight in its absence. The outage had Facebook messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp under collapse, too.

The impact inevitably trickled down to small businesses, who in a matter of hours experienced the various severities of a social impact outage. Some saw engagement and traffic fall, while others had their sales taking a hit in direct correlation to their social media channels being disrupted.

Facebook acknowledged the businesses that require their apps as a foundation, writing on Twitter, “to the huge community of people and businesses around the world who depend on us: we’re sorry.”

The outage has now been resolved, but it cracked open a conversation for the businesses and their owners who are subject to Facebook functioning. Some independent businesses are now reconsidering social media strategies and are newly awakened to the need spread themselves across platforms – ones that run parallel to the Facebook empire.

Mashable spoke to a number of business owners, each of whom spoke about the impact the shutdown had on them.

Lucy Jeffrey, founder of bamboo sock retailer Bare Kind.

“I sell bamboo socks, with ten percent of the profits donated to help the animals printed on the socks. I didn’t notice the outage to start with. Then I saw my sales were down and I took a minute to check. I couldn’t get on the platform. I was really annoyed to start with but wasn’t too worried. The platforms were down for ages and it was really a whole day out for sales. I don’t want another day where this happens.

My sales were one-fourth of what they normally are yesterday due to the outage. I am left feeling nervous at how reliant I am on the platform to do business. I may need to reconsider it – all my marketing budget goes into Facebook. I’ve dabbled with other platforms but Facebook really is the most effective. I have such a visual product so other things don’t work as well. I relied on the fact that it’s such a big company and it won’t go down for too long. What happened really left small business owners feeling quite vulnerable.”

Naina Hussain, illustrator and founder of ByNainah.

“I’m generally an anxious person, so the moment posts weren’t loading, I started to think that both my WiFi and data were acting up at the same time.

I was speaking to a client already earlier, but it was a general enquiry and I was waiting for their response, so that part definitely was causing restlessness for me. However, soon enough, I realized everything else was working fine besides Facebook apps, and I had then decided that I’d get back to any messages the next morning (today). When I woke up today, I realized the outage was the longest in history, and part of me was happy (eerily) that I got to sleep through it.

I think this definitely impacts how I think about my outreach with customers moving forward. While many people have ventured out and expanded out to platforms like TikTok/Twitter, ByNaina is based off of Instagram and Facebook completely. So, the possibility that this might happen again whether on a smaller or larger scale, is nerve-wracking and pushes me to think about placing my business beyond these two platforms— whether that’s on TikTok, or any newer/different platforms.”

Jordan Fry, data protection lead at digital marketing agency Pennard.

“As a digital marketing company, we spend a lot of time on Facebook and Instagram. Although it’s not unheard of for Facebook and Instagram to be unavailable for several minutes at a time, yesterday’s failure took both platforms offline for several hours. This left us unable to use their APIs (which are at the heart of how we interact with the platforms), manage advertising campaigns, and see a return on recently published posts.

Although Facebook and Instagram were unavailable for some time on Monday, it is unlikely to have affected the number of frequent users going forwards. As a result, small business owners are likely to continue working with Facebook and Instagram, as it offers a different experience to other platforms (which may make it more appropriate for a given business).”

“What happened really left small business owners feeling quite vulnerable.”

Karen Valeria, founder of jewellery brand Viva Valeria.

“Yesterday was very unfortunate to my small business, that I have been growing since 10 months ago. A small jewellery business that is only based online, I launched the website last year in December, started from scratch, and now have over 5000 followers and over £4000 in revenue.

Yesterday I had customers asking for custom orders via WhatsApp and Instagram that I was not able to finalise and contracts with influencers for sponsored posts that were ready to go live on Instagram and TikTok that are now postponed. I was not able to finalise a unique promo code with one of the influencers that shared my jewellery on her page, which has meant the promo code has been added at a later time. We only had about six likes on her sponsored post which is very disappointing as she has 10k followers that love and adore her content and everything she does.”

Rose Dyson, founder and CEO of self-care essentials brand Pura Cosmetics.

“We’re a sustainable beauty brand that appeals to Gen-Z with very affordable pricing and fun marketing. It was quite interesting when the outage started — because we are primarily targeted at the Gen-Z demographic, social media is the biggest marketing tool we use. We rely on it so heavily. All our communications that were planned yesterday were thrown out the window. Also, because it’s the end of the year and Christmas is coming up, it’s really a crucial time for the business. The outage wasn’t the end of the world but it was a shame. It did make us realise we can’t solely rely on Instagram and Facebook. We need to be quite agile when it comes to strategy and this did make us consider different tools.”

Jack Shepherd, co-founder of social media marketing agency Social Shepherd.

“Initially, [we felt] a bit of panic, but we’ve seen similar Facebook outages happen once or twice a year recently. So we had the belief the platforms would come back on again within 24 hours. The outage had an immediate impact, as our advertising results completely dropped off through the hours of 5pm – 11pm, as well as our social media managers not being able to post vital pieces of content at the right time. We saw a decrease across all of our clients sales during those hours, which are typically prime-time for consumers to be buying products online.

A lot of small businesses are way too reliant on Facebook and Instagram, whereas Pinterest, TikTok, YouTube, and Snapchat all are amazing alternatives for both driving revenue and building brand awareness. Even through the outage, a lot of consumers started downloading Twitter and watching even more TikTok, so those brands who were well prepared and are diversified were able to take advantage of it.”

Original Source