Industry Chat: Why Influencers NEED to protect themselves following Facebook’s recent outage?
You no doubt noticed the Facebook outage recently. Due to unforeseen technical issues, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp were all completely out of action for around 6 hours on Monday 4th October 2021.
Now for most, this was an inconvenience, a novelty even, but for influencers who make their living based on their followers and social media in general, this outage caused some serious losses in terms of revenue.
So what was the immediate impact? And what should influencers do about it?
Our expert for this issue: RevGlue
This outage was nothing short of a huge warning sign to Influencers. At least, it should have been. But falling back into old habits and letting the “norm” re-establish itself is an all too human failing.
In this interview, RevGlue takes a look at why Influencers are so vulnerable – and explores exactly what their options are to safeguard themselves and future-proof their career.
So what’s the problem? The outage only lasted 6 hours!
The outage may have only lasted 6 hours, but in that time, based on a small sample case study carried out by CNBC, the influencers they spoke to lost between a few hundred dollars up to $5,000 – in just 6 hours. Now bear in mind these weren’t even the BIG influencers. Just imagine the losses made by the boys and girls with over a million followers, who monetise their social feed daily.
Again, 6 hours isn’t the end of the world. But the outage has put a spotlight on the fact that influencers are wholly reliant on systems far beyond their control.
More than 200 million businesses actively use Facebook’s tools and content creators rely on both Facebook and Instagram for sponsored posts, affiliate links, and sales revenue. The outage came as CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes a push to incentivise creators from the likes of TikTok, Snapchat, and other social media platforms.
The outage itself has been explained away based on unforeseen technical issues, but surely Influencers are asking themselves the question “what if?”
So what are the “What ifs”?
What if Facebook and Instagram go down again? For longer this time. What if the platform gets hacked? What if the platform changes its rules around monetisation, or decides to start taking a cut from their creators? What if they change their algorithm so that your posts no longer feature as they push for more discoverability vs. showing the same old faces?
It’s all possible. The reality is that the outage should have pushed creators to begin thinking about their backup plan and futureproofing themselves.
What would you advise as step 1?
The first step is probably something you’re doing already. – Diversify – You should be (where possible) setting up a profile and a footprint on all of the big platforms. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and Twitter. You should also keep an eye on up-and-coming platforms, the landscape is always changing. Putting out content across multiple platforms is frustrating and can be time-consuming, but there is an element of cross-over that should allow you to work this activity into your strategy.
So does that solve the problem and mitigate the risk?
No. The reality is that every single platform mentioned above has its own system, and comes with its own risks, stock, shareholders and technology. Influencers simply have no control on what they’ll do next. They also have no control if that platform just goes bust. Look at Vine. Back in 2013 Vine had around 100 million monthly users at its height. By 2016 it was down to around 10 million monthly users, and finally it was abandoned.
So what exactly should influencers do to protect themselves?
Simple. They need to create something that they own and have complete control of. They should be creating a website themselves that will allow them to bring their followers and subscribers over to their own creation which they can build to their own designs and future plans.
Of course, they should continue to use social media as the main outlet, but they should be creating a funnel for their followers to engage with their very own website. Begin to collect their followers’ data and engage with them directly – perhaps even post to their own website some content that can’t be found anywhere else. That way the most dedicated followers will have a vested interest in engaging directly.
If the scenario were ever to happen again where one of the social media giants goes down, Influencers then have a ready-made communication tool for their followers to engage with during any disruption.
But isn’t building a website (and especially monetising it) really difficult? Don’t you need to be a “techie”?
No. It’s not difficult and these days you barely need ANY technical knowledge to get something set up to suit your goals. With the right tools, building a completely monetised and branded website can be taken care of in a single day, without needing to know how to create code.
Investing the time and energy into this process could give you a lifeline if the worst were to happen. Having your own site would also give you a layer of control over your future and open up so many other doors for sponsorship, monetisation and additional earnings.
Thank you to RevGlue for the thoughts! We look forward to a continued prosperous partnership in 2021.
RevGlue offers two core tools to help influencers set up their very own websites or platforms with no upfront or monthly running costs. The aim is to help you build your own brand, convert your social media followers into online shoppers, buy through your website and help you earn commission on each sale.
To learn more about how RevGlue can help you to set up your own website without needing any technical know-how get in touch today!