#DeleteFacebook - what's an online business to do?
If your business has a Facebook page, the #DeleteFacebook movement may be causing you some concern. OnlineHub has some tips to help you mitigate losses.
If you run a business in 2018 you probably have a Facebook page. Maybe you find it to be a huge source of income. It’s possible that you painstakingly built an audience, sharing images, ideas, interesting, pertinent and timely information and links to sites. Maybe you have purchased Facebook advertising. Maybe you did this all in good faith. You put time and effort and, in some cases, money into making this platform the hub of interest, entertainment, information and news that it is for many people.
Only to find out that Facebook hasn’t been 100% honest, open and transparent. Only to find that one of the world’s largest corporations has been “hoodwinked” and its users, who you’ve been banking on, are leaving in droves.
In recent days, a story has been broken by the UK media outlet, The Guardian and developed on Channel 4, that reveals that a company called Cambridge Analytica, used a survey app to gather data, not only about survey respondents, but about their network of Facebook friends. The incident is being investigated by a number of Data Protection Commissioners. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, is being asked for explanations. The video below from The Guardian details more about what is happening.
On foot of this a movement is arising, encouraging users to #DeleteFacebook. I wonder about the knock-on effects for Facebook properties, Instagram and WhatsApp, and more specifically for the many Irish businesses that rely on Facebook to drive traffic to their sites. Some Irish businesses rely entirely on Facebook for lead generation, customer service and communication and even for conversions. I know a number of non-profit and community organisations that use Facebook Groups, for example, to plan all of their essential work.
Putting aside the politics of the issue, putting aside the privacy rights at stake (and personally that is not something I easily put aside but we’re been hardheaded business folk here for a moment) and putting aside the disregard for the hardworking SME sector, how should a business react to the developments with Cambridge Analytica, its subsidiaries, Facebook and the Data Protection Commissioners throughout Europe?
This is not “I told you so!”
I named my company OnlineHub.ie because I am a firm believer that every company should have their own piece of online real estate, their own place where they can welcome all comers, or create spaces for their members, clients or customers to develop their relationship. It’s not always easy to make this space, it’s not as cheap an option as a Facebook page, for sure, but it is a space that within certain regulations, a company can choose how it’s represented. Facebook is not the only player in online but their huge share of online attention means that they are key. It’s no surprise that many businesses were attracted to the platform: it is easy to use, especially if you already had a personal account; advertising is easier than on AdWords, all you have to do is click that “Boost post” button and let Facebook
take all your money do all the work targeting it at the right people. (FYI there is a lot more to it if you want to get results!)
What should you do right now about #DeleteFacebook?
- Consider asking your Facebook Fans to join your mailing list before they delete their Facebook accounts. Explain that you would love to be able to continue to communicate with them on a regular basis. Explain that you will manage their contact information very carefully and that, in compliance with GDPR, they will always be able to request what information you have about them, and that information can be modified or deleted as they wish. You might also invite them to follow you on Twitter if they wish. (Or indeed Google+ or YouTube!)
- On your Facebook page and other platforms, ask your customers how they feel about the story. Ask them whether they plan to #DeleteFacebook. Ask them where they would prefer to engage with your company if Facebook is no longer an option for them.
- Review your SEO and content strategy. Obviously we can help but my absolutely basic and top tip for both is think about what the customer wants when they visit your site and give it to them in your own words. Be honest and authentic.
- Think about other platforms that are available to you. Could you create content for those as successfully as you have for Facebook? Can you repurpose some of your more popular Facebook content for those platforms? If it was created with authenticity at its heart it should fly on any platform.
As the story develops we’ll keep an eye on how other businesses are riding out the storm and share some of the more interesting approaches on our Twitter stream.
I asked our followers how they would feel about point 1 above. The #DeleteFacebook poll is running on Twitter.
If a company politely asked you on their FB page, before you #DeleteFacebook, to subscribe to their email newsletter, would you? Thanks!
— OnlineHubIE (@OnlineHubIE) March 21, 2018
If you are one of our Facebook fans we love you especially and invite you to join our mailing list. If you get four ezines from us a year, it will be a miracle. However, it may increase depending how things pan out! You will notice below that we give options about how we use your contact information. We would really appreciate if you could tick the Mailchimp option as this will allow us to use this excellent email platform. You will not be excluded however if you choose not to tick that box. Thanks a million!