Many of us spend a lot of time and money building our Facebook and Instagram business accounts. But what happens when there is a major outage? Or worse, you wake up to find that Facebook deleted your page?
On October 4, 2021, Facebook (and Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and Messenger) went down for 6 hours. It happened after their DNS servers went offline during a routine maintenance check. This was the worst outage since 2019 (yes, there have been a few), and many small businesses took the hit.
Facebook can also deactivate or delete your page for any reason. We know this because it happened to us!
Losing a social media following is devastating for any business. The good news is that you can protect your loyal fanbase from deleted accounts and outages—and it starts by putting all your eggs in a different basket: your email list. 🐣
Social media is an amazing way to communicate with people who like your brand, and it’s a great accomplishment to build a large following. It takes a lot of hard work and time, but the more followers you have, the more opportunities you have to share value.
But what happens if those social network channels vanish? Or your Facebook page gets deleted or disabled? You lose all of your followers. That’s a horrible situation—and one that we landed in, back in 2018.
Here’s a screenshot of the message we received, the day our Facebook profile page mysteriously disappeared.
None of these reasons in Facebook’s generic, automated notification applied to us. We were conducting business on the Facebook app the same way we had done for over 10 years, and we had always adhered to their community standards. But all our hard work was gone in an instant, and it took away two important communication channels (Facebook and Instagram).
To our surprise, we stayed calm. Yes, it was a shock, but at the same time, we hadn’t lost our customers and fans—because we had our subscriber list.
Luckily, we never relied on social media to keep in touch with our audience. We still had our audience contacts in an email marketing database.
A deleted Facebook page wasn’t the end of the world, because we knew we could contact everyone on our list to share the news and direct them to our new Facebook business page.
Many people spend a lot of time and energy on their social media profiles, but they don’t always have a backup plan. They put all their faith into something they can’t actually control, when in fact, their hard work and growth deserve to be protected.
Social media is the gateway to your business—not the final destination.
Your social media pages are a starting point where people get to know your company, your story, and your values. But when they leave your Facebook fan page, how do you catch them again? They’ve vanished into the vortex of the Internet.
Even if they follow you, there’s no guarantee that they’ll regularly check for updates, or even see your posts again in the chaos of the algorithm. And of course, there’s the matter of page deletions and outages.
That’s why you need to convert your followers into email subscribers.
When you have someone’s email address, you can ping them directly. Their information is kept safe on your email list, and you can:
Group them by interests, behavior and demographics
Send them personalized email messages
Guide them down your sales funnel
Track your campaigns, and adapt them accordingly
The next time you face a social media crash or your Facebook page is gone, you can rest assured that your audience is safe in your email list. You’ll be able to update them at any time and keep your business running smoothly.
Just like you back up your computer to the cloud, you need to back up your social media followers onto your email list and you can communicate with them forever.
Asking your social media audience to join your newsletter is not an easy task. While they might love your company, they might not love email. The key is to make it worth their time. Give them something of value or give them options to only receive certain emails.
For example, with MailerLite, you can use interest groups inside forms, so that people can self-select which topics interest them the most. Or they could opt to receive biweekly vs. monthly newsletters.
Here are some methods that will vary depending on the platforms you’re on (and we’ll go through these in a moment).
What appeals to you more?
‘Sign up to my newsletter’ or
‘Sign up and download a free e-book’
Our guess would be the second one. We’re wired to think about what we gain from an action, aka, “what’s in it for me?” You can tap into this psychology by offering an incentive for people to join your email list. For example, they could enroll for free in your online course, get a special discount, access an online event, or download a printable workbook.
Everyone loves a good competition! You could share an even bigger prize for a few lucky winners (selected at random) who sign up to your mailing list. Giveaways can also be an opportunity for growth, for example by asking entrants to tag three friends in the comments section once they’ve signed up.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is another huge component of the human psyche! Make it clear that you have exclusive content on your newsletter which people will only be able to access by signing up. Just make sure that they understand exactly how this content will add value. By holding some special content back for your marketing emails, you’ll motivate people to subscribe to avoid those FOMO vibes.
Once you’ve worked out how you’ll draw people to sign up for your newsletter, you’ll need to ensure that people are finding your sign-up forms.
This will vary depending on which email service provider you use, but you’ll be able to direct people straight to your opt-in form. If you’re using MailerLite, read the box below for the step-by-step guide. Check out this signup form on our Facebook page for inspiration.
👉 Pro tip: For more information on designing your Facebook page and combining it with email, check out this article on how to effectively grow your email list with Facebook.
If you have more than 2,000 followers, you can directly link your landing page and/or signup form to your Facebook page—as long as you are using the classic design and not the New Pages Experience.
Go to Integrations and select Facebook
Log in to your Facebook account and choose the pages you want to connect with your MailerLite account
Once they’re connected, go to MailerLite and select Create first Facebook form
Choose the Facebook page and the form you’d like to use, and pick a name for the tab where it will be included
Et voila, you can start building your email list through Facebook! You can edit the form at any time from your Forms page in MailerLite
To learn more about how you can share your form or landing page as a Facebook post, check out this help article.
A Facebook video ad might sound like a lot of work, but 60% of advertisers see a boost in performance when they use them. Tied in with Facebook Lead Ads, you can use these to target your exact audience and ramp up the sign-ups.
This is a prime place to post the URL of your website, and/or a link to your signup form. You could even design a landing page specifically to guide people to subscribe and share that.
All you have to do is edit the cover description, and paste in the URL of your signup form.
On the bottom right corner of your page, underneath your cover photo, you can add a call to action (CTA), so you can link your signup form here, as well.
You can paste the URL of your signup form into the ‘website’ section of your bio, just like this one by @busybakerssupplies.
Businesses with more than 10k followers can add links to their Instagram stories. But even if you don’t have that many followers yet, you can share a series of videos (and reels!) promoting your newsletter, and invite people to tap the link in your bio.
Send your signup form into the world with a promotional post for your network to re-share (remember, giveaways are a great incentive here), and create a hashtag to spread the word.
Social media outages and page deletions are annoying, but we are still big fans of social media! For us, we’ve found that the best strategy is to combine the forces of email marketing and social media so that they work together to give your audience all the love and attention they need.
For example, you can:
Promote social media posts in your emails
Use social media to direct people towards your newsletter
Grow your audience by driving traffic from both email and social
This guide breaks down how email and social media can work together for good.
Fortunately, social media outages are rare. But just as you would buy insurance when purchasing a car or house, you need to protect your social media investment with a strong email marketing strategy. When you have both social and email working together, peace of mind and a growing business usually follow.
Editor's note: This article was originally published in October 2018, and it has now been updated with new insights on how to protect your social media following.