On November 8th, Social Media Examiner’s Facebook Page — with over 380,000 fans — disappeared.
For 36 hours, no one could quite figure what had happened to it or why it seemed to vanish into thin air.
Luckily, through the effort of hundreds (yes hundreds) of people, Facebook was able to recover and restore the page, which is now back up and running.
But the incident does bring up an important question:
What would you do if your Facebook Page disappeared?
As the world’s largest online social media magazine, there’s no doubt that Social Media Examiner founder, Mike Stelzner and his team were able to get a quick response from Facebook. But as a smaller business or organization, you may be at a loss at what to do next.
As social media expert, Mari Smith explains, this incident is an important reminder that while your Facebook Page is an incredibly valuable marketing asset, you do not own your Facebook Page or the audience that has liked your Page.
Luckily, there are outlets you can own that will put you in a better position if Facebook or any of the other social media sites were to disappear.
Your email list is the best example of this. Your email list is composed of people who have opted-in to learn more about your business or organization.
You can communicate with this audience directly and know that your message has been delivered. You won’t be limited by the constant changes that often come with using social media platforms, and won’t be at risk of losing these connections if your page is disrupted or disappears.
That doesn’t mean you should abandon your Facebook Page.
Facebook, and other social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, are perfect for reaching new audiences for your business.
But to get the most from these platforms, you should be focused on bringing fans and followers to the platforms you do own — like your website and blog — and encourage them to join your email list.
How can you take ownership of your contacts?
Continue as you normally would by engaging your fans and followers on these different social networks, but on occasion, share links to the properties you do control — this could include links to your blog, pages on your website, or directly to your email sign-up form.
Add an embeddable sign-up form to your blog, and any of the pages you share on your site.
You can also offer something special in exchange for someone joining your email list from Facebook. This could be a sweepstakes, a coupon, or perhaps a free download or special report.
You can also take advantage of the advertising options offered by these sites.
With Facebook Advertising, you can create a highly-targeted audience and pay to promote your content. You can target existing fans that won’t see every update you share on Facebook, or reach beyond your existing fan base to target new audiences on Facebook.
Constant Contact’s tool for Facebook advertising allows you to build an ad right from within your Constant Contact account to promote your emails to local consumers on Facebook, giving you the chance to bring even more people onto your email list.
As more people opt in to your email list, you’ll have the chance to drive even more traffic to your social media pages.
Use your email list to encourage people to connect on your social networks so you stay top of mind and reach their friends through social interactions.
This leads to the cycle repeating itself, growing your social networks and your email list at the same time.
It’s unlikely that your Facebook Page will vanish into thin air, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore the opportunity to take ownership of your contacts.
Take this opportunity to consider how you’re using your Facebook presence to point people back to destinations that you do own and can control — your website, your blog, and email list.