In the past few months, Facebook, never a stainless company to begin with, is facing incredible amounts of public scrutiny over whistleblower allegations that Facebook broke the law in regards to knowledge of the January 6th insurrection; is targeting younger users, often resulting in body image issues; and fails to adequately monitor hate speech on their platform. These are serious charges, worthy of thorough and proper investigation. And they’re potentially a problem for the millions of businesses and organizations that use Facebook every day to communicate, market, and sell to their audience. What does this mean for those organizations?
We’re a marketing company, and working with Facebook is inevitable for a good portion of our clients. Perhaps there’s a future in which that’s not a given (*cough antitrust cough*), but for now, we don’t see it immediately changing. Please note however, that we are not mind-readers, and technology and digital marketing are subject to rapid change and new regulations (which we would welcome, and you should, too–here’s why).
However, if you’re concerned about continuing to use Facebook for your company, here are some important considerations:
- Assess your hard-and-fast ethical boundaries. What would be a dealbreaker violation for a tool that you use in your business? Are you applying this to other large corporate or tech/web tools you use? It gives us no satisfaction to say that trust issues, labor issues, and privacy issues are rife in many of today’s ubiquitous online business tools. Know which of these things are a dealbreaker for your organization–and which are not.
- Will there be tangible consequences to leaving the platform and can your organization realistically survive that? Possibilities include:
- Loss of a curated follower base
- Inability to easily move your followers/fans to another platform
- Loss of leads and/or revenue while shifting your audience to another platform or tool
- Inability to run effective digital ads within your budget if you’re not using Facebook’s ad platform.
- Needing training and/or strategic support for your marketing staff to shift to a new platform or tool, and adapting your existing content strategy to the new strategy
- Alternatively, are there consequences for your organization if you stay on the platform? Could it contribute to image or trust issues with your audience or clients, and how would you navigate that?
- Is there a platform that offers you comparable or better reach/engagement? B2B companies would be well served by increasing their LinkedIn focus, while consumer retail can find a lot of opportunities with Pinterest or even TikTok.
- Are you considering leaving Facebook but keeping Instagram? We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but they’re owned by the same company. If you’re keeping Instagram, you are functionally keeping Facebook in your business.
The sobering truth is that Facebook is a (or the) major platform of today, and for many smaller businesses and organizations, the impact and reach of that platform is not easily replicated elsewhere in their digital marketing. Know your risks, stay informed, and make the best decision you can with the information you have right now.