Small business owners reveal just how much the Facebook outage affected them

Yesterday was a long day without Facebook. These hours revealed how important Facebook is to our digital and physical lives.
The indispensibility of Facebook was felt around the globe, while Twitter and other platforms enjoyed the spotlight in its absence. Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp were also affected by the outage.

Small businesses felt the impact immediately. They were able to experience the different severities of social impact outages in just a few hours. Some experienced a drop in engagement and traffic, while others saw their sales take a hit due to the disruption of their social media channels.

We are sorry to the large community of businesses and individuals around the globe that rely on us. We have been hard at work to restore access to our apps, and we are pleased to announce that they are now back online. We appreciate your patience. Facebook (@Facebook), October 4, 2021

Facebook apologized to the businesses that use their apps as a foundation. They wrote on Twitter: "To the vast community of people, businesses, and countries around the globe who depend on our services: We're sorry."

Although the outage was resolved, it opened up a dialogue for owners and businesses that are affected by Facebook. Independent businesses are now rethinking their social media strategies. They are also becoming more aware of the need to spread themselves across platforms that are not part of the Facebook empire.

Mashable interviewed a variety of business owners about the effects of the shutdown on their businesses.

Lucy Jeffrey, founder of the bamboo socks retailer Bare Kind.

"I sell bamboo socks. Ten percent of the profits are donated to the animals printed on them. The outage didn't occur to me at first. I noticed that my sales had dropped and took a moment to verify. I could not access the platform. Although I was annoyed at first, I wasn't too concerned. It was a long day for sales and the platforms were down for hours. This is unacceptable.

Due to the outage, my sales fell one-fourth from yesterday. It is making me nervous about how dependent I am on Facebook to run my business. It may be worth rethinking that all of my marketing budget is spent on Facebook. While I have tried other platforms, Facebook is my favorite. Because I am so visual, other platforms don't work well with me. It is a large company, so it will not go down for too much longer. Small business owners felt quite vulnerable after what happened."

Naina Hussain is the illustrator and founder at ByNainah.

"I am a very anxious person so when posts didn't load, I thought that my data and WiFi were both acting up simultaneously.

Although I had spoken to the client earlier, it was a general inquiry and I was still waiting for their reply. This was definitely causing me anxiety. But, I soon realized that everything was fine except for Facebook apps. I decided to return any messages today, the next day. Today was the longest outage in history. I was surprised to wake up this morning and realize that it was the longest.

This has a significant impact on how I view my customer outreach moving forward. Many people have tried out new platforms such as TikTok/Twitter. But ByNaina's platform is completely based on Instagram and Facebook. It is nerve-wracking to consider the possibility of this happening again, on a smaller scale or on a larger scale. I also urge you to think about putting your business on other platforms, such as TikTok or on newer/differenter platforms.

Jordan Fry, data protection lead at digital marketing agency Pennard.

"We spend a lot on Instagram and Facebook as a digital marketing company. It's not uncommon for Instagram and Facebook to go down for several minutes at once, but yesterday's outage took both of these platforms offline for several hours. We were unable to access their APIs, which are the core of how we interact on the platforms, manage advertising campaigns, or see a return for recently published posts.

Facebook and Instagram were temporarily unavailable Monday but it is unlikely that this will have an impact on the number of regular users moving forward. Small business owners will likely continue to use Instagram and Facebook for their business because it provides a unique experience that is not available on other platforms. This may be more suitable for them.

"What really happened left small business owners feeling very vulnerable."

Karen Valeria, founder and CEO of the jewellery brand Viva Valeria.

"Yesterday was very difficult for my small business that I have been growing from 10 months ago. My small online jewellery business is based in December. I launched the website in December last year. It has over 5000 followers, 4000 in revenue, and was completely new.

Yesterday, I received requests from customers for custom orders via WhatsApp or Instagram. I also had to sign contracts with influencers to sponsor posts that were set to go live on Instagram. The unique promo code I had with the influencer who shared my jewelry on her page was not finalized. This has resulted in the code being added later. Her sponsored post received only six likes, which is disappointing considering she has 10k fans who love her content and all she does.

Rose Dyson, founder of Pura Cosmetics and CEO.

"We were a sustainable beauty brand that appeals primarily to Gen-Z, with very affordable pricing and fun advertising. It was very interesting to see the outage start. We are primarily targeting the Gen-Z population, so social media is our biggest marketing tool. It is so important. All communications planned for yesterday went out the window. It's also the end of the year, and Christmas is approaching, so it's a critical time for the company. Although it wasn't the end, the outage was disappointing. We realized that we cannot rely solely on Instagram and Facebook. When it comes to strategy, we need to be agile and this made us think about other tools.

Jack Shepherd, cofounder of Social Shepherd, a social media marketing agency.

"Initially, we felt a little panic. But, similar Facebook outages have happened once or twice per year. We believed that the platforms would be back up within 24 hours. The outage had immediate consequences. Our advertising results dropped dramatically between 5pm and 11pm. Additionally, our social media managers were unable to post important pieces of content at the correct time. We noticed a decline in sales for all our clients during these hours, which is typically when consumers are most likely to buy products online.

Many small businesses are too dependent on Instagram and Facebook for their marketing. However, Pinterest, TikTok and YouTube are all great alternatives to drive revenue and build brand awareness. Many people downloaded Twitter even during the outage and started watching TikTok more, so brands that were prepared and diversified were able take advantage of it.