Facebook’s ban is a reminder not to trust a giant
Facebook’s recent news ban happened so fast that it knocked over not just the key players, but the entire board. Save the Children Australia, the Kids Cancer Project, 1800 Respect, Mission Australia, Hobart Women’s Shelter, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, Australian Wildlife Conservancy and a number of other charities were seriously affected, with no one in Australia able to view their posts.
Facebook didn’t care if you were a charity, NFP, health provider, or government organisation; it banned almost everyone in one fell swoop. Even my PR agency, Pure Public Relations, had its posts removed.
Facebook’s decision was an extreme reaction to a draft law that is still essentially in the discussion phase and was designed to send a message to those who are taking them to task, not just in Australia, but globally. Even though Facebook has since overturned its ban, the moral of the story is this: never trust a tech giant.
It’s time to spread out
Since the pandemic began, the majority of organisations have dispersed their unused marketing spend into online channels. Facebook has been reaping the rewards of this pivot. However, as a result, many NFPs and charities have put too much faith in tech giants who don’t have their best interests in mind.
Any organisation must ensure that it’s constantly innovating within a large spread of channels, from traditional to online. They need to do what they always should have done: build connections with people that are not dependent on any one platform or channel.
They must work to build a consistent media presence and nurture positive relationships with journalists. Set up third-party endorsements, including cross-selling, referrals, and joint initiatives.
What’s the alternative?
There are many options for organisations that want to ensure a broader – and therefore less risky – mix of marketing content. Consider using influencers who can use their social media platforms to promote your organisation. Their ability to post wasn’t taken away, and most likely wouldn’t should a similar ban happen in the future.
Incentivise, encourage, and reward your fans, partners, and stakeholders to do some of the talking. Reshare and engage with their posts, and surprise those who talk about you in a positive way.
Most importantly, find a way to bring people onto your owned channels, be it your website, email list, or text message database. Sure, external channels such as Facebook can be used to attract people in the first place, but the ultimate goal should always be to encourage people to interact with the channels that you have more control over.
The ban has proven that Facebook can’t be trusted, and its credibility has been irrevocably damaged. Now is the time for charities and NFPs to reconsider their marketing mix. It’s time to take back control.