To Delete Facebook or Not To Delete Facebook, That Is the Question.

The Answer is Not. But Don’t Just Keep Doing The Same Thing.

With Facebook in the crosshairs of consumers, investors, lawmakers, and marketers with the latest revelation that it had suspended the data analysis company Cambridge Analytica for allegedly harvesting data from more than 50 million users, the call to #DeleteFacebook seems to have reached its fever peak last week…for now. More than 6,000 stories mentioned #DeleteFacebook the same week that the news of the potential data breach broke. Another 2,000 + stories published in the last two days.

Yesterday, CNN reported that Facebook shares fell an additional 5% on reports CEO Mark Zuckerberg has agreed to testify in front of Congress. That loss brings the total lost market value to $80B. Ouch.

This morning, in response to the growing backlash over the privacy scandal, Facebook announced new tools in an effort to give people more control over their privacy.

All of this on top of algorithm changes that have had marketers scrambling to find the right equation to keep their brands front and center with the still 2.3 Billion (with a B) consumers on the social platform.

So what to do?

First, we recommend downloading all of your personal Facebook data. Doing this will show you just how much Facebook knows about you. We also suggest you limit the amount of access apps have to your account. Taking this action will limit or stop apps from being able to share your data. Here’s how to adjust your privacy and data sharing settings, per Facebook’s new tools.

Second, don’t delete your company’s Facebook page just yet, even though Elon Musk deleted his companies’. Facebook remains a key engagement and community tool and will for the foreseeable future. And with over 30,000 companies using Workplace, Facebook may be playing a more important role in people of all ages’ days –  not less, regardless of the situation on the open platform.

And finally, don’t rely on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest or YouTube or Snapchat or any social network that you don’t own as the only place to tell your story, engage with customers and partners or create community. Ever. By definition, when you’re only deployed on public platforms, you’re at the mercy of someone else’s decisions that may flip and flop weekly due to forces out of your control.

Social platforms have their place in an integrated communications plan that relies on owned – what you own in formats you control, earned – stories about you or that include you by reporters bringing valuable information to readers, watchers, and/or listeners, and then LEVERAGED into social media platforms to help find and engage audiences.

Reset Now: Prioritizing Strategies For Maximum Control and Influence.

Today, we recommend that you conduct an audit of your marketing mix to ensure you’ve weighted activities appropriately to ensure the most control and influence.

  1. Your Website must be your number one priority. Hang lots of content off of it – blogs, podcasts, interviews, videos. Optimize it. Understand where you’re getting traffic from and who is beating you with the same key words (check out Conductor to understand what content is working in your categories).
  2. Create a Robust Library of Content to tell your story is priority number two. Blogs, Video, Podcast, Photos, Examples. Tell your story on your website with a mix of media you own. Host it on your website (see 1).
  3. Implement a Media and Influencer Relations Program designed to reach the reporters (who are tweeters, grammers, snappers, Pinners and Facebook posters too) and bloggers and posters your audience reads, watches, follows and likes. It’s critical that someone else is carrying your story in their own words. While you telling your story in your owned formats is critical, creditability comes from what other influential and credentialed people say about you – and the less you pay them to say it the better. Today an effective media relations program is a mix of traditional media (reporters with editors or producers), bloggers who may or may not have editorial oversight, influencers with large followings who post on different social platforms, etc. They all work together. At the same time, without an earned campaign in the mix, you will be at the mercy of the rate card and changing algorithms. Remember influencers are on platforms they don’t own too. (Ask any Instagram Influencer how their business is this year and you will get an earful.)
  4. Email. Email is beautiful. Email is a direct feed to your customer. Don’t have an email campaign? Get one.
  5. Create experiences your customers and partners will remember and talk about. In person or virtual, good experiences are the gift that keeps on giving. They allow for direct engagement and interaction between your company’s leadership team / product offering and your desired audience – media, influencers and customers.
  6. Leverage social media natively and well. Obviously social media platforms are incredibly valuable and useful for customer and partner engagement, growing an audience and inspiring and nurturing loyalty. What works for Instagram may not work for Twitter, and so on.

We haven’t heard the last about Facebook’s “breach of trust” with its users. (Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that Mark Zuckerberg took out full page ads in Sunday NEWSPAPERS to address and apologize for the Cambridge Analytica scandal.) And the other platforms are not free and clear either. They, or their replacements are here to stay.

First things first as we’re about to head into Q2. Take a breath. Audit your plan. Adjust and move forward. And if you need help in that audit, you know who to call.