Last Monday, the world was in turmoil. Not because of anything serious, but because they couldn’t use their beloved social apps. For anyone who was living under a rock, here’s what happened.
At around 4:30pm; Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger all went down. Not just for 20 minutes, but for over 6 hours. So, what did everyone do? Well, the whole world flocked to Twitter and TikTok – and I’m sure a few people tried to find their MySpace passwords. A few people went crazy, including our Senior Social & Content Manager, Joe…
— Joseph Moring (@DrBadger) October 4, 2021
But for the most part, brands embraced the change. Twitter lead the way by poking fun at their rival social media accounts, while relishing their new found popularity. While other brands also took the opportunity to create memes, and join in the social banter that everyone was a part of.
Social has become such a huge part of brands marketing that, for many community managers or agencies, the fact their scheduled posts couldn’t be posted might have caused momentary panic. But amidst panic, there is always the opportunity to stand out. We’re now a few days on from the fiasco, and a lot of brands would be viewing this as a missed opportunity to get some media attention. Although it’s unlikely to happen again anytime soon, cultural moments happen almost every week. So what could you have done, and how can you prepare for the next one?
Exploring the landscape
Trends come and go, but picking the right ones to choose from are always hard to do. When Cristiano Ronaldo replaced Coca-Cola with water, it was a perfect moment for water brands to get involved. But with the social blackout, it was a moment that every brand could’ve been a part of with little to no preparation. Everyone was affected, and everyone felt the same. So, where do you go from there? Look around, what are other brands doing, where did everyone go, what’s been said, how were people feeling? Follow the conversation. Find your entry point. That’s exactly what Netflix did. Monday’s meltdown could’ve been as simple as a tweet that said “Well, fancy seeing you here.”
Sometimes it can be that simple, but it also emphasises the power that text-based content has. McDonalds literally replied to Twitter with 6 words and got 200,000 likes. If they’d included a hashtag would it have gone even further? The trending page was filled with #InstagramDown & #FacebookDown, and the use of hashtags are key to expanding your reach in moments like this.
But unlike other cultural moments, there was another way it could’ve been approached.
With many trends, there’s normally just the moment you can tackle. With Instagram & Facebook both down, it was fairly obvious that both platforms were going to come back up. It’s quite easy to look back now and say, “well you had 6 hours to plan content for when they’re back online.” But in reality, nobody knew how long they would be down for. Either way – foreseeing that as soon as they were working, everyone would be back on them was easy. Could you have done a recap of your tweets from the day before? The Mercedes AMG F1 team did.
View this post on Instagram
Could you post a meme that said “are we back?” Could you have created a “what we did while Instagram was down” carousel? Could you do something outside of social? Ogilvy did.
View this post on Instagram
What can you do next time?
Reactivity is one of the most under-utilised tools in advertising. Maybe because getting things signed-off in short notice isn’t so easy. But creating a moment that unites a brand with their audiences’ feeling is at the heart of everyone’s mission. These moments don’t come around very often, but when they do ask yourself. How can we be a part of it?