As some of you may know, I was recently *locked out* of Facebook for 7 days due to my account being compromised. What really ticked me off about this were a few things:
1. After being locked out, Facebook gave me no indication whatsoever of when or how the issue would be resolved. I tried emailing their support (ha!) and tweeting them (@Facebook) on a daily basis and got no response whatsoever.
2. I couldn’t contact my Facebook audience and had no way of letting them know I had been locked out – so for all they knew, I just dropped off the face of the earth! After posting links and resources for them daily, it made me look bad and I had no way to communicate to them.
Despite being ticked off there were some valuable lessons:
1. First and foremost, do not rely on Facebook as your end-all-be-all ground zero for your film or business. You’re dead in the water if for any reason they decide to shut you down or change their policies for whatever reason. You cannot afford to tie up everything you have in Facebook. Please please please – build a website or blog for your film and capture email addresses so you can continue business as usual no matter what Facebook decides to do.
2. During my 7 day FB lockout period I told my friends that it felt oddly liberating – and to tell you the truth I got a heck of a lot of more work done! Just goes to show you how distracting social media can be if you don’t manage your time properly.
So what can you do to prevent from being caught in this vulnerable situation?
Like I said above, number one is to have your own website or blog for your film hosted with your own URL.
People always ask me which resources I recommend to host my websites, blogs, and email databases, so I’ve come up with a short list of the services I use (and who I’m an affiliate for), so you can see all in one place who I recommend:
Website Hosting & Blogs
I host all my blogs (including this one) on Blue Host which has a super convenient one-click Word Press installation. Blogs are a simple way to create a quick and cheap website for your film or production company because you can easily embed your trailer, handle all the admin and changes yourself, and interact with your audience easily through the comments section. Blue Host is basically a one-stop, quick and cheap resource for getting a great looking film website up fast. Heres the link to check them out for yourself.
Email Capture & Database
I tell you I swear by Aweber! I’ve hosted all of my email lists there since the beginning and have never once had even one problem. If you’re wondering why as a filmmaker you even need an email list in the first place, let me put it to you like this – if you want to be able to connect directly with your audience and your customers you need an email database. Why? Because if you rely solely on a third party site like Facebook to interact with your audience, you’re playing with fire since you have no control over their platform and they can shut down your film page at any time and you will have no recourse and no way to stay connected to your fans (unless you are capturing their email addresses in Aweber of course!). Here’s the link to get started with them.
So what happened after the 168-hour lockout?
When I finally got let back into Facebook it was pretty uneventful – just a random email from them saying that I could now go in and reset my password. WTF? Anyway, I’m happy be back in on the ‘inside’ but grateful that I haven’t put all my eggs in one basket with only one platform to connect and communicate with my audience.
If you have a similar Facebook Lockout story I’d love to hear it! And if you’re proudly diversified over multiple platforms, I’d like to hear about that too!