‘Rely on it every day’: How Facebook, Instagram outage impacted Metro Detroit businesses

‘I post every single day on social media because that’s how people know about my brand, about my product, to keep them up to date on events’

Small businesses say they were impacted by the Facebook outage.

Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are back up and running after a massive global outage Monday.

It may sound like a minor inconvenience, but at a time where we are depending on technology to stay connected, a few hours of disconnect can and did make a big impact on Metro Detroit businesses.

For many small businesses, social media is critical.

“Online is your livelihood, so for having that minor shutdown, for what they called, it had a great effect,” said Lauren Romanowski, marketing director and co-owner of Hyper Digital Marketing Group, a company that runs social media platforms for multiple businesses.

”Social media, I can’t live without it,” said business owner Sandra Epps. “I rely on it every day. I post every single day on social media because that’s how people know about my brand, about my product, to keep them up to date on events.”

From paint parties to the Detroit Doll Show, the pandemic already put a dent in Epps’ business, Sandy’s Land LLC. Then Epps’ Facebook page was hacked.

“I couldn’t post on my business pages for like three months,” she said.

She finally got back on Facebook less than a week ago only to lose access again during the outage on Monday.

“It was just devastating because I’ve been trying to get out my new product,” Epps said.

The outage brought up multiple challenges for Romanowski’s digital marketing company.

“A lot of these industries we work with are continually running ads, they’re geo-tracked, they’re in the area, so you’re already wasting a whole day of budgeting too, to get that retraction,” said Romanowski.

Other platforms they use depend on a Facebook or Instagram logins.

“We have a lot of app development going out right now especially within the cryptocurrency world. We know this is huge, it’s trending and a lot of algorithms are requiring Facebook as a login to stuff, so you could not log into any of these platforms to run trials,” Romanowski said.

On top of that, the outage couldn’t have come at a worse time. The first Monday in October is the start of the fourth quarter.

“We usually launch or hold dates with everybody. We had our clients commenting and calling us freaking out like, ‘Where’s our stuff? Where’s our media?’ We don’t know what’s going on, how are these algorithms coming through and it was a real struggle,” Romanowski said.

While these outages don’t happen often, those six hours lost on Monday made quite the impression on how business is done.

“I’m going to have to lean more on telephone calls, text messages and emails versus me (only) relying on connecting with my clients by way of social media,” said Epps. “There is a change going on right now as we speak.”

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.