5 ways to respond when your social channels are down

When you rely on a social media network to get your news out, an unexpected outage can throw your campaign. Here’s how five companies made lemonade from social media lemons.

The world went into a tizzy when Facebook and Instagram were temporarily down—leading to the trending hashtag #FacebookDown.

In the business world, losing two social media networks was a major roadblock for some companies, since they were suddenly unable to speak to their audience through these two popular channels. Other companies that have mastered social media, though, understood how to sidestep roadblock and were able to use it as a chance to position themselves in front of a larger audience.

Here are five savvy companies and organizations that turned #FacebookDown into a prime opportunity to shine:

1. Ralph Breaks the Internet.

Disney’s new movie, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” premiered in theaters the day after #FacebookDown. The movie is a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph, and in this movie, Ralph… well… breaks the Internet. The timing seemed too good to pass up, so the movie’s social media team seized the opportunity to make a joke about Ralph being the reason Facebook was down. The movie also extended the reach of its special emoji hashtag #RalphBreaksTheInternet.

2. Sesame Street.

Everyone is familiar with Sesame Street and its beloved characters Elmo, Grover and Big Bird. Some favorite characters can be seen daily on social media now too, with the growth of GIFs.

Sesame Street took advantage of the golden opportunity presented by #FacebookDown to tweet out the fan-favorite GIF, drawing more people to its timeline, which is filled with new information about the show.

3. Texas Rangers.

Coincidentally, #FacebookDown occurred the same day that Rangers third baseman and future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre announced his retirement. The Rangers even started a hashtag #ThankYouAB to celebrate his great career.

With two major social media channels down on the day of the big announcement, the Rangers didn’t want people to miss the news. So, the team used its creativity to make a joke that it was the announcement that crashed social media, since it was so momentous. By using #FacebookDown with the newly-created #ThankYouAB, the Rangers extended the reach of the announcement.


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization might not be a Twitter account you’d expect to chime in on the #FacebookDown craze.

However, UNESCO saw the trending hashtag as an opportunity to promote its new report on migration, displacement and education. This topic, while important, might have had trouble standing out on its own on social media, so linking it to #FacebookDown with a witty caption was an excellent way to reach a greater audience.

5. Mashable.

When a topic such as #FacebookDown begins trending on Twitter, some people look for their chance to go viral with the perfect joke, but others are just looking for answers.

Mashable took the opportunity to drive more traffic to its website by quickly tweeting an article with all the available details on #FacebookDown. Mashable added an amusing comment in the tweet but understood that comedy wasn’t its objective. Instead, it was driving people to its website by being the answer to the madness people were seeking.

John Reynolds is a senior account executive with Buchanan PR. A version of this article originally appeared on the firm’s blog.


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