Social Media And The Shutdown: What To Do When Your Website Isn’t Working

It’s inconvenient, it’s panic-inducing and it’s time-consuming; it’s the dreaded website shutdown and it’s going to happen to you sooner or later.

Your non-profit’s website can go dark for any number of reason, but it’s usually technical difficulties or because it’s receiving an update/facelift. These things happen. Updates are especially inevitable, a sort of necessary evil. But as much as a website shutdown is unavoidable at times, it still causes headaches for members and upsets would-be visitors to your site.

Luckily, social media can help cure some of what ails your organization when its website goes on vacation. Having a social media strategy for a website shutdown is important and can serve as one part of a larger plan for your non-profit when dealing with emergencies.

Twitter and Facebook are great social media platforms to use during a website shutdown. Both sites allow you to get the word out fast and efficiently while giving your community access to your organization without using its website.

Twitter and Facebook are great platforms to use to notify your community if you know your website is going to be down. It is important to post frequent messages with details of the shutdown in the days leading up to it. This way, your community will know what’s going on and can plan their actions accordingly. You definitely don’t want your community renewing their membership or donating money at the time of a shutdown. Twitter and Facebook can help prevent that.

If your website blacks-out without warning, Twitter and Facebook are great tools to notify your community, handle criticism in a helpful and transparent manner and help your community with any questions they would normally look to the website to answer. Twitter and Facebook are great for this because they allow you to instantly connect with your community and have conversations that could save your members, donors and volunteers time, money and headaches.

YouTube is another great tool to use during a website shutdown, especially if you know ahead of time that your site is going to be unavailable to your community. Being unable to access a website can mean not being able to contribute money, sign up to volunteer, learn about an organization or become a member, no matter how much you care about the organization. Making a YouTube video can help guide your community and ensure that even after the website shutdown, people come back to your site again and again.

Making a YouTube video ahead of a planned shutdown can help communicate important points to your non-profit’s community in an engaging and lighthearted way while including a human element to the process. It can help explain the need for a shutdown (a retooling, general maintenance, etc) by describing how one inconvenience will make the experience better for a long time to come. Explaining ways that your community can stay involved or find information during a website shutdown can also be a fun and informative way to handle the issue.

Shutting down your website, even if it’s just for an hour or two, can be a tough, but necessary decision. When it happens without warning, it can be a nightmare for you, your organization and its community. Having a plan in place to deal with this issue is important to responding quickly and ensuring your community doesn’t abandon your non-profit. Social media can be a huge factor in this strategy and can put a positive spin on an otherwise unsavory activity. Building a strong social media presence today can help you with your bugs and glitches tomorrow.