The future of Facebook is murky at best right now. Will it go to a paid version? Will the user-base significantly drop? Or worse yet, will we wake up one day to a Facebook-less world? Although the last scenario is apocalyptic, your business should operate as though Facebook could disappear at any moment. More simply, if your business strategy relies solely on Facebook, your business would not be sustainable if Facebook dissolves or makes significant changes like the recent algorithmic changes made to business page content in user’s feeds.

How can you effectively leverage Facebook while it’s still up and running without letting the platform dictate your business’ external communication? Here are three tips.

Prioritize Relationship Management

Remember the good old days of Facebook where it was a tool to connect you with high school friends you lost touch with once you entered college? Yea, that was a lifetime ago. The point is that Facebook was never meant to replace traditional relationship management, it was meant to enhance our ability to keep in touch with people. So, your business should think more about building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders, rather than building its Facebook presence. While Facebook does have the potential to be a powerful business tool, you should ultimately be using Facebook as a medium to take people somewhere else like your website, into your store, or to an event. Thus, remembering other methods of relationship building and maintenance is essential for this.

Building relationships does not just take place in the digital world. The digital world instead compliments the relationships that a business builds with their consumers and stakeholder every day. Prioritize relationship management by creating an experience for your consumer within your store or office that then develops into a loyal, long-lasting relationship. Using Facebook as a means for this type of relationships building will also increase your likelihood of placement in user feeds due to higher engagement rates from followers.

Use SEO Strategies

Many small businesses rely on social media as their “website” and while this is not ideal from a professionalism standpoint, it is also not ideal from an SEO standpoint. It’s true, if a person goes to Google and searches for your brand, more than likely your Facebook page will come up but only because they used a brand name. What if you want customers that don’t know you already? Well, you’re going to need to rely on a fully optimized branded website and use Facebook as a complimentary way to drive traffic to it.

Search Engine Optimization will always win out over social media platforms because good SEO directs people from search engines to your social channels or from search engines to your website based off of what they’re already searching for. Instead of spending hours optimizing your business’ Facebook page, strategize, evaluate and update your SEO plans regularly. However, be careful not to confuse your SEO with Google AdWords or other tools you might be using. SEO is free for businesses to utilize and does not rely on paid placements or advertisements.

Go Back to Basics

How did you conduct business before Facebook was involved? Maybe you held events, sent promotional mailers, or utilized email marketing. If you’ve stopped or decreased your efforts in those areas, now might be a good time to reassess. Regardless of the outcome with Facebook, change is certain and algorithms are nearly impossible to optimize for your business. Consider bringing back more traditional strategies and use Facebook as a way to reinforce those efforts, rather than letting Facebook replace the need for those things. At the end of the day, every piece of your marketing should be integrated and be able to fall back on one another. Integration is at the foundation of every successful marketing, advertising or public relations campaign because consumers are living and breathing in more than one place, and an integrated strategy will allow you to reach them in those multiple places, channels, and outlets.

To sum it all up, if you’re relying on Facebook for marketing and promotion, consider adjusting your strategy so that your business is prepared if things drastically change. Social media is not meant to dictate business growth, but rather to be used as a secondary tool to enhance business communication.