When you think of the Facebook Newsfeed, what do you think? The conversation around this platform mostly consists of concerns over Facebook's tendency to leak private data, amplify bogus news stories, and fail to regulate toxic user behavior
Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has been vocal about addressing these concerns and is pivoting the Facebook user experience away from noisy feeds towards a more intimate "online living room" experience.
At the Facebook F8 conference earlier this year, Zuckerberg doubled down on the future of privacy in the platform. In an effort to adapt and survive in the world of social media giants, Facebook will now focus on three main features in an attempt to create a more relevant, useful, and safe online ecosystem: video, groups, and commerce.
Adopting a mindset of futurism and self-preservation, this significant change-of-course means a shift in design, primary features, algorithm, and security priorities. These factors have huge implications for businesses that use the platform as a means of user-connection and monetization—ourselves included.
In light of this fascinating and sometimes messy development, let’s touch on the hot topics we think are most impactful to the future of Facebook as a fixture of effective social media marketing. Let’s dive in.
Facebook is Moving to a More Private Model
A growing lack of trust and security amongst its users lays the groundwork for critical changes in the features and user experience required to address common concerns.
The most notable of these changes involves the future of the newsfeed. Facebook recognizes that the newsfeed feature is not the future of online engagement. It is a noisy place with questionable news links often posted by acquaintances you barely know.
Changes are being made. Last year, Facebook changed its algorithm to give priority to private users. By August 2018, businesses saw a drop in engagement by as much as 50%.
Zuckerberg stated in a blog post earlier this year that “a privacy-focused communications platform will become even more important than today’s open platforms.” To translate: he’s talking about moving the conversation from the public forum to more intimate offshoots.
As a result, we are bracing ourselves for a rush of (even more) Messenger and Facebook Group feature enhancements.
What does this mean for your business page and social strategy?
While your organic social posts may have seen a drop in engagement since the algorithm change, that doesn’t mean you should throw in your Facebook towel. In fact, exploring your paid Facebook options may actually yield you a higher overall ROI, according to the 2019 Digital Trends from Adobe.
Their research shows that paid social drove three times more engagement from non-customers than from existing customers. In addition, paid social on Facebook is often more cost-effective than other marketing platforms. And your boosted posts and advertisements are more likely to reach a global audience as Facebook is used by 22% of people around the world.
More Users are Relying on Facebook Messenger to Communicate with Businesses
800 million people use Facebook Messenger each month. As long-time, active Facebook users engaging with the audience of our small business, we have seen the number of queries through our Facebook page increase and our email and phone inquiries decrease. For large enterprises—or any business whose customer interactions are too frequent to respond to personally—the option to use Artificial Intelligence-driven tools to communicate with users in a private space is a critical feature in allowing customers or leads to progress their customer journey by gathering information, making a connection to the business, and taking action towards a conversion online.
What does this mean for your always-on social strategy?
The cool thing about this move is Messenger communication and marketing sees an 80% higher open rate over older marketing models such as email. Our advice: Pivot your use of Messenger so that your interactions are guided by three main areas of focus:
- Take full advantage of the AI. Program responses carefully and establish (during the early stages) whether your chatbot is handling those initial queries in accordance with your customer experience objectives.
- Create an experience of personal human interaction with those who are messaging you. At some point, probably sooner rather than later, you (or a social media manager) will need to take over the conversation in order to both establish that you are indeed listening to them.
- In order to prevent miscommunication or misunderstanding about your accessibility, set customer expectations from the beginning. For instance, consider setting an average response time and a status message indicating when your business is open or closed.
We’re all somewhat new to this in the grand scheme of things, so keep the experience as intentional, clear, and seamless for your audience as you can. It makes a big difference.
New Opportunities with Facebook Stories
While you might be losing eyes in the organic feed from your Facebook page, you can compensate by focusing on your Facebook Story opportunities. Like Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories are highly visual (image or video) and short on text. They disappear in 24 hours of their initial posting, so the content is fleeting and less likely to be excessively edited or over-produced.
Facebook Stories offer endless opportunities to add a little personality to the content with a significant library of built-in filters, effects, stickers, and overlays. Stories appear at the very top of users’ feeds, making them the first thing people see when they open their app. Facebook rewards business pages for consistently taking advantage of video features with increased organic reach. So I guess we’re making videos now.
What does this mean for your overall social strategy?
Like with Facebook Messenger, the opportunity for your brand to capitalize on the real human resources of your business is big here. Facebook Stories demand you earn engagement with interesting, relevant, and compelling narratives that are people-centered.
Our ideas: Let a team member take over the story for a day, showing a day in the life with the company. Provide coverage at a special event, conference, grand opening, or other notable celebration. Publish user-generated content in the space to showcase your product or service “in the wild.” The world is your oyster. Film it with vertical video.
Here’s the Biggest Facebook Update of Them All
The truth of the matter is that Facebook is constantly changing: changing its algorithms, its rules for posting, its protocols for data encryption and data collection, and the amount of that data it is making available to businesses. Staying abreast of and responding quickly to these changes can be an overwhelming challenge for a large enterprise.
Social media marketing professionals are like surf instructors—we are watching for the next swell so we can help your business use the right techniques at the right time to ride the biggest wave possible.
Our team at Social Tribe has the tools and (wo)manpower poised to put a social media marketing and content strategy to work for your brand! Interested in catching that wave? Let’s talk!