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Annalese Sharrock Strategic Director
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It’s a major piece of the advertising puzzle for many businesses, but with plateauing usage stats and privacy issues, Facebook has hit some rocky times in the past two years. Last year, they dealt another blow for businesses saying they would be prioritising “meaningful interactions” ahead of commercial messaging. This year, in 2019, aside from a slight change in the “Facebook blue”, things have got even harder for businesses with Zuckerberg announcing further tweaks that favour the private and the temporary.
Let’s explore what this means for businesses on Facebook …
The Facebook news feed has long been the central source of content on the social media platform. That is changing. From the way the Facebook app is built to how the algorithm works in guiding your behaviour on the platform, everything will be moving you towards interactions that are more private. These might be in groups or events, through messaging, or through a preference for interacting with just your closest friends.
The new dating feature is an especially vivid example of this shift of focus for Facebook. This feature will boast a “secret crush” function where you can secretly select a friend you have a crush on and if they secret crush you back, the match will be made and a new romance begun. No more need for Tinder!
What this all means for businesses is that we need to think outside of the accepted norm of just making content for the newsfeed. Our social media coaching has been preaching the need for meaningful engagement for the last 18 months, but it’s not just our content and approach that needs to change, we also need to think about where that content is going beyond just the newsfeed. Utilising messages, events and groups seems to be key strategies to work around these issues. And advertising placements should extend beyond just the traditional right hand and newsfeed placements.
The success of Instagram adopting the Snapchat-like Stories feature back in 2016 has led to Facebook to also adopt this content delivery method that only lives for 24 hours. While this hasn’t had the popularity on Facebook as it has achieved on Instagram (with 50% usage rates), Facebook has signalled that this sort of content will feature strongly in its future. You can see this already with the screen real estate stories are given now in the Facebook mobile app and the fact it’s one of the first things you see scrolling through a business page. Same with Live Video being promoted ahead of Photos or Videos.
Another point where you can see this shift towards more ephemeral content is how hard it is to see posts from your past when you click on your own profile—the posts are buried way down the page.
What does this mean for businesses? We definitely need to think about utilising stories more. And perhaps this also means shifting the focus from the epic evergreen content we were doing a couple of years back to more regular, engaging and topical content that speaks to the heart of the community you’re reaching.
Plus, with Facebook’s algorithm becoming more and more powerful, the only way to achieve any sort of longevity organically now is to make sure it conforms to the algorithm’s demand for “meaningful interactions”. So, moral of the story, make your content engaging and stimulate those interactions by asking good questions and diving into the discussion in the comments.
If you’d like to talk further about these developments and your social media approach, drop me a line, I’d love to chat. Let’s do coffee!
Email or call me on 027 4835942