Mark Zuckerberg last week announced what a lot of businesses should have seen coming for a long time. In a Facebook post, which has since had over 200,000 reactions and more than 28,000 shares, Zuckerberg said content between friends and family would now be prioritised over brands and businesses posts.
He said that Facebook’s goal is shifting away from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions. Ultimately, Facebook is going back to basics and helping people connect with people.
Zuckerberg said that at Facebook, they feel a responsibility to deliver a service that is not only fun to use but is good for people’s wellbeing. They’ve been studying trends carefully through academic research as well as doing their own research with experts. What they found was that social media can be a really powerful tool in helping people’s wellbeing by making them feel less lonely through interacting with friends and family.
What they also found was that passively engaging with articles and videos on Facebook could do the opposite, having a negative effect on your wellbeing.
The past few years have seen our Facebook feeds inundated with posts from brands and pages which has inevitably caused the more memorable posts from friends and family to be lost in the chaos.
LESS FREE STUFF
From a business perspective, this change means less free space to advertise. Shocker! Right?
Last year we spoke about the importance of Facebook advertising for a number of reasons. One reason being it's value for money. There’s literally no other platform that gives brands or media companies the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of people for free, so this move should come as absolutely no surprise.
What it does mean is that now is a good time to take a step back and look at your overall digital content strategy. Instead of being on Facebook just because you think you need to be on Facebook... you can look at some data and decide whether or not it’s a space you actually need to be in.
Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s head of News Feed, said pages that generate conversation will show higher in news feeds. He said brands who actually interact with their audience and create quality conversation will be rewarded over pages who bombard their followers with promotional product posts.
Mosseri pointed out that live videos provide the most conversation between users, generating on average six times as many interactions as regular videos. He also mentioned that Facebook Groups and Events often create meaningful conversation within their selected communities. So whether you’re a small local business, a large brand, a cult-brand within a niche market or pretty much anything in between, there’s still potential for you to reach the right audience. It’s just a matter of how and with what content.
Back to basics
For businesses, going back to basics and developing an engaging digital strategy is crucial. Looking at whether or not your business NEEDS to be on Facebook is going to be an important question to ask. Figure out who your customers actually are and if they even care about you being on Facebook. If not, stop wasting your time.
If they do, then it’s time to develop a legitimate content strategy that is going to drive engagement and generate conversation among users. Obviously, the CPM is going to be driven up pretty dramatically so you’ll need to decide whether the time and effort spent delivering an interesting piece of work is going to be worth the money.
But, this could be a huge opportunity. It’s a chance to look at what you’re doing and figure out what’s actually working. What does your audience really value from you and can you deliver that to them?
Facebook is a profit-driven business so they still need you spending your money with them. Which is why Zuckerberg hasn’t stopped ads or branded posts altogether.
He’s simply telling you to be better. He wants businesses to stop being lazy (sharing memes just won’t cut it anymore) and start delivering different, engaging content to the people who want to see it.
From a Facebook user perspective, this is amazing news. From a brand perspective, it’s a much-needed wakeup call. It’s time to start collecting some data and developing a strategy that’ll help your business succeed in the long term.
Ask yourself - If I closed my businesses Facebook page tomorrow, who would care and why?