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New Year, New Major Facebook Update: Now What?

Olivia Craig

17 January 2018

By now, you’ve probably heard about the latest Facebook News Feed overhaul – the most significant in years – that aims to highlight content that sparks meaningful interaction, community and positive engagement. With research increasingly pointing to the negative impact Facebook can have on user’s general health and mood, it’s no surprise that Mark Zuckerberg has chosen to implement changes that encourage a positive user experience. David Ginsberg, Director of Research at Facebook was quoted saying: “When people are engaging with people they’re close to, it’s more meaningful, more fulfilling. It’s good for your well-being.” Which leaves brands and businesses wondering – and worrying – if Facebook will remain good for their well-being?

Short answer: Yes, but Facebook will demand a shift in social strategies and the type of content brands are producing in order to play ball with their latest algorithm. This massive update has potential to be the push businesses need to turn their focus back to relevant, creative content that drives meaningful social interactions. What does that mean? That content that doesn’t inspire interactions comments will be downplayed. Say goodbye to just pushing for likes and shares. Telling your brand’s story authentically, creatively and with community building intent is the name of the game, here. We’ll outline three suggestions to take into consideration in response to this shift.

Lights, Camera, Video

Digital video is King, or at least in Facebook’s Kingdom. The fairest of them all? Facebook Live and Episodic installments that will encourage not only consistent engagement but community amongst viewers. As stated in one report, Facebook users watch 100 million hours of video every single day. While creating videos can be costly and a bit time consuming, sharing content this way ensures higher organic visibility in the face of all these recent changes. With such focus on community and personal connection, Facebook Live has been reported to rake in six times the amount of engagement versus pre-recorded videos because viewers can ask questions (and receive answers) in real time. There is an incredible opportunity here for your brand or business to share in a way that written word often can’t – think going ‘Live’ to unveil a new product or project, filming weekly installments of interviews with industry leaders, customer satisfaction stories, and thoughtful tips. Episodic content that draws users back to watch week after week will be favored by Facebook and ultimately could create a stronger sense of community engagement and involvement around your brand.

Doable Video Ideas That Small Businesses Can Use

  • Product unboxing and reviews
  • Weekly Q&A sessions about industry trends
  • Customer interviews
  • Go Live at an Event or Store remodel
  • Provide tips to solve common customer struggles
  • Explain a complicated service or product

Facebook Groups Galore

Joining or creating a Facebook group as a brand or business page may not be a lead generation method your social strategy team has called upon before, but it soon will be. With the latest News Feed changes favoring such community engagement, the push for use of business groups is at an all-time high. Consider creating groups for your customers and brand advocates, doing so will allow your brand (and it’s message) to reach your audience consistently. For example, creating a group themed around the experiences or challenges your customer may encounter on their journey to work with you. Think: a lifestyle-based photographer setting up a Facebook group for parents to prepare for their family photos or newborn photo shoot: encouraging individuals to swap outfit ideas, location insights, even tips for keeping the kiddo’s happy for the duration of the shoot! We understand that coming up with a strategy for successfully using Facebook groups (and fostering a community within them) may be a challenge, but consider it a great exercise in placing yourself in your customer’s shoes and anticipating those needs. Currently, all members of any Facebook group will see all content that is published in their group, and the assumption is that this feature will remain with the push towards creating engagement and connection between users.

Facebook Groups for Small Businesses

  • Consider joining a pre-existing Facebook group that calls for your brand’s expertise to engage daily with potential customers
  • Create a dedicated Facebook group of your own to control the group experience as a whole
  • Create a community around the products or services you specialize in to foster engagement and conversation

Bots, Messenger & the Future of Customer Service

If your business isn’t incorporating Facebook’s automated messenger and bots just yet, now seems to be the time to work these tools into your wheelhouse. For a business or brand, Facebook Messenger does offer quick information exchanges that could ultimately lead to selling opportunities. Often, customers have simple questions that they’re seeking answers to and Facebook Messenger offers yet another way for a brand to communicate and serve while fostering good faith (and response times). Facebook has high hopes that companies and customers alike will rely on messenger as a way to request and receive support, engage with potential clientele, and tell a brand’s story. According to a study quoted by David Marcus, Facebook Messenger Vice President, “56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call customer service.” With hints that Facebook Messenger will be receiving a major overhaul including potential for greater visual messaging, it seems businesses must consider Messenger another form of storytelling and customer service to stay competitive. If you’re worried about dedicating an allotment of hours to managing messages for your brand, you can consider automated bots to manage your inbox. For instance, if there is a specific inquiry your business often receives from customers, consider automating such responses.

Bots & Messenger for Small Businesses

  • 56% of people surveyed would rather message a business than call
  • Consider Facebook Messenger another platform to enhance customer’s experience
  • Using Facebook Messenger bots can ensure your business seems reachable and responsive

 

Are Facebook Ads Untouchable?

A question remains: will Facebook ads continue to be an effective tool for businesses? Further, will the cost necessary to see such ROI increase? The answer is, we don’t know. No one really does. Not yet. We’ve seen an increase in the cost of ads these last few years, with the CPC of Facebook ads increasing 136% in 2017. Logic says we will see a decline in inventory as Facebook will show content that is driving engagement. All things considered, we should expect an increase in ad cost. At this time, we recommend keeping a close eye on any current ads and making adjustments as necessary.

Ads Call for Creativity

  • Focus on creating ads that start conversations amongst your customers
  • Gaining engagement on paid ads can lower the overall cost as reach will become a mix of paid and organic

Big Changes Could Bring Big Wins for Your Business

Now more than ever before, there is a demand for quality, relevant, meaningful content that sparks conversation. These changes can certainly present challenges for businesses, but not without great potential for growth both online and off. Remember that Facebook has always been a uniquely effective way to interact with your customers, and that hasn’t changed. Facebook wants to bring people together through engagement over informative content, and this latest algorithm update may be just what your business needs to connect with potential lifelong customers.

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