Mark Zuckerberg released a statement last week announcing Facebook posts from friends and family would now be prioritised and at the forefront of user’s experience, meaning posts from media outlets and brands will be downgraded.
This comes as no surprise. Facebook has been moving in this direction for some time and Zuckerberg has merely confirmed it. Undoubtedly this is a business decision for Facebook, intertwined in their quest to drive profit – Facebook is a business after all. And yes, there has been some panic and confusion following the announcement.
But it’s not necessarily bad news.
Facebook’s veered direction is likely to cut out a lot of the fat. We are, after all, in the depths of a post-shift, consumer-driven landscape that has become highly saturated, resulting in mass indifference, mistrust and a general culture of consumer apathy. So while Zuckerberg’s comments around driving quality and value have copped a lot of flack, Facebook have recognised the need for an improved user experience despite their economical means for it.
So what does this mean for brands?
As Digital Marketer Jon Loomer put it, “as often is the case with Facebook announcements, it’s light on details. Lots of words, but few specifics”.
Essentially though, it just means that brands and publishers will need to get more creative and competitive with their content and marketing strategies. And yes, that will require investing more time, thought and money.
Content has been a crucial factor for driving brand awareness and subsequent business capital for some time now. Much like the disruption-led business landscape we operate in that forces us to compete through our products and service offering, content – which is now so heavily entrenched in our marketing plans – is no exception. Just as we saw the shift to it being paramount that businesses have a website some years ago, it is now crucial that brands create and strategize through good content.
This shift is inevitable. And certainly not a cause for panic, particularly as many of us are already doing the things that disruption will demand us to continue doing.
What Will It Look Like?
Brands will need to be on the front foot creatively
Remember, content is a multitude of things – it’s videos (both live and pre-produced), imagery, infographics, polls, CTAs, Facebook stories, tiles, and downloadable resources – to name a few. Content creators will continue to expand beyond written form by experimenting with a variety of ways to engage and cultivate online visibility.
Facebook will continue to love video
Brands will continue to interject purposefully produced video into their content strategy with a focus on live video. And those who don’t will notice their competitors doing it.
A robust Facebook advertising strategy will become paramount
The good news is Facebook’s ads remain proportionally more cost-efficient compared to more traditional modes of advertising. Even the brands who have had relative success or consistency through organic means will need to get up to speed and incorporate a strategic advertising plan as things continue to shift.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Brands are finding creative ways to incentivise and reward loyalty. This can be as simple as encouraging loyal followers to select ‘see first’ and position a brand’s content at the top of their viewing priority. Or it could be in the way of competitions and initiatives that drive mutual activity and growth, spanning beyond two-dimensional output.
The Facebook shift will be a leveraged talking point
Given Zuckerberg’s statement has focussed on the quality of content, brands will be best placed to ask themselves when was the last time you surveyed their audience and asked them what it is that they want? Analytics is a very powerful tool, but so is getting nuanced insights directly from an audience.
Facebook groups will continue to rise
Companies will adopt carefully thought-out Facebook group strategies if and when it is appropriate for their brands. When done properly, groups can be highly effective and generate a lot of engagement, however, it’s important to factor in that they require a lot of consistent nurturing as well as moderating.
We can’t stress enough that there are positives to this new direction. Ultimately, the shift will encourage a higher calibre of reached content that will result in an improved user experience.
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