Mark Zuckerberg

If Facebook is prepared to shrink, you should be prepared to rethink

Posted on Posted in Blog, Opinion

Facebook’s News Feed vice president Adam Mosseri threw a nuclear bom, announcing that the Facebook algorithm is changing to give more room to posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people. Mosseri, and Mark Zuckerberg made it also clear that the algorithm will favor posts from friends and family over public content, and content coming from publishers and news sites: “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease. The impact will vary from Page to Page, driven by factors including the type of content they produce and how people interact with it. Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”

Mark Zuckerberg stated in his post earlier this week that “I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”

We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities”, Zuckerberg says: “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.

Zuckerberg also puts “fixing” Facebook as his personal challenge for 2018.

With less people sharing personal content over the recent months –a severe threat- , and heavy criticism over the role of the Social Network in the US elections, and in the spreading of fake news, it’s only logical that the role of the timeline is revisited. It will most probably not be the last change either.

Socrates rightly said: “If Facebook is rethinking… so should everyone else”. Let me help you start:

 

Stay away from click baiting and all things stupid

You’re not Buzzfeed. Cringing headlines like “you never guess what happened next” should never be your cup of tea. You and your brand, and anything it stands for, are too precious to be associated by these dubious and extremely annoying practices.

 

Facebook Live is not made for the dogs, start using it.

The math is simple: Facebook Live generates up to six times more engagement than regular video. Prerecorded videos trigger mostly passive viewing behavior. Scripted prerecorded videos are even worse. On the spot, live, with passion and conviction. No pressure :-).

 

Grow a personality

Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your values? Your view on the world? Your insights in the business? Your solution for the challenges at hand? Dare to show the humanity behind the label, the passion behind the badge, the people behind the logo.  Personality goes a long way.

 

Meaningful conversation

Paid is important. But, it is time to rethink the social in social media. Communicate more about why you matter than what you offer. Listen to your community. Create content that is important and valuable to them. Spread content that generates passionate, heartfelt and meaningful discussions and interactions. If your strategy is not anchored on two way interaction, you should not even bother.

 

Tailor your data

Figure out who your followers and fans really are. What do they value, what are they looking for? What is important to them? There is absolutely no harm in asking. It’s about time that you start finding out. To be relevant, to create engaging content, cold demographic segmentation will prove dramatically insufficient.

 

Go for less is more

Why would you have to post that often? If you think that frequency is a thing, you need to man up and invest time and energy in creating useful and meaningful things to say and share.  You will need to invest in relevant-ness.  Posting for the simple sake of reach and creating a nice OTC in your media plan will not cut the cake much longer on social platforms.  Go for content and conversations that are meaningful. That trigger interest. That spark emotions and conversations. If Facebook is willing to shrink to keep its relevancy, than we need to dare to go for less is more.

 

Steer away from engagement baiting

Engagement is valuable, and you need to earn it. Trying to cheat your way up the charts by trying to arm-wrestle your audience into forced engagement will not do the trick. It will be rightly be knocked on the head. With a hammer. Stuff like “click smiley face if you want us to show you more pictures of our….” has absolutely no place on a timeline.

 

Be the King of the city block

Relevancy is often linked to places and environment. The Huffington Post grew big by knowing before anyone else what was happening in a neighborhood. If you can, communicate locally. Around your local store. Tailor the digital conversation around the physical store or presence. GO for a phygital experience. Build a tribe, on- and offline. Use smart geo-fencing, and explore the upcoming possibilities from the Facebook Local application that allow to link events to places and experiences. Marry Foursquare and Yelp quoi.

 

Become a Facebook Group

Engagement within groups is high. Groups give a more safe and fenced feeling. Groups give the impression of being a more cozy and secured platform for interacting. Facebook timeline is often a brand standing on a podium. In a Facebook Group, a brand and its fans and followers are having a convo around a beer and some chips.   Some industry watchers even think groups might be the next Facebook. So why don’t you go and have a look?

 

Creators and influencers

They already master what you want to become. They know their audience to the dot. They breathe creativity. They can be big in very small things. They radiate engagement. They grew their following around ideas, friends and compelling content. There you go.

 

Has your Chatbot looked at Messenger?

It is about time. There is one to many conversation, there is one to one conversation. There is tailored consumer interaction.  There is personal costumer service. If you have not thought of activating messenger platforms to power this, you should. Look up the incredible possibilities of chat-bots while you are at it.

 

Grow some balls

Pardon my French. But social media is way more than a media canvas. Yes, it gets paid with advertising money. But the people using it could not care less about that. For them, Facebook is a connection, sharing and discussion platform. It’s a two-way street. There will be talking back. Not everybody will agree with what you have to say, or what you stand for.  That is legit, normal and healthy. That is how relationships grow, how respect and trust are build.  So, step away from ex-cathedra communication and welcome to the age old concept of the forum. We need to stop assuming that ‘total control’ over a conversation is a good thing for brands. It is not. It never was. It never will be.

 

Always interested in your point of view!