It’s official: Facebook has had an identity crisis.
What started as an online space with a simple interface where users could connect with their “friends” has now become a marketplace for brands, media, and businesses to reach and engage with their customers and promote their latest products, services, and opinions. While the billions of dollars thrown at the social platform in advertising funds have made Mark Zuckerberg a very rich man, he’s now realizing how far Facebook has traveled from its original identity.
The social network has slowly implemented small changes in the past year to get the network back to its original purpose, but this time they’ve rolled out major changes that drastically change the way its users interact with the network with the hopes of making their experience more “meaningful”, providing them with a feeling of “time well spent”—all at the expense of publishers and brands.
On Thursday, January 12 at 6:28 p.m., Zuckerberg posted on Facebook:
…we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.
As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people…
At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.
So what does this mean for small businesses, organizations, and major brands who have used Facebook and other social media platforms to reach new and existing audiences? It means posts, videos, and photos from organizations—which Zuckerberg has dubbed “public content”—will dramatically decrease as Facebook will prioritize “meaningful social interactions.”
Here are our predictions and the steps we’ll be taking to ensure our clients are on the right track in light of this update:
- Organizations will need to step up their game when it comes to copy and creative to make their posts and advertisements more meaningful to their audience. We predict an even larger emphasis on becoming experts of customer personas. Marketers will need to ensure they know them in and out so they can determine what they find meaningful.
- Passive posts won’t do the trick anymore—they need to be engaging now more than ever. Because how a post performs has become such a huge factor on whether or not it is shown, posts that don’t incite some kind of action without blatantly asking for it will be penalized. It’s going to be hard to get by on posts that don’t foster any kind of social interaction.
- To succeed, marketers will need to place greater emphasis on their messaging. If the messaging doesn’t resonate with the audience, any amount of fine-tuned targeting will be for naught.
The digital realm is a dynamic realm. We’re always anticipating what the next change or update means for our clients to experience success. We see this specific update as just another opportunity to learn and develop new strategies.