Be a Better Friend: Tips For Marketers as Facebook Makes Changes

Marketers everywhere let out a collective groan when Mark Zuckerberg announced that “you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media” on Facebook. For so many companies, the social platform has been their primary channel for building brand loyalty and promoting their business. The ability to target an audience through Facebook has also meant that brands can reach the right people instead of 360-broadcasting their message to any and all who might see it – a win for everyone. But if the social media giant is changing the rules, then maybe we need to rethink how we’re playing the game.

Start Conversations
“The public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

While the details of this new algorithm are still rolling out, we do know that Zuckerberg wants Facebook to bring people together through online conversations. The “click” is important. The “like” still matters. But the “comment” is now king.

If brands want visibility, they’ll need to create content that people want to talk about – that means engagement baiting isn’t going to work. Whether it makes you laugh, makes you cry or makes you think, it needs to “encourage meaningful interactions” – not just passive engagement.

And if you’re looking for the one-post-fits-all formula that inspires those interactions, remember that every audience – every person really – has a unique set of motivations that influence their behavior. Take the time to look back at what people have connected with on your page. Did they prefer a customer testimonial over an ad-like post? Did more people comment on the video or the blog teaser? Ask the questions. Consider the answers. Create better content.

Build Community
“At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together, we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”

Instead of an on-message post, share a user-generated meme. Instead of a talking-head video, start a Facebook live feed. Because it’s no longer about being the center of attention. It’s about being a brand who can lead a conversation and invite others to join in. These inputs may be unpolished and spontaneous, but that’s how you bring like-minded people together. By reminding the audience that there are faces behind the logo, we can invite people to become an extension of our brands and part of our online community.

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If you think Zuckerberg’s post is a New Year’s resolution gone viral – it’s not. It’s a return to the original purpose of Facebook – people connecting with people. That’s why brands shouldn’t go looking for the loophole that lets them keep doing what they’ve been doing. Instead, they should embrace this change and use it as an opportunity to be present, funny, vulnerable, compassionate and honest.

Changes are coming. Facebook will be different. It’s gonna get real out there, and this is a chance for your brand to do the same.

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