The update to Facebook announced last week Thursday (January 18) will not lay waste to the time, effort and money spent by brands on creating and curating a presence on the social media channel.
Instead, the world only came to a slight halt and marketers were jolted out of their seats as Zuckerberg quietly announced his plans.
That’s the opinion of Hellocomputer Joburg’s Head of Social, Ashleigh Burton, who admitted to being excited by the changes if “it means we get back to using social media to spark conversations and move away from simply wanting eyeballs.”Facebook announced a major update that will put friends and family above pages or celebrities in a user’s news feed — and likely result in people spending less time on the leading social network.
“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,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” he said in a post at his Facebook page. “And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
But what are the implications for brands in all this?
“First, let’s be honest, organic reach was already dead and this move by Facebook only solidifies that. In fact, one of the key opportunities for brands Hellocomputer has mapped out for 2018 lies in finding sustainable solutions to declining organic reach,” said Burton.
“One of the first implications of the change is that clients and the brands they manage must expect short term decreases in their reach, video watch time and referral traffic until they have adjusted to account for what their consumers really want to see.
“Another implication is that brands will need to invest in and prioritise engagement; this is the key metric for Facebook and suggests that brands will need to invest in community management and building a true community that wants to engage with them.
“This might necessitate change when it comes to the people brands put at the front line of their communications – in the new Facebook reality, community management cannot be left to interns.
“A further implication is that our reporting metrics may alter as we move to focus on drawing reactions, driving shares and prompting conversations.
“And, as a result the content brands will develop will evolve away from ‘like, comment, share’ posts which will be demoted down the feed to that which, for example, utilises live video which – on average – get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” she said.
“In short,” summarised Hellocomputer Joburg head of Strategy Bongi Mvuyana, “we’re going to move into a space where Facebook is no longer a tick-box on our digital strategies. Understanding the audience on a deeper level when creating meaningful content is going to play a big role in achieving relevance. This also means the rest of a brand’s digital ecosystem must work hard to deliver cohesive omni-channel experiences that keep consumers connected and loyal to the brand.
“With respect to ads and boosted posts, for now, the change doesn’t affect ads but will affect boosted posts. This makes it crucial to keep a close eye on page performance and update media budgets accordingly.”