Facebook made a major and incredible announcement last night regarding what they will show folks in their news feeds in the near future.  According to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s focus will now be on “making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent”, putting “friends and family at the core of the experience”.  From a goodwill perspective, that’s incredible!  I love it!  This means that our Facebook news feed will show less from news, businesses and sponsors in general and more from those individuals and “communities” we are “interested” and “interact” with.

However, this unprecedented move by the social media giant, is likely to hit its bottom line in terms of investors and the share of the time folks spend on the social media channel… at least in the short term.  Then what about the many, many businesses that hinge their marketing on Facebook? As a digital marketing consultant to business, my heart sank a bit when I read the news.  What will our clients do if they can’t use Facebook as an effective marketing tool?

Well… after giving it a little thought, I realized that this is actually a good thing for businesses in the long run.

Facebook business pages are not going away.  However, they will be transformed. Gone are the days of just sharing news articles and photos for the purposes of “looking” like your active.  Businesses will be forced to build stronger relationships with their target audiences on Facebook by building communities and sharing relevant and interesting information. This is what the Facebook business pages were meant for in the first place.  It’s just gotten out of hand.   I had a feeling that something like this was coming when I started noticing the “community” feature showing up on my business pages a few weeks ago… along with their encouragement to link communities and pages with groups.  It’s starting to make sense, now. 

In an email message sent to major publishers yesterday by Facebook’s PR person, Campbell Brown, it states that Facebook will “prioritize posts” in an individual’s news feed “that spark conversations and inspire meaningful interactions”.  Facebook has become too cluttered with meaningless ads, videos and irrelevant content and it’s driving users to seek other social media channels such as Snapchat and Instagram (also owned by Facebook) instead.  It’s time to keep it real!

Businesses will need to be even more strategic than in the past and use their business pages to build meaningful relationships with fans, clients and prospects…  build communities around a brand and nurture those as if they were family or close friends.  Business owners and representatives will need to put themselves “out there” more and become the face of their brand in order to encourage real social engagement.   After all, social media IS “social” and from the beginning of time, folks have always gravitated towards doing business with folks they know and like. Facebook remains a great venue for building those relationships.

Aside from this, businesses will continue to thrive on Facebook through the use of paid advertising.  I don’t see this going anywhere soon, as Facebook still has to please investors with revenue… which comes from ads.   Done effectively, Facebook ad campaigns can help business grow and thrive!

For our clients, we will shift our social media strategies to incorporate these changes with things such as live video strategies, effective advertising campaigns and engaging content!

For your reference, the announcement was made in a post by Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571