Upcoming Facebook changes. Is Facebook Dead for Marketers?

Is Facebook dead?

What will you do? Stay or go?

There have been massive changes to Facebook over the past few years, and even more so since I started using this platform in 2006. Way back then it was so easy to get people to like your page or profile, see massive engagement and generate leads and sales, you basically had to post something and it grew wings and created magic for you.

As a business owner and Social Media Trainer, I must admit that in 2015 I was struggling with the changes and getting any real organic viewing and growth. Then in 2016 Facebook announced the Live streaming tool. I was super excited and saw the massive opportunity to reach so many of my clients organically and my faith in the platform was reignited.

We then saw the release of messenger bots, this was the icing on the cake. I saw massive opportunity to grow a list with little effort and using the bots. With the live feature, we were set with a recipe for success….then….

Upcoming Facebook changes

At the F8 Conference held on the 1st May 2019, Mark Zuckerberg announced a number of changes and some of these included:

  • Facebook redesignThis has now surfaced with the traditional blue being removed, updated apps on both mobile and desktop and the layout looks cleaner. The shift in the layout is to take the consumer from the public places to the private sectors. (The Future of Facebook is PRIVATE.)
  • A massive shift to groupsEach element has its owned defined tab including groups. Groups have reduced their category section to only general, health and well being, and Job Groups. Within each of these groups, they will have their own features and benefits (tools). Facebook is encouraging us to use groups. This is not new. However, many business owners still cannot see the massive benefit of having a group for their clients and customers.
  • Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp & InstagramFacebook is looking at adding the ability to be able to communicate across these 3 platforms without having the actual app. Going fro from one to another platform with ease. Facebook is adding a super fast lighter app for Messenger, a way to watch videos together from Facebook inside the Messenger app, a Desktop app for Messenger, the ability to have group calls, video calls, screen sharing, multi-tasking while chatting and lead generation tools to ads for businesses to connect to customers.
  • Facebook DatingCurrently being rolled out to 14 countries in addition to the 5 that already have this update. Facebook Dating will have its own dedicated profile. This profile can secretly hint that they are interested in another person on that app, if that person is interested then Facebook will connect the two. Users can select up to 9 other profiles they have a secret crush on. It’s very similar to the Tinder app. However, this is with friends you may be interested in becoming more than friends. I suppose the odds are for you if you are single 😉
  • Facebook MarketplaceThis is exciting, Facebook has announced new shipping options for items placed in the marketplace feed. Marketplace is only available in the US currently. It allows the consumer to purchase and pay for the items right in Marketplace.
  • Facebook Events tab updatedAllows users to see more of what is happening around them, (like the Facebook local app) and gives recommendations to those users.
  • Facebook Portal(I had no idea what this was until the update), this is the Facebook alternative or competition to Alexa and Google home. I must say though I am liking what the Portal can do as far as a communication tool. Along with Portal, they are releasing an augmented reality app. But I’m not sure what that will look like as yet.

After these changes and updates were released, I was thinking this is great for the consumer. Where are the information and updates for the Creators (Business page owners and marketers)? Facebook didn’t announce anything around live videos, the watch platform, advertising, Business pages, etc.

What is the future of Facebook marketing?

I was really started to wonder what the future of Facebook Marketing is going to look like. I have my prediction. As we know stories will be the major focus of the news-feed as there are rumors around the Facebook news-feed as we know it is being removed by the end of the year.

The question still remains how and who will see our content as business owners? What content will you create? What will your strategy be and will it be worth it? Will anyone see our content?

My head was spinning with these thoughts and frantically trying to research more information. Never-the-less there weren’t anymore. But May 6th, Facebook released an update for the ranking of live videos.

Finally, I felt at ease, well, not really. However, I felt that Facebook hadn’t forgotten us, the business page owners and our hope for the organic reach. The updated stated that to rank a live video on Facebook you need to address these criteria:

  1. Loyalty & intentViewership will be important to rank your videos. Facebook will add more weight to videos that people seek out and return to on a regular basis to watch.
  2. Repeat and ReviewIt will be important to capture the viewer’s attention for at least one minute. There will be more weight in ranking if the viewers stay engaged for longer i.e. 3 minutes.
  3. OriginalityVideo content must be original and not re-purposed content from other sites (links from outside of Facebook). Facebook will demote videos that are not original. As well as demote video content that is from pages involved in sharing schemes.

Ok, great, then the question pops up. How do we ensure our viewers will be able to find us? How do we engage them for the first minute?

With all these updates and very little mention of businesses and how we will be able to use a social media platform that is dedicated to PRIVATE communications, it will be hard for business owners to reach their audience as they have had in the past.

Statistics indicate that over the last 12 months marketers are leaving Facebook and become diversified in their marketing efforts. This was instigated on the 11th January 2018 when Facebook announced the massive algorithm updates. Marketers and small business owners are finally seeing the result from this and wondering what to do next. Well, the smart ones are.

What are we going to do?

I personally will not be putting as much effort into Facebook as I have had in the past. However, my strategy will still use the Facebook Live feature.

I have had success using live videos and I know that only a small percentage of business owners are using this tool. This means there still is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

Followed by using the stories feature (the new news feed) to drive the audience back to my Facebook Business page, where they will see the live video and some other content.

I believe by starting now with this strategy or similar will give you an advantage whilst others are still working out what is happening to their organic reach.

We will have to wait and look at the insights to see what actual reach and the updated ranking algorithm will do. And if it’s worth working with a platform dedicated to Private Messaging.

I also feel that the consumer will have to search for our business (maybe similar to Google search). They may search for us, find our page or comment from the stories features which will prompt a personal message, somehow I feel that this will allow the opportunity to connect and build rapport instantly with your potential client or customer.

We are struggling as marketers. We have seen massive changes. A recent poll with Social Media Examiner 77% of marketers state that Facebook is harder now to use as a tool for marketing to gain organic reach.

Facebook F8 2019 Summary

Is Facebook dead?

If the future of Facebook is private and the future of marketing organically with any sort of reach on Facebook as a business owner is dead, then how will you use the platform? Will you diversify across to other social media platforms, or will you give continue to work with this platform?

Personally, I am excited about the future of Facebook being private. I have never, on a personal level, enjoyed the exposure of my profile and what others were sharing.

I feel this will provide a strong place for family and friends to connect and chat without the fear of random comments and threads of negativity.

However, as a business owner and trainer, I see my strategy as I previously stated above and increasing the budget for my ad campaigns. I must state that I will be diversifying and using other strategies and platforms to reach my potential clients. I will not be putting all my eggs into the Facebook basket.

What do you think you will do? Let me know in the comments!