Social Media Marketing: What’s New From Facebook?
As we fire up our workstations for the first week of 2016, we’re seeing plenty of reports of changes coming down the pike to everybody’s favorite social media platform – Facebook. With that in mind, we’re recommending that business owners set a marketing resolution to start the year off with a renewed social strategy.
Facebook is currently testing two new features that are sure to change the way social marketers approach their game plans. The first is a mobile-only function that will allow users to view multiple, topic-based feeds in lieu of the singular News Feed…
Multiple News Feeds
This is sort of an evolution of Facebook’s test of topic-based feeds that it experimented with in October. The mobile app automatically sorts posts from the people and pages that users follow and sticks them into individual sections, or feeds. The familiar News Feed is still there, but sub-feeds like Travel, Headlines, and Style are accessible with a swipe.
As more people have come to use Facebook as a primary hub for sharing and searching for news items that interest them, it should come as no surprise that the social network is adapting its platform to an almost newspaper format. For businesses, this could open up more targeted advertising opportunities, though we’re skeptical whether it will increase organic reach for posts that don’t have some cash boosting them into your followers’ feeds.
While the multiple news feed format will help organize the 1,500 potential stories you might see any time you log in, there’s still so much content out there, and not everybody is going to fit in that top spot. That’s one of the main reasons why Facebook started encouraging businesses to “boost” their posts with money in order to compete for those top spots.
They also tweaked their organic algorithm to ensure you see only the stories that are most relevant to you based on your Likes, Shares, Follows, and all of that good stuff. With all of those variables in play, any organic post is likely to reach only 1% of a company’s followers at best. That’s old news, but it bears repeating, because Facebook insists it isn’t a money grab. Do we believe them?
There’s no sign as to when the multiple news feed element will roll out, or if it will even be ready to go in 2016. Needless to say, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this function to stay on top of how this can help benefit our clients.
Local Business Reviews
The second new feature Facebook is testing would allow users to search for local businesses and view reviews and ratings. This is a desktop-only feature, as the mobile app already has the Nearby Places function. Check it out here.
In a statement reported by USA Today, Facebook spokesman Mike Manning said, “We’re in the early stages of testing a way for people to easily find more Pages for the services they’re interested in.” USA Today reports that there are more than 50 million business pages currently on Facebook.
This could be a very interesting development for businesses that have been having a tough time navigating the aforementioned organic algorithm. By allowing users to search for a business’ page by name, or by combing through different categories, or by specific services, suddenly businesses don’t have to be solely reliant on organic posts reaching their target audience.
And while boosted posts and sponsored ads will still be the best solutions to get your brand in front of your customers, this could prove to be a nice complement. This does, however, put Facebook in direct competition with other business listing directories, like Yelp and Manta.
It will be interesting to see what ways Facebook allows businesses to optimize their Company Profiles to show up above their competitors in the search results. No doubt Likes and ratings will play a pretty big role with that, so reserving some ad money for a few Like campaigns in 2016 wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Live in the Moment
Remember that Oreo Tweet we talked about in our Disruptive Marketing blog? Well, that kind of ‘in the moment’ social posting is only going to get more…um…in-the-momentier.
Social media is already about beating people to the punch. But with Instagram and Snapchat consistently gaining popularity, and Twitter acquiring Periscope – allowing users to share their live video broadcasts over their Twitter feeds – immediacy is going to be the name of the game. If…scratch that, when this in-the-moment posting strategy catches on, even grandpa won’t be scheduling social posts in advance.
That being said, when social-worthy news is happening, break it!