How the Coming Changes to Facebook Will Affect Your Business

Facebook Affect
Remember life before Facebook? It was a simpler time: children played outdoors, Volkswagen diesel products were clean and democratic election’s went without interference. More or less. Today Facebook has become such a cornerstone of our day-to-day life that it’s almost impossible to imagine what life would look like without it. For many if us it has replaced community centers, churches, even the water-cooler as the go-to place to interact with our family and friends. But with one major difference: Facebook is a for-profit business. That means that Facebook is constantly evaluating their return-on-investment, making changes to help their bottom-line. This has been…problematic to say the least.

Where The Money Comes From

Like their contemporaries at Google, Facebook generates their revenue from advertising. Their success at selling advertising is tied directly to the amount of their users personal information they can provide to advertisers. Every time you ‘like’ something, every interaction you have, every form you fill-out, you’re providing valuable psycho-demographic data that advertisers pay good money to benefit from. This allows for advertising that’s incredibly well targeted, focusing on users based on demographics, interests, even location. Why’s this a problem? Well…
But if even something as monolithic as Britain’s National Health Service can be vulnerable, what chance do we have to be protect ourselves.
The answer there is complexity.
It turns out that not only brands can use that information to target their message. Foreign agents with a political agenda saw an opportunity to create a massive disruption in the 2016 US federal election. Having access to the political views of millions of American Facebook users allowed these agents (we’re not going to say it was the Russians, but it was totally the Russians) to propagate targeted messages that spread disinformation and undercut the veracity of established media. Facebook tried to downplay their culpability, before admitting their role. So what next?

Change Is Coming

Well, yeah, but change is always occurring. In 2016 Facebook made a dramatic change to their algorithm that saw the devaluing of ‘likes’, the prioritization of video content and an increase in sponsored posts. The changes coming this year promise to be even more disruptive. Facebook has yet to announce what these changes will look like, but have indicated what direction they’re planning on going. And, from what we can see, they won’t favor small businesses.

Family. Friends & Sponsors.

The underlying philosophy guiding these coming changes is that Facebook wants to create more user-to-user interactions. They want to create an environment that encourages users posting more valuable content for other users. User content that creates interactions will then have more value and, therefore, be more likely to be in your timeline. Expect to see more links showing who you’re friends follow. This will likely be expanded to show their interactions as a way of encouraging user participation. Posts from businesses, brands and publishers, on the other hand, will be less valued. You can expect to see less of these. Unless, of course, they’re paying.

Pay To Play

While Facebook does want change, they also want to protect their profit. Therefore, advertisers will continue to have a shortcut into your timeline. This will allow larger brands to pay for their influence, while smaller businesses and not-for-profits, lacking the spending power, will find their presence drastically reduced. The ability to directly interact with customers will be directly affected by the ability to get in front of the customers. Less presence means less interactions means less presence.

What Next?

On the surface it seems that this will create more of an echo chamber, not less. As interactions beget interactions, influencers and sponsors will be prioritized, creating more visibility and occupying more newsfeed real-estate. It can be assumed, however, that as Facebook is currently under a microscope in regards to their influence, they will continue to tweak and adjust their algorithm as these changes are put into practice.

How Small Businesses Can Survive These Facebook Changes

First of all, diversify your marketing tactics. Depending on one on-line platform for your reach puts you at the mercy of other’s decisions. The second thing to do is make sure you’re posting valuable content. If you can create posts that your followers will engage with, you have a way into the newsfeed. As well, engage with others. Don’t wait for them to come to you, but go out and find your customers and interact with them. If interactions are to be the currency going forward, invest in them. Make engagement your goal and create value with everything you post. Your likelihood of maintaining presence after these changes have been made will depend entirely on maintaining interactions with your customers. Which may not be a bad thing. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, let us know. We’re always here to help.
Facebook Affect
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IT Company Firm

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