George Bernard Shaw is credited with saying, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Well, Mark Zuckerberg has decided to flip the script on Facebook and challenge how businesses can most effectively promote their goods and services on social media.

What does this mean for your brand’s social media strategy?

Turn and Face the Strange Changes…

Sure, human beings generally rail against change, regardless of David Bowie; after all, change is hard. But in this case, we applaud Zuckerberg’s finesse of Facebook in defense of the values it claims to protect: families and friends.

According to Zuckerberg’s own Facebook page, “We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.”

There is no need to launch into an exhaustive analysis of the criticisms that Facebook has drawn practically since its inception. A popular argument goes that our connected age has resulted in relationships that are actually more disconnected than ever.

As Zuckerberg explains, “…recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.”

In order to better understand these changes and what they really mean, I asked Waypoint Writing’s own expert collaborator, Branding and PR Specialist, Kristin Hardwick, how these changes will impact your social media strategy when it comes to staking your spot and promoting your business on Facebook.

Understanding the Latest Changes to Facebook

A quick rundown of Facebook’s latest changes includes the following:

  • Facebook will now give preferential placement and visibility to personal accounts. The business accounts that receive better treatment are those that represent an authentic connection and communication with friends and family. In other words, engage with your audience in a meaningful way, true to your brand, and you’ll be rewarded with better exposure.

Or, as Zuckerberg advises, “As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

The takeaway?

Authentic engagement = exposure.

Perhaps, not surprisingly, small businesses — and those with a personal brand — are in way better shape to benefit from these Facebook changes. Corporations will likely have a harder time with organic reach unless they shift to a strategy that is more personal.

The emphasis, in other words, is on authenticity over advertisements.

Zuckerberg says, “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.”

From a marketing standpoint, this translates to considerable opportunity.

If you ask Kristin — and I did — “The people who are going to come out on top are those people who realize that humans want to know who they’re doing business with. They want to see behind the scenes. They want to see the story.”

3 Suggestions to Sharpen Your Social Media Strategy and Better Broadcast Your Story

When I asked Kristin what small businesses could do to benefit from Facebook’s new position, she determined the following three social media marketing suggestions:

  1. Dare to share behind the scenes of your process as a business owner and business. How does your brand really operate? What does it take to realize success in your realm? And what does it look like when you do? Better yet — be brave enough to admit defeat. Share a moment that didn’t measure up to your expectations. How did you handle it? What were some highlights of that particular low?
  2. Consider who’s working for you. Does your audience know the brains behind your brand? Has your audience connected with anyone in your business, aside from the rote or expected transaction? Who are your storytellers? And what story are they telling?
  3. What does your audience think of your brand? Your product? Your service? Soliciting authentic feedback represents the kind of meaningful exchange that Facebook is now motivated to foster.

After recognizing the need to redefine the role and value of technology, Facebook is determined to recast its position as something that enhances, rather than detracts, from our real-time relationships with our friends and families.

Rather than separate us, Facebook is now looking to transcend cyber-boundaries and connect us in ways that translate with a more human quality.

Zuckerberg reflects, “At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.”

What will this mean for Facebook advertising strategies?

Stay tuned… later this week, we’ll detail some expert analyses and advice from Waypoint Writing’s latest collaborator, Facebook Advertising Specialist, Teddy Myers.

 

Facebook Flipped the Script – What Does this Mean for Your Brand?

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