Facebook’s Changes To The Newsfeed Ushers In A New Opportunity For Real Relationship Building
You probably saw the news from and about Facebook last week…
There will be dramatic changes to what we see in our newsfeed, because in Mark Zuckerberg’s own words, his focus is on “fixing” Facebook.
Working in the digital marketing space, it was no surprise to see a rash of blog posts and experts weighing in on what this change will mean for users, and the brands that depend on Facebook to power their business models. We see those kinds of posts almost quarterly when new announcement are made.
But what was different this time — is that the announcement was made without a lot of build-up (no advance notice to the “pros”) AND I first heard about it on the national news.
Yes, all year long we have been hearing stories about Fake News, Russian intervention in our politics, and a crackdown on clickbait headlines. But this was something different.
This was Facebook itself (in the form of Zuckerberg and his controlling interest) saying… the time we spend on Facebook is likely to get shorter in the coming year, and that is a good thing.
In fact, Zuckerberg seems to be weighing in his legacy of what Facebook means to the world, and how he will explain that to his two young daughters. So this was no idle announcement.
By the way — this article by The Verge is one of the better summaries of what was said and its long term implications for the Tech Giant with the big blue “f”.
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media,” he wrote. “And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg
A Different Take On This Announcement
But I want to talk about something a bit different.
I want to talk about what the potential impact will be on businesses and brands — and in particular, the small to medium sized businesses that we see around us everyday, that make up the fabric of our communities.
The big Fortune 500 brands will be fine. They always look out for themselves and they have the budgets (and the momentum) to keep business rolling.
But this announcement is not unlike the “Slaps” that have literally put multi-million dollar businesses out of the game in the past.
A Slap — By Any Other Name
You’ve probably heard the term “Google Slap” before… and if not you can read more here to see about what it can do to a business.
In a nutshell — it means that somebody saw an advantage and opportunity to build up a significant business by working with a specific tech platform (in this case, Google search results) that made their business thrive.
And then one day — the rules change, and the streams of income dry up, sometimes almost overnight. Which is a problem when you have people to pay, inventory to pay off, and plan for your business. It is like having the rug pulled out from under you.
But this doesn’t just happen with Google. It happens with any of the big platforms where they make quick, and unilateral decisions, because they own the platform and these businesses are dependent on a specific platform.
You hear about this with Amazon, when a seller’s store gets shut down. Or Apple decides to disallow an app in the app store (or even copy and make its own version of the app). Google can turn off nearly all your web traffic. None of it is personal… and that is the point.
Those big tech companies don’t care about “us” — they are extremely protective of the “user experience” but there will be collateral damage along the way.
So What To Do With Facebook Now?
I am not advocating that businesses and brands should give up on Facebook. Far from it. The opportunity to use Facebook in a way that is most beneficial to a business and its customers, just opened up.
Because the changes to the newsfeed (and the projection of less time on Facebook) means that it will become less and less of a haven for advertising.
Less time and space will drive up demand, which will drive up pricing. Big Fortune 500 brands will be able to pay — but Facebook themselves said they are going to give preference to 1) posts from your friends and family; and 2) posts that engage conversations (meaning they produce comments, likes, and shares).
And THAT is the opportunity!
Stop Marketing, Now — And Do This Instead
We are going to see a new focus on real, relationship building — between business owners and their customers.
Consumers are going to see (and feel) this difference, and they are going to become less and less tolerant of buying from folks who are just in it for the transaction.
Attention (the new coin of the realm) is going to go to the businesses that surprise, delight, make people say “Wow!” and factor the lifetime value of the customer relationship.
I like to refer to this as “digital relationship banking” because I like the analogy of thinking about each interaction as being a deposit, or a withdrawal.
Give value to your prospective customers (or existing customers) and you are making a deposit.
Ask of them (pitch an offer or ask to make a sale) and it is a withdrawal.
Withdrawals ONLY happen when there is a positive balance in the relationship account. So businesses better be prepared to give first, and give regularly. Something I like to refer to as the #GiversGet Growth Formula.
An Opportunity Worth Being Excited About
Okay. Everything we have covered so far has been all big picture, macro economics. Now let’s go micro.
For the last several years, I’ve been watching this trend and working with clients on relationship building mechanisms. Many knew this day was coming, but now the policy and business decisions have changed the rules of the game and people are going to start playing differently.
So This Is What I Am Doing
In a prior post here on Medium, I wrote about how you can work with your audience to do your advertising for you. That is a great example of “giving first” to establish a new relationship and give value right up front.
And in this earlier post, I wrote about a unique and one of the most powerful ways of “giving regularly” — which is to build the know, like, and trust with simple, curated newsletters.
Think about what Facebook announced last week. They said 1) we are going to show you more posts from your friends and family; and 2) the brands who you see will either have to pay dearly to reach you, or they will have to be part of a conversation you want to participate in.
THAT is why there has NEVER been a better time to run giveaway contests that reward people with more chances to win, by playing together with their friends. It is a business model MADE for the new Facebook, and yet it builds your email list — which is the only social network NOT controlled by the big tech giants that could put you out of business in a heartbeat.
For my clients and partners, we are now linking the two together in a lead generation, no… not cold, worthless leads but a subscriber generation and audience building approach. Build for fast results, and a long term, reliable asset for your business or organization.
If you would like to see a working example of what I mean and how this works, I am currently running a Giveaway Contest with my best offer — a 30-Day, Done-For-You campaign that will help you reach more people.
Want To Enter And See How It Works?
You can also go directly to enter the contest with this link.
Would A Giveaway Contest Help You Build Your List And Reach New People?
If you would like to talk about running a giveaway contest + curated newsletters, to grow your list, reach new people, and do it in a fun and compelling way — you can reach out to me at tobin [at] tobin slaven [dot] com.