As we transition from one season (aka fiscal quarter) to the next we like to inform SMBs about recent updates to the online tools they use to drive business. We issued an article regarding recent Google news but now we switch focus to another customer acquisition channel – social media. Facebook in particular has made some notable moves over the last few weeks. Some require you to be more thoughtful with your content strategy, while some present you with new opportunities to better engage prospective customers. Will you be ready to adapt and take advantage in time for the summer?
3 Recent Facebook Updates That Your Business Needs to Know About (and Adapt to) in Time for the Summer of 2021
Users Asked to Read Content Before Sharing
In the second week of May, Facebook announced a new feature that intends to promote more informed sharing of articles on the platform. They are currently testing a solution that is designed to encourage users to actually read articles before sharing them with their network.
How does this impact the way you produce and post content?
It will need to be more engaging, and easy to read. Otherwise users will not take the time to follow Facebook’s prompt, and may simply opt out of their initial desire to share the content. In the past, an eye-catching headline and featured image may have been enough to get them to share with their peers. But moving forward, they will be asked to reconsider and first read the content. So in addition to your eye-catching headlines and images, be sure to structure the articles with headings (to segment new ideas and paragraphs) so that users can quickly review and digest the key points of your content (similar this very article). They may not read all 600-1200 words, but they will review the main points when represented via clear and structured headings. This may be all it takes to get them to share the content with their network.
Ultimately, this is a great update because it encourages your content production team to step up their game and make your articles and press releases more interesting and easier to digest. It’s time to lose the traditional “white-paper” mentality because it simply doesn’t fly on Facebook.
Cracking Down on Copyright Infringement
On May 19 Facebook announced that they were getting tougher on counterfeit or copyright-related violations by removing violating posts proactively. We’ll assume that you’re not in the counterfeiting business, and will instead address the concerns about copyright-related violations:
“On Facebook, 77.9% of all copyright-related removals were done proactively, accounting for 9,822,070 pieces of content. On Instagram, 59% of all copyright-related removals were done proactively, accounting for 2,170,529 pieces of content.”
This is a tricky one. Facebook users are encouraged to share the content of others. That’s essentially how this whole “social sharing” thing works. However, content creators are not always enthused about this practice, even if credit is endemically given by Facebook’s built-in share feature. Their lack of enthusiasm is more likely to occur when a business shares their content, rather than a person. You’d think they’d be honored, but as they see it, you’re just piggybacking off of their work for your gain. Heck, the World Surf League (WSL) recently claimed copyright infringement against a well-known surfboard shaper who shared a WSL video (on Facebook’s Instagram) of one of the athletes he sponsors after she made a history-making move to win a contest. If a surf league won’t play nice, who will?
Moving forward, we encourage you (acting as a Business Page) to ask before sharing content created by others. But ultimately, the best practice is to be the one who creates great and sharable content. Once again, your call-to-action is to do just that. If you don’t have the in-house capabilities to write articles, shoot/edit photos and videos, and design graphics (i.e. infographics, memes, etc.) then you will need to outsource accordingly.
What we’re seeing here, is a move by Facebook to encourage businesses to create, and not curate.
Introducing Facebook Neighborhoods
Facebook is taking a page from (and expanding upon) the old Google Local model and is introducing Facebook Neighborhoods. This summer (and beyond) Neighborhoods will serve as a dedicated space within the app that has been designed to help users connect with real people and events in their local community. More importantly (for you) it will help them discover places and businesses nearby.
There will be a Recommendations feature in Neighborhoods that will allow users to get suggestions about the best local businesses (eateries, shops, Realtors, health services, etc.) from their local community. It will also include a Neighborhoods Favorite Polls feature that allows those in the community to vote on their favorite places and businesses in the area.
This is a big opportunity for local businesses. But your business must be more active than ever on Facebook, and engage local users as much as possible with amazing content and exciting new offers. You want the local Facebook community feeling great about your business as this feature is launched on the platform. Given that you’re working on a relatively short timeline, now is a good time to consider paid Facebook Ads. With Ads, you can set your geographic targets to the neighborhoods that your local business serves (as applicable). In addition, ask happy customers that visited your brick and mortar to leave a Facebook Review as this will help improve your exposure within the Neighborhoods app. The more you encourage customers to connect their experience with your local business with their activity on Facebook, the more you can capitalize on this exciting new feature. Stay tuned for more as it rolls out across Canada this summer.
Need help with your Facebook marketing plan? Contact Strategis Consulting Group today.