Most of us who spend any significant amount of time on Facebook can tell that the media, social habits, and content found on the platform has changed significantly over the past few years. While very significant for personal profiles, where users are often asked to add coworkers and bosses, as well as close family including their parents and grandmothers, this shift from open public sharing to more private media sharing is an important one for businesses as well.
Four years ago, your boss probably didn’t have Facebook, and if he did, he probably didn’t want you on it. Today, companies often ask to look at your profile, sometimes from your account, before they will hire you. That puts a huge amount of pressure on users to control what they share, how they share it, and when they do. And the result, Facebook isn’t really about social sharing anymore, it’s more of a media gathering network, where people check up on events, play games, check into their favorite pages, and even check the news. Independent studies by Bloomberg and the Independent each confirm that Facebook’s social sharing has dropped by 21% since mid-2015, despite Facebook’s efforts to increase it through additions of trending topics, on this day, and new sharing features. Facebook is also working on the Facebook Live feature, which is available to celebrities and brands for now, but could soon be available to regular users.
Instead, social conversations are moving off of Facebook and into private chat. And that has a lot of repercussions for business owners.
Less Social Sharing – More Content
Less social sharing means that more people are less likely to share personal information. This means you will see fewer “I’m at a party” posts and likely very few “I missed the bus” notifications. This means that users are less likely to share products, giveaways, and sales from brands, simply because it says something about them as a person. Instead, users are sharing content, which has positive repercussions for businesses who create content. Where sales and giveaways are less shareable, facts, inspirational photos, and how-to’s, articles, or other information that offers value to the reader is significantly more shareable. Because Facebook is quickly becoming a place where social circles integrate into each other, users want to establish personal information authority, even if it’s just on sharing great photos of the food they cook. While not everyone has these concerns, Facebook’s changing trends definitely point in this direction.
What This Means For You – Use informative posts along with pictures, offer tips and advice, and give your followers information that will make them feel special, informed, or like they should pass this on to their network. The focus is on value, and on information authority.
More and more users are moving away from posting on their wall and into private chat, where they can have conversations without worrying about their boss, or future boss seeing them. This is also translating towards businesses. For example, Facebook is now integrating a QR code program that pages can use to share their social media chat with their followers, to allow for faster conversations, customer service, or other chat.
It also means that it’s easier to get people talking about your brand. Where it’s fairly difficult to get people to discuss your brand on their public wall, it’s significantly easier to get them to share a photo directly to a friend’s Messenger inbox, and that’s a function Facebook offers. Using calls to action to remind users about sharing with friends can be helpful, but don’t overdo it, or you might sound repetitive. Most importantly, if you’re sharing informative or fun content, you probably won’t need to ask.
While the conversation is most definitely moving off of Facebook, the platform isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, many people use it to sign up to dozens of other applications, so it’s literally part of their lives. Changing Facebook norms do require different strategies, and you should adapt yours to meet the needs and wants of your followers.
Great social management can improve your business, and your return on investment. If you need a professional Seattle social media manager, contact Rory Martin for a quote on your social pages.