With the reigns of privacy being pulled tighter and tighter on Facebook, our job is continuously getting more and more challenging. Gone are the days that we could target particular customers based on how much they earn or their employment status, and due to Facebook’s release of it’s newest anti-discrimination policy (which, ethically, was a great move Facebook, well done!), Ads Manager now has 5000 less targeting possibilities (Perez, 2018). Whilst this is great as a consumer, our job continues to get harder and harder. Moving forward, our strategies need to be adaptable and tailored to the platform that is moving towards building a safe and trustworthy digital space (Sherr, 2019).
In his announcement at Facebook’s F8 conference earlier this year, Zuckerberg identified six specific areas that he was going to focus on growing on the platform (Statt, 2019). Although it’s taken him a while to get on board with the idea of tightening privacy and honing in on community-focused engagement, it’s been refreshing to see him slowly rolling out new strategies to implement these this year. At the beginning of the year, we saw him warn us that content from brands and businesses are clogging up newsfeed space, which has meant that there is now a higher emphasis on family & friend’s posts, leaving less room for our perfectly curated and exceptionally made marketing content!
The six areas we saw him talk about at the F8 conference were:
Group & Community Focus
Shipping Ability for Facebook Marketplace
Prioritising Video Content
A Meet New Friends Feature
A Larger Emphasis on Messenger
Again, we don’t need to think bigger or smarter or different as marketers, we just need to think more like Zuck and more like our customers. One of the biggest things we preach is knowing your audience (read all about it here), and this is no exception. We now need to connect with our audience on a personal level, understanding where they’re at and meeting them there. Social proof has never been so important to your marketing strategy, because with family and friends’ posts getting prime real estate in your customers’ newsfeeds, you want them to be your middle man, to be recommending you, so that you do less ‘marketing’ and more ‘engagement’ (we also preach about engagement).
Zuck also talks about groups and communities. If your business doesn’t have a group or isn’t involved in a group(s), then you’re missing out on connecting with your audience in their own communities (or natural habitat, if you will). Taking part in discussions within groups (assuming your being a genuine, real human), allows you to showcase your value, establish rapport, and develop relationships, which are all essential to the purchasing process. If your customers aren’t going to see you in their newsfeed, they’re going to want to see you doing your thing in the communities they’re already in (Lee, 2015).
Facebook is not the be all and end all of marketing, but it does play a huge part in what we do on a day-to-day basis. What we’ve come to realise is that Mark Zuckerberg’s responses to all of Facebook’s privacy threats have been considered and well thought out, leaving room for our customers to keep their privacy and giving us opportunity to connect with them on a personal level, because at the end of the day, social media is about being social. The Cambridge Analytica episode was a good reminder that everything we do online is accessible to someone, somewhere, and thus our guard should be up when allowing access to any of our information, but it also allowed Zuck and the Facebook platform to up their privacy levels, and open different channels for personal connection. With this in mind, and our trusty notes about the latest statements from Facebook’s F8 Conference, moving forward our strategies need to be flexible, adaptable, and most of all personal, to be able to reach our target audience in a less intrusive, more inviting way.