Facing forward without Facebook


Friday, January 26, 2018

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There has been an uproar in the marketing world, as Facebook recently announced changes to the way ads will be presented in the newsfeeds of the now 2.07 billion monthly active users.

They have decided to commit, more significantly, to bringing Facebook back to being a place where friends and family connect, as opposed to what some claim it has now become – a social network full of content from businesses and companies trying to get us to watch, read or buy their products. In addition, the fake news epidemic has only helped to exacerbate the urgency to address these issues.

Another concern has come amidst the now numerous studies examining how Facebook affects relationships, increases loneliness and maybe even depression.

In a long Facebook post to his page Mark Zuckerberg explained that, “We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us...But 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.

“...we're making a major change to how we build Facebook. 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,” he continued.

But what does this mean for businesses and marketers who have pages of thousands of followers, and who also use Facebook for a significant part of their marketing and promotional efforts by running ads on the platform?

Here are a few of my predictions and how to address them...

1. Ad space will become more expensive.

If Facebook plans to once again reduce what people see, that would therefore suggest that to be seen would become more of a 'premium'. Therefore, ad space will become more expensive. This could also mean that Facebook could lose its position as the best place to run cheap, effective ads.

2. Facebook will become stricter on monitoring content.

To tackle the cases of fake news, Facebook may also become stricter on what they will sanction as ads. Some ads and content that once slipped through the radar may now be more heavily scrutinised.

3. It could also mean that locations that were once 'low-cost advertising space' may actually increase in value. For instance, the bar to the right is usually an area where the top Facebook advertisers tell us not to waste too much time or money. We are often encouraged to keep ads in the newsfeed for better viewing. However, if Facebook will now be reserving the newsfeed for mostly family and friends, then… that right hand bar may become the best place to be seen after all.

So now that we know this...what should you do?


Now your content truly has to wow and stand out on its own. Great copy and amazing pictures will have to become the standard. But, not only great content, content that engages your audience, facilitates discussion, encourages interaction and brings people together.


Stick to Facebook's rules. Make sure that photos posted are the correct size, that there isn't too much text, that the language is correct. Give the 'online ad gods' no possible reason to penalise the ads or content you do post.


Now is definitely the time to diversify. It may be hard, but if you have only been focusing on Facebook, now is the time to start putting some time and effort into other social media platforms.

Try Instagram, Twitter or even Google ads and SEO. Instagram has never been directed at only family and friends, therefore, I doubt Facebook will extend their new changes to Instagram as well (Facebook also owns Instagram). Google essentially controls search on the web, and so will always have relevance, so they are also a great option. You can focus on inbound marketing and maybe even include email marketing.

Whatever you do... don't just do Facebook.


The truth is that, as with all things Facebook, there really is no guarantee. So all the scary speculation marketers and websites are sharing could also be grossly over exaggerated – or wrong. So try your strategy and carefully observe your results, then tweak and make corrections as necessary. Does it seem that people really are responding less to your ads and content? Try a new technique, if not, keep doing what you are currently doing until you notice a decline.

In conclusion, don't give in to the panic just yet – be creative and cognisant, aware of what's changing and constantly thinking of new solutions. However, also remain observant, carefully monitoring your strategy and results for correlations between changes. Always be ready to make adjustments.

Hanniffa Patterson is a communications professional and social media strategist who helps businesses to navigate the world of social media. She has taught social media for business in universities in Jamaica and Paris. She also offers consulting, workshops and in-office training.




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