Facebook started 2015 by making major changes to the types of content it would allow on News Feeds. At first, many businesses went into panic mode trying to figure out how the changes would affect them and their bottom line.
But the world’s biggest social media platform wasn’t trying to make life harder for companies and small businesses. It was attempting to make the experience of Facebook better for users.
More recently Facebook announced that it would be partnering with major media companies to host their content directly on the social media network.
It’s All For You
Instead of users clicking a link that takes them away from the Facebook.com, the network plans to start using its platform to publish news coverage from top-tier media outlets, like the New York Times and National Geographic. Buzzfeed will also reportedly be included in the initial testing.
For users, this would make for a faster browsing experience – shaving off those few seconds between a click and waiting for content to load is a major plus for Facebook, particularly as the platform struggles against declining traffic.
The benefits are less clear for small business and companies that create content for Facebook, and depend on the platform to reach target audiences and generate leads.
What This Means
As of right now, it’s business as usual, but experts are predicting that if this new model becomes the norm on Facebook, content developers who don’t participate could see their traffic drop dramatically.
If this experiment goes well for Facebook, they would have a monopoly on content published to an audience of 1.4 billion [and growing], and would wield control over whose content gets seen – even to the most niche audiences and groups.
This would also mean that with this model, Facebook would be the first – and biggest – social media platform to turn content marketing on its head. Companies and small businesses would have to find new ways to connect to their audience, maybe by changing their overall social media strategy just for Facebook.
And as pointed out by the New York Times, this would also mean that the consumer data that in the past, would have been available to publishers of content, would be exclusively available to Facebook. And of course, with that control the company could decide whether or not to hand whatever analytical data over to publishers of that content.
So What To Do?
If you publish content on social media, and Facebook is part of your content and social media marketing strategy, there are a few ways to approach content development that can help you navigate the coming changes to how social media is done on any platform, but especially Facebook.
The approaches are pretty basic, but Facebook’s plans can serve as a reminder to anyone who publishes content online of some very basic rules.
- Don’t create any content that’s designed to serve you. This includes writing to get traffic, sales or subscribers. If you have information to share that is useful to a specific group of people, use that information to create your content. The people who find it useful will continually come back to you for useful information.
- Get used to the idea that people will use, share, repurpose and reuse your content. If you are publishing content that’s useful, your audience wants it and they’ll do what they want with it. Most people know enough to at least reference the source of that content. But considering Facebook’s plans, people could start looking at all content differently.
- Start thinking like a big content marketer or social media platform. The whole idea behind Facebook’s approach is to get users to spend more time on their site. But there’s no reason why you can’t start thinking of ways to draw in and keep the traffic going to your site, content and social media profiles. Publishing content that is easy to read, look at, and readily accessible on mobile devices is a first step to keeping the traffic you get.
Facebook has been making big changes to its platform to try and get users to log in and stay logged in. For companies and businesses that create content, these changes could mean big differences in how information is published and shared.
But content development best practices can help content creators navigate those changes without losing sight of their end goals.