It’s difficult to escape the Zuckerrealm. Even if you’re one of the few brands that can’t find its target on Facebook, it is hard to ignore a platform that has evolved so elegantly for over a decade. Facebook was by no means the first social platform, nor is it necessarily “the best” for your brand, but the amount of data analysis that occurs behind the screens at Facebook headquarters can be used by all marketers when it comes to keeping tabs new technology and social channel trends. When Facebook acquires a new company or releases a new feature, marketers should pause, take stock of this new Facebook development and use it to adjust their social or digital content strategies.
We don’t recommend that all brands have a Facebook presence, we tend to do the opposite. Even though 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases, We advise clients to stay away from any social platform they cannot properly maintain or isn’t integral to the day-to-day life of their target audience. This means “no Facebook for you” if you’re a company that has a primary target under the age of 13. Heck, if you’re looking to acquire fans under the age of 18, Facebook probably isn’t the right place for you.
Even if it’s not the right social network for your company, Facebook changes are still important for you, as a marketer, to keep track of. Facebook features and purchases indicate to the public how the teens and young adults are behaving online.
As with many Facebook purists, I was highly annoyed when I had to download Facebook Messenger app separately from the Facebook app and people started chatting me – I thought I was done with these chat shenanigans when AOL Instant Messenger stopped being a thing. What I should have been thinking as a marketer was “use of Facebook chats has been rising and it seems like Facebook may be trying to compete with the rise of Kik and Snapchat use among teens.”
Remember when Facebook acquired Instagram in April of 2012 for the hefty price tag of $1 billion? While some scoffed, the savvy took note that social media users were starting to respond more actively (specifically with their wallets and attention) to visual, rather than text-based, experiences. In fact, according to NewsCred, posts with videos attract three times as many inbound links as plain text posts.
The most recent acquisition affecting your digital strategy are Facebook’s investments in virtual and augmented reality companies since early 2014. In early October, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement about their recent string of purchases and how the technology can make personal experiences easier to share. Those who attended CES last week heard more of the same. Those ahead of the social curve should already be thinking about how to further personalize their brand experience for their target audiences. In the next five years, it will not be about simple retargeting or use of algorithms to autofill someone’s name in an email – it’ll be about placing your product in your target’s daily life.
Facebook was not the first social platform and isn’t necessarily “the best” for your brand, but it is affecting your social strategy. It’s your choice to use the resources Facebook puts toward research and data mining to stay ahead of the social strategy curve or be forced to constantly play catch up.