Facebook Has Changed Again – What Does This Mean For Businesses?
(Disclaimer: Many factors will be important in determining your actual results on social media and no guarantees are made that you will achieve results similar to ours from the ideas and techniques presented in our blogs or videos.) (Transcription from our FB Live Video)
Hello and Welcome to our Fine Tune Friday FB Live Show today where we’ll be discussing some pretty big changes that Facebook implemented last month and what that can mean for businesses. My name is Alicia and I’m the owner of Aliro Marketing – I hope you’ve had a great Friday so far!
If you are watching live, feel free to ask questions as we go along and I’ll be sure to answer them live. And if we’re running short on time, I’ll be sure to answer them after the show has ended. If you’re watching the Replay, please still ask your questions and I’ll come back to answer them!
Today I want to cover 3 main changes:
- Focus and priority of Facebook & Instagram is “ephemeral content”
- Move toward privacy-focused messaging where people can communicate securely with other people & brands
- Renewed focus on Group conversations and less public newsfeed posts
And you’ll want to stick around to the end because we’ll add a bonus topic at the end that can protect you & your business from reduced reach when you post your videos!
So… Are you too busy running your business to stay up to date on the ever-changing social media changes? Or maybe you don’t even know where to look for these changes to be in the know.
If that’s you, then I hope you’ll stick around for a few moments so I can let you in on the new social media changes, and what you can do to change your social media business strategy to stay successful on social media and make your life easier!
Focus and Priority of Ephemeral Content
Guess what? Facebook is changing again!
What we did last year, or even 6 months ago, unfortunately won’t work for 2019 so we as businesses need to adapt & change to stay relevant on social media. (I know it’s a pain in the butt… just when we figure it out, social media changes the rules again, right?!). We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s just dive in!
What is “Ephemeral Content”? Succinctly put, it’s Instagram and Facebook Stories. You’ve probably seen the little bubbles at the top of the screen logging in, even if you haven’t used them yourself. They’re short 15 second segments that can be images or videos and they disappear after 24 hours – think SnapChat but it’s on Instagram & Facebook.
If you have a business page, you may be wondering why you should take time to create content that will disappear – wouldn’t that be a waste of time & effort? Well, no.
One reason is because you can now save, or archive, your stories right to your Facebook or Instagram page. This is great for 2 reasons: 1) Those saved stories live at the top of your page so people will see them first; 2) Content that you’d want to save is content that is “evergreen” and will be relevant for a long time. Perhaps you have FAQ or Tips, customer photos/reviews of you, or something that gives people insight to your business.
Another reason it’s not a waste of time to create these stories, is these stories are how your customers will get to know you, it’s a fabulous way to show your businesses human side, a peek into your personality. That is so valuable because this is how you build relationships online, how you build that trust so your customers will want to do business with you. People do business with people, not companies! Use these stories to show what you’re working on that day, unboxing new products, shipping out products, meeting with other clients, give them a tour of your office or facility, show your personal passions, hobbies, etc., use the “Ask Me Anything” sticker to respond to customer questions, use the Poll sticker to get people engaging with your stories, or share a new post to your stories to get extra attention on great content!
Stories are a fun way to get more engagement while giving people a chance to get to know you better – why wouldn’t you want to create content for your business stories? Make it a priority to do this every day, it won’t take long, to build your brand & take advantage of the new algorithm’s focus.
Move Toward Privacy-Focused Messaging
This is perhaps one of the biggest changes – a move toward privacy-focused messaging where people can communicate securely with other people & brands; it balances expression, safety, security, and privacy.
According to Mark Zuckerberg, “Many people prefer the intimacy of communicating one-on-one or with just a few friends. People are more cautious of having a permanent record of what they’ve shared. Public social networks will continue to be very important in people’s lives — for connecting with everyone you know, discovering new people, ideas and content, and giving people a voice more broadly. But now, with all the ways people also want to interact privately, there’s also an opportunity to build a simpler platform that’s focused on privacy first.”
Business pages are not allowed to initiate private messages with individuals, so how are businesses supposed to do this?
It’s a newer area of social media, but it’s called Messenger Marketing. Messenger Marketing is a channel that, when used correctly, opens up infinite doors of communication and engagement with your audience, in turn driving more leads and sales.
One aspect of Messenger Marketing is using chatbots. They’re automated responses that take people through a sequence of tasks in Facebook Messenger that provides value to the customer while giving businesses ways to further market people in a way that email marketing or regular Facebook posts can’t do.
Programs like ManyChat or MobileMonkey are easy to learn & use to set up and use for your messenger marketing. We’ll have to do another video on how to use these programs later – there’s too much to introduce here today.
One simply way you can use messenger marketing for business is to answer commonly asked questions like, “What are your hours?” “Do you have a menu?” “Where are you located?” “What are your services?” “Does this come in a different color?”
Some business owners might be quick to discredit messenger marketing thinking their customers won’t use it, but let me tell you… and please write this down… Your customers would rather message you on Facebook & Instagram because they are already there connecting with family & friends instead of leaving to go to your awesome website to search for an answer to their question. Your customers don’t want to leave Facebook or Instagram, and Facebook & Instagram certainly don’t want people leaving their sites, so make everyone happy by implementing these simple chatbots to 1) take advantage of this & work with Facebook’s algorithms, and more importantly, 2) free up some of your time. By having these simple chatbots in place, you’ll be able to provide better customer service in a timely way without having to manually respond within an hour or two.
That’s just the beginning of possibilities of using chatbots for messenger marketing! Here are just a few more ideas:
- You can give away something of value to your audience by asking them for their email address so you can send it to them (lead magnet!).
- You can play trivia games with your audience to make things more fun.
- If you’re a real estate agent, you can take them through requesting a home valuation quote.
- You can add reminders so people can catch your live video show.
- Get your audience to sign up for your email list.
- Provide offers in Messenger.
- Run ads inside Messenger.
Your bots can be as simple or complicated as you need them to be. And there’s a lot more you can do with messenger marketing, but I just wanted to list a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
But as with anything, there is one important rule to follow when sending messages to your customers through Messenger: Follow the “24 + 1” rule.
Remember, people have to opt-in to receive messages from you in Messenger – they do this by clicking the “Get Started” button. Just like email, you cannot be spammy in nature; and you shouldn’t send out too many messages.
If you don’t follow the “24 + 1” rule when using messenger bots, you could lose messaging privileges, and you don’t want to send too many messages or people will start to block & mute you which 1) could get your messaging privileges revoked and 2) your post reach diminish because this is how FB punishes businesses.
“Businesses using the Send API [3rd party tools like ManyChat or MobileMonkey] have up to 24 hours to respond to a message sent by a person in Messenger when using standard messaging. A bot may also send one additional message after the 24-hour time limit has expired. The 24-hour limit is refreshed each time a person responds to a business through one of the eligible actions listed in Messenger Conversation Entry Points. This is commonly referred to as the ’24 + 1 policy’.”
Standard Messaging: Messages can be sent during a 24-hour window that resets any time the person sends a message to the business. One additional bonus message may be sent outside of the 24-hour window to follow up on the conversation.
Businesses may also use sponsored messaging (ad within Messenger) to send a message to a person outside the 24-hour window if the person has not blocked the business.
If you get people to subscribe to your Messenger messages, this is obviously called “Subscription Messaging”. Business admins are supposed to apply to be able to use these types of messages, although it is currently not being enforced, but who is to say when the enforcement will start, so it’s a good idea to apply.
Subscriptional messages include News (important events, updates, info, etc.), Productivity (manage calendar events, receive reminders, paying bills, etc.), and Personal trackers (fitness, health, finance).
Subscription Messaging is allowed for specific use cases, and gives a business the ability to send regular content to a person on Messenger. A user may opt-out of receiving subscription messages from a Page at any time (a way to stay in compliance is to add an “unsubscribe” button to your bot).
Some specific rules when it comes to Subscription messaging:
- Subscription content may be sent outside of the 24-hour messaging window that applies to standard messaging.
- Subscription messages will have limited functionality compared to standard messages.
- Subscription messages cannot contain promotional content.
- Subscription messaging is only intended for specific use cases. Businesses and developers will need to indicate which use case their experience falls under when they submit their Messenger Platform integration.
- If a user responds to a subscription message via an eligible action, the conversation will be considered standard messaging and must comply with standard messaging policies.
To apply for subscription messaging, Page admins may access the subscription messaging request form by doing the following:
- Go to Page Settings > Messenger Platform
- Under ‘Subscription Messaging’ in the ‘Advanced Messaging Settings’ section, click the ‘Request’ button.
- In the form, the Page admin will be asked to provide the following:
- A sample message and a brief description of how the bot will use subscription messaging.
- A short screencast that shows how people will start a conversation with the bot and examples of subscription messages that the bot will send.
- Which of the three eligible subscription messaging use cases applies to the bot.
- A confirmation that the bot will only send non-promotional content, and will abide by all Facebook Platform policies and community standards.
Here is a link from Facebook that provides this information in case you need it: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/messenger-platform/policy/app-to-page-subscriptions/
Just a head’s up: you may be denied if you don’t word your descriptions in a way that will be acceptable to Facebook, but there is no limit right now to how many times you can apply, so if you get denied, try to reword your example descriptions and apply again.
I know this is detailed and possibly confusing so please message me on Facebook if you have more questions.
Renewed Focus on Group Conversations and Less Public Newsfeed Posts
This section sounds scary right off the bat, but don’t let your emotions get the best of you and start panicking just yet. You may have even heard that the newsfeed is “going away”… But let’s take the rumor out of this right now.
I do not believe the Facebook Newsfeed is going away; however, it probably will be changing and will look drastically different from what we know it to be right now.
Because of Facebook’s focus on Stories, there has been talk of adding Stories to the newsfeed, which is why you should be getting in the habit of creating content for stories right now. On top of that, they are testing horizontal feeds where you need to swipe to see the next post or story in your feed. This is because people aren’t scrolling down as far and aren’t seeing as many ads (there’s the real reason, right?!). This isn’t happening right away and Facebook isn’t even testing this widely right now, so this change is a little down the road; I just wanted to take some of the scariness out of this rumor for you!
Now for the renewed focus on promoting Group conversations in the newsfeed over regular business posts. Remember the other focus, the move toward privacy-focused messaging? Another way to do this is through private Facebook Groups. If your business can create a community, a reason for people to gather & participate in group conversations, you’ve just found a way to get your message out to the people who WANT to hear it!
You can ask questions to start discussions, host watch parties in your group where all the members can watch a video (this is great for live videos like how-to videos, educational videos, etc.), and of course prompt your members to ask questions and answer each other’s questions.
Groups give your business a place where your followers can gather, creates a sense of community & belonging, builds relationships by getting to know each other, and in the end, want to work with you even more – isn’t that what social media is supposed to be about?
BUT… Facebook will hold group admins more accountable for Community Standards violations. Admin and moderator content violations, including member posts they have approved, will be used as a stronger signal that the group violates Facebook’s standards and the group runs a higher risk of being taken down.
And Facebook will limit the reach in Newsfeed of groups that repeatedly share content that has been rated false by independent fact-checkers.
So as an admin of the Group, just do a great job moderating and you’ll be fine!
Bonus Topic: Don’t Get Caught Using “Engagement-Bait” In Your Videos!
Engagement-Bait is when you blatantly ask for people to like, comment, tag, or share your post. This rule was set in place last year when Facebook made the big push towards getting engagement if you wanted your posts to be seen more often.
Per Facebook: “Update 1/30/19: Starting today, we will be demoting videos which contain engagement bait in the audio.”
The Engagement Bait Policy was updated again and said that videos containing WRITTEN or SPOKEN phrases such as “Comment below,” “Share this video,” “Tag 2 friends,” or any direct call-to-action tied to liking, commenting or sharing would get demoted in the feeds. This pertains to all video on Facebook.
This is a common tactic in videos, so businesses need to get on board or their video reach will get demoted in the newsfeeds. And after all, that’s why we do videos … to get more reach. So, don’t come right out and ask for people to comment below or share your video.
I can hear it now, “BUT… how are we supposed to add call-to-actions now???”
You just need to get creative on how you use these call-to-actions! Facebook is scanning text and video for the phrases “like”, “comment”, “tag”, and “share”. So instead, use more conversational call-to-actions like: “what are your thoughts”, “what do you think about this”, “how do you feel”, “what would you do in this situation”. The key here is to be authentic! Besides, hasn’t asking for comments or shares felt spammy anyway? This way is better, it’s more real, and it prevents your posts (and hard work creating the videos!) from being penalized in reach & demoted in the newsfeeds.
I know this is a lot and it went way longer than I thought it would, but it is important information that you need to change your strategy on social media to be more successful. If you have any questions, please let me know, I’ll find you an answer!
Hope you have a great weekend – and stay social!