“The Facebook Apocalypse” dominated conversations in the sessions and the halls at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego this week, as communicators prepare for a post-organic new world order.
A year ago, 62% of social media marketers planned to increase their organic Facebook content, said Michael Stelzner, CEO of Social Media Examiner (SME), according to a poll of more than 5,000 marketers. But as Facebook shifts to emphasize community and meaningful interactions, the consensus is that branded content—including videos and really, anything with links to external pages—will get much less visibility.
“We’re about to reach an impassable mountain,” said Stelzner. “The obvious solution is to invest more in your paid advertising.”
Mark Zuckerberg would wholeheartedly agree. For brands, however, the future doesn’t have to be a dystopia of direct deposits into Facebook’s bank account. Hope appears in the form of live video, messenger chatbots, influencer marketing and some good old-fashioned storytelling that organically turns customers into brand advocates. For many brands, that requires a change in approach.
“If you notice, the word ‘engagement’ is no longer being used by Zuckerberg, the phrase they use now is ‘meaningful interactions,'” said Brian Fanzo, a marketing influencer and founder of brand consultancy iSocialFanz. “So, for all of us that love engagement metrics and are worried about likes and shares, we’re moving away from that.
“Zuckerberg reminded us something that many of us forgot,” Fanzo continued, “that social media, before we slapped the word marketing on it, was always about meaningful interactions, about connecting the world.”
While Facebook Watch has emerged as one (complicated and costly) avenue to brand storytelling, for the majority of organizations, the future belongs to short-form and live video.
On average, live video on Facebook receives six times more engagement than other forms of video, and Zuckerberg recently said that he expects videos and Stories to overtake traditional posts in the NewsFeed. Yet, according to the SME survey, just 35 percent of brands are using live video.