If you’ve read anything about Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcements about the future of Facebook recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the sky is falling and it’s the end of effective advertising on the social media channel. As is often the case, it’s not as bad as you might think.
When you hear any stories about doom and gloom on the internet, particularly around advertising, it’s worth taking a moment to pause. Let’s remember how Facebook makes its revenue.
Facebook, like most of the internet giants is dependent on advertising revenue to keep the lights on. Not only keeping the lights on in fact, but supplying electricity to their massive (and expensive!) server complexes, paying employees etc. It’s a commercial reality that Facebook can no more kill off advertising and survive than we can stop breathing and do the same. You just have to look at how Facebook’s stock value dropped after the announcement. So when reading Zuckerberg’s post of 12th January, bear that in mind.
Facebook has been getting a hammering lately from fake news to allegations of Russian involvement in the US Presidential elections. It December 2017 it rebutted an allegation by former executive Chamath Palihapitiya who claimed Facebook was “destroying how society works”. As such it makes perfect sense that Facebook wants to be seen to be responding to these concerns.
So what did Zuckerberg’s post say? You can read the full post here, but if I was to summarise it’s saying that if you’re not encouraging meaningful interactions between people instead of passive consumption then you’re going to struggle. I suppose the crunch comes in what Facebook defines as “meaningful interactions”.
As such, if you’re looking to just throw together some ads, put them on Facebook and watch the leads flow in then that’s not going to work. But then it never really did. If however you develop a plan to work out how you can engage with people then you’ll have more success.
The fundamentals of good advertising don’t change. Think about what your potential customers need. What keeps them awake at night? How can you answer that? Think about other ways you can help them. What other information can you provide them that will make their lives better?
For example, do you offer line-dancing classes in your retirement development? Publish content about how it’s good for their health. Write articles about how to improve their technique. How to dance without hurting your knees from all that stamping etc. (my knowledge of line-dancing peters out at this point…). Then share that content to people who would be genuinely interested in what you have to say. Good material will then be tagged, Liked and Shared. People will comment and interactions will happen.
So as Facebook rolls out these changes we are going to see effects on advertisers, and in the short term even those with “good” material may take a hit. But long term the people that are producing material that helps people and improves their lives will win. It’s Content Marketing 101. It’s what we’ve always advocated here at chmstrategy.
Image credit: http://www.davidmcelroy.org/?p=18926