By now you’ve likely heard the soul crushing news that Facebook is making a few big changes to their platform and unfortunately rumor has it that Instagram will be quick to follow.
My first question - when is the last time you loved looking at your newsfeed?
For me, I can’t even tell you the answer. I’ve built two businesses on social media, and for that I’m so grateful. I spend the bulk of my time on Facebook and Instagram building my platform and trying to increase my following. The reality is - that’s not so crazy or uncommon.
Facebook and Instagram have both realized that people aren’t as “engaged” as they once were on either platform. They even went as far as doing studies that showed people weren’t happy after using the social media tool. In short, people got real bummed after scrolling on their newsfeeds and Facebook decided they had to change things before the platform became obsolete.
So what happened? We stopped communicating.
We started to use Facebook and Instagram as a giant beauty pageant. The judges (our followings) would silently critique while only jumping in if they had a specific note or harsh criticism. The trip photos, perfectly stylized lattes, happy kids, and viral videos fatigued us and left us feeling a little depressed.
Can you imagine watching a beauty pageant on a loop - 7 days a week for about an hour a day? It would be terrible.
So Facebook decided to back off on the business pages, viral videos, and content that maybe wasn’t relevant to the Facebooker. They decided that it would be best to get back to the family and friends content and remove everyone from the loop of aimless scrolling. Now you don’t have to see Sue’s trip photos if you don’t want to and if you haven’t left a comment on that cool skateboard business’s page you probably won’t see them ever again. While this all sounds exciting - it sent the Facebook stock plummeting and created an uproar with business owners like myself.
Enter the Facebook Freakout, and why so many business owners felt concerned.
If business page content isn’t going to be pushed as heavily as it was before - how are businesses relying on social media going to survive? The answer is simple, and it’s engagement.
Facebook and Instagram wants us to talk. They want us to engaged with one another so that we feel more connected to each other yes, but also with the platform.
Remember the time when friend’s wrote on your wall? Not just for your birthday? That’s what they want to get back to.
Business pages are relevant as long as they are fostering engagement amongst the people following them. Do you get comments and never respond? It’s like shutting down a dozen conversations because you are staring at them silently. It’s awkward and the opposite of fostering engagement. You have to join the conversation and that involves creating content that gets people talking. Maybe it’s silly, thought-provoking, or simply real - the secret to this change up is to add yourself into the conversation.
Maybe you aren’t a business owner but you want to support those that are. You can now manage your newsfeed settings, and set certain pages as a priority. This allows you to never miss a thing, and keep up with all your favorite accounts. The other part of the equation is to get talking and leave genuine comments on posts you enjoy. This helps business owners tailor their content to you and gets their accounts seen.
A few secondary changes to Facebook and Instagram will revolve around keeping people on the platform. Facebook and Instagram hate to see people leave so links to outside articles, videos and pages might be buried in the newsfeed. They want to keep things more natural and organic (no more beauty pageant) so they are weighing live videos more heavily and icing out 3rd party schedulers like Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Sendible.
It’s more work to create on the fly content, but I have a vision for what I think may follow. I think we are in the last days of the stylized latte pictures, beautiful stock imagery, Bermuda vacation photos, and everything that puts so much pressure on us as a society. We are craving more authenticity, rawness, and reality. But also love - so much love.
So get out there today and start spreading some love. Comment on a post that made you feel good, belly laugh, or encouraged you to look at something differently. Be excited about what you are posting on social media and aware of the conversations you may create.