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Facebook is Changing: Here's What You Need to Know

| Flourish Monthly

Something we haven’t seen circulating nearly enough is an announcement Meta made about its Facebook product last week. Facebook is changing how it presents content. I guess Mark Zuckerberg, like most of the world, heard how successful TikTok is and wanted to be more like it! No, Facebook isn’t getting rid of anything. In fact, they’re adding content! Read on to learn more about what’s changing and what you should do about it.

Why Change Things Now?

Before we talk about what’s in the update, let’s talk about why things are changing in the first place. Bottom line: Facebook is trying to stay relevant amongst other, faster-growing social media formats like TikTok and Instagram. Don’t worry though! Facebook is still the second most-used social media platform in the US, second only to YouTube. They mentioned they want to show users more entertaining content that is personalized to each person, which means using an algorithm that is similar to TikTok’s. When announcing this change, Mark Zuckerberg mentioned that “one of the most requested features for Facebook is to make sure people don’t miss friends’ posts.” In order to fulfill the need for entertaining content and users’ request for more control over what they see, they created this update.

Smaller Updates

First off, it’s important to mention that this update is only available on the mobile app and has been rolling out worldwide since Thursday, July 21. To put these changes in place, we have a new Shortcuts bar. The bar will be located at the top of the page for iOS users and at the bottom of the page for Android users. The location of the tabs on this bar will be based on which features you use the most, so it will learn what you like best! You will also have an option to personalize your shortcuts bar by pinning tabs.

“Home: Where Discovery Happens.”

Okay, we’ve gotten through how Facebook is going to facilitate these new updates. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this! First off, the default feed is called “Home.” Pretty standard, but before the update it was called the “News Feed.” This is because Facebook is shifting away from news content on their platform, though there will be a separate tab for news. Home appears first on the Shortcuts bar, and is the first thing users see when they open the app. This is what Facebook created to address the need for entertaining content on the platform. Everything in the Home feed is run by an AI they call the Discovery Engine. It will recommend content users care most about, allowing them to discover new people and creators they’ve potentially never seen before. This section will be heavily video-centric, showing users primarily reels and stories. Facebook also plans on adding a shopping feature in the future.

The Feed Named “Feeds.”

Okay, I clearly think this is a silly and potentially confusing name, but let’s ignore the name and look at the features. This is what Facebook created to address user concerns about missing their friends’ posts. The “Feeds” feed (oh boy this is already confusing!) will exclusively include content you’ve already opted to see. There will be no suggested posts. Inside the “Feeds” feature there will be sub-tabs to filter what type of content you want to see. Options include All (the primary feed), Favorites, Friends, Groups, Pages, and probably more, but we haven’t been able to confirm that. This is the feature you would use if you want to control what you see when using the app. It’s unclear whether tabs will rearrange themselves to be in chronological order, but both Meta and Zuckerberg have confirmed that Feeds posts will show up in chronological order, newest to oldest. There will be ads on both the Home feed and the Feeds… feed.

Marketing Strategy

I’m sorry. Even all the way in the past (yesterday) as I write this I can feel, future reader, your eyes glazing over as you read these updates. All you want to know is this: How should I change my marketing strategy?

You shouldn’t.

No, really! You shouldn’t. Facebook is still Facebook, and I predict that it will continue to be one of the most-used social platforms in the US. But to get a little more analytical about my recommendation, this update was just launched on July 21st and it hasn’t even reached every user yet. We don’t have any statistics to base any change in strategy off of, so let’s default to the very first question every customer who asks us if they should be on Facebook needs to consider: Are your customers there? The first step in any marketing plan is to know where your customers are and go there. Yes, we mostly ask this question in the context of social media, but this can be applied to all forms of marketing, on or offline. Figure out where your customers are and meet them there. We also recommend you have a backup that isn’t digitally linked, just in case (I’m looking at you, Instagram outage of 2021). 

That being said, we’ve got your back! We’ll be keeping an eye on updates to how this new Facebook is being received and if we should be changing up our social media marketing strategies. 

If you’re like me, you read about this new Facebook and then immediately went to your phone app to see if it had been updated. If it hasn’t, don’t fret! You may just need to update your app. If you do that and you still don’t have the new version, that’s okay. In their announcement on the 21st, Meta said, “We expect these updates to be rolled out globally over the next week.” Now, if you’re reading this the day I posted it, July 29th, then it’s been over a week since the announcement. I would say just be patient. Sometimes, even for big companies, it can take a while to get everyone updated. Besides, one week is multitudes faster than they’ve ever rolled out any update! I will leave you with the thought that’s been plaguing me as I write this: How many users will actually get in the habit of selecting the tabs they want? How many will make the effort to go to “Feed” instead of getting stuck on “Home?” I don’t think there’s any reason to be cynical, but we certainly will see how things turn out for the Metaverse.

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