What Does this Facebook Drama Mean for My Ads?

What Does this Facebook Drama Mean for My Ads?

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has been through a rough time recently with the scandal involving the social media platform. The market cap for Facebook plummeted by $50 billion after the public discovered the truth about how their data was shared with third parties. Zuckerberg was forced to speak at a congressional hearing and asserted that he would make some much needed changes to Facebook to protect user privacy.

If Facebook gets an overhaul as a result of this scandal then people might be worried about its impact on users, especially businesses who rely on social media as part of their advertising tactics. Any changes to Facebook could also impact Instagram which is owned by the same company that might feel compelled to follow the same guidelines regarding personal data. Protecting user data is an important goal for Facebook but how will it affect businesses running ads on the social media platform?

Social media experts are predicting that data changes may not have as dramatic an effect on the way people use Facebook and Instagram as you might think. Advertising may not be hindered if Facebook allows businesses to continue promoting themselves through the platform and using the information they need to target ads. Many industry experts believe that advertising on Facebook and Instagram actually won’t change much, at least in the short term.

Protecting Data and Maintaining Business

Protecting Data and Maintaining Business

When the news broke that Facebook allowed user data to be accessed by a company called cambridge analytica, it caused many people to question the integrity of the social media platform. Cambridge analytica is a political data firm that was hired by the Trump administration in order to gain access to user data on Facebook. The company was able to access private information on more than 50 million Facebook users and used tools to help influence their behavior during the 2016 election.

The data that was accessed by the company included users’ identities, location likes and friend networks which was used to map personality traits and then target audiences with digital ads. Users that took a personality survey and downloaded an app, consented to have their information taken and used by the third party although they were told it was for academic use only. Facebook allows researchers to gather data for academic purposes but Cambridge analytica violated the social media platform’s rules by allowing the data to be sold and transferred.

Although Cambridge analytica is mostly to blame for its violation of user privacy, Facebook has responded to the incident by removing the app that gathered data. The company also asked for this private data to be deleted so that it would not be used again in the future. However, it is likely that users will be more wary in the future of sharing their data online.

People using Facebook and Instagram may be more cautious about providing private information but it does not necessarily mean people will steer clear of these platforms. Instagram is less politically themed and more focused on design and visuals so it not likely that advertising on that platform will be affected in the near future. Ultimately when Facebook figures out how to resolve issues with data it will eventually transfer to Instagram.

Third Party Access to Data

One possible consequence of the Cambridge analytica scandal is that Facebook may scale back access to third party data. Legislators are beginning to understand that the platform leaves private data vulnerable and they may attempt to intervene. More government oversight may lead to attempts to break up the company which has control over a large portion of the social media world.

If there is any further backlash to Facebook following the scandal it could lead to more advertising potential on Amazon as another option for businesses. Amazon is currently struggling to keep up in the marketing world because it has a smaller number of advertisers and accounts can be more difficult to set up than Facebook. However, if Facebook becomes too problematic for users, Amazon may be a useful alternative for advertising online.

In the short term, it doesn’t appear that Facebook and Instagram’s advertising services will be affected much by any new changes. It will take some time for Facebook to resolve its data issues and enact significant shifts in the way that it handles things. For the time being most businesses will be able to carry on with their usual advertising tactics and not see too many negative changes.

It is difficult to tell how Facebook will handle data in the future and how it will adjust in order to prevent privacy violations. Businesses can maintain their advertising campaigns on the site but will also benefit by exploring other options. It will likely be some time before any real significant changes occur that will strongly impact Facebook Ads.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Are Groups The New Pages For Facebook?

This January, Mark Zuckerberg dropped a bombshell for marketers on his Facebook page:

“[W]e’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other…” As a result, the company is “making a major change to how we build Facebook,” starting with the “News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”

For most marketers, these changes weren’t necessarily a surprise. Facebook’s been doing this for years, slowly weeding out content from public pages in favor of posts from family and friends. What was notable about this announcement, however, was Facebook’s advocacy for groups, in addition to the usual suspects of family and friends.

The inclusion of groups got marketers thinking… are groups the new pages for Facebook?

Can you rely on Facebook Groups?

Even if you’re already eagerly visualizing your brand’s big debut into Facebook groups, you’re probably feeling at least a hint of trepidation along with your excitement. You’ve been beaten down over the years, with each algorithm bringing a new blow to your organic reach on Facebook. It only makes sense that you’d be wary about doubling-down on groups only for Facebook to change its tune later on.

While nothing can be guaranteed in the ever-changing social media landscape, there are some clear signs that you can trust Facebook’s making a serious investment in groups and they’re here to stay (at least for a little while).

Although it feels new, Facebook’s focus on groups has actually been brewing for a little while. In mid-2017, Facebook held its first Communities Summit for Group Admins in Chicago.

What precipitated this event? According to Zuckerberg, “We recently found that more than 100 million people on Facebook are members of what we call ‘very meaningful’ groups. These are groups that upon joining, quickly become the most important part of our social network experience and an important part of our physical support structure. For example, many new parents tell us that joining a parenting group after having a child fits this purpose.”

Then, this February, Facebook followed up with a Communities Summit in Europe that hosted over 300 group “power admins.” At the event, Facebook announced many of the initiatives they’ve launched based on feedback from the first summit, and continued gathering important feedback and ideas from the elite group for future releases.

What can you do with Facebook Groups?

If you haven’t paid attention to Facebook Groups in a while, you can do a lot more with them than you may realize. Facebook’s made strides to nurture engagement in groups and offer admins more advanced management tools on par with what you see with brand pages.

Engagement features

Last October, Facebook introduced two new features that enhance and personalize the community experience of groups.

  1. Welcome posts invite group admins to tag new members by name:Welcome Posts
  2. Clicking on a member’s name heavily emphasizes their group activity, along with the normal things they have in common with the person who clicked (as opposed to the default search on Facebook, which shows the common interests alone):Members Name

Changes like these make group members feel closer than a random stranger on Facebook, inviting more engagement.

Facebook knows that both groups and their Facebook Live video feature boast spectacularly high engagement rates – so they decided to combine the two with their new Watch Party feature. Group admins can choose a public Facebook video for their group to watch at the same time. It’s like simultaneously watching a video together and commenting on it with your friends.Facebook Live

Admin tools

The first sign a social platform is starting to care about a demographic is when you see it adding analytics features that rival the ones they offer to paying advertisers. You’ve seen this most recently with Snapchat’s recent concessions for influencers. Facebook’s new suite of tools for group admins is more sophisticated than ever, and significantly streamlines group management.

Group admins can now easily manage everything from a central administrative dashboard, including viewing insights and approving new member requests. Up to 10 group announcements can be pinned to the top of the page. Group rules, similar to what you find on Reddit, now have a dedicated section.Group Insights

Facebook also recently expanded their Group Insights tool to include “helpful personalized tips, like scheduling posts at times when members are most engaged.” If that sounds a lot like the insights available to Page owners, it’s because it is.Helpful TipsOther, small changes reveal Facebook’s recognition of the importance of group identity when it comes to engagement. For example, admins can now personalize their group pages by selecting a color scheme. This feature isn’t even available to regular profiles!Scholar Scheme

Developing your brand’s strategy for Facebook groups

If you want to have any organic reach on Facebook as a brand, groups are the way to go. Here’s how to go about it the right way.

Posting in groups

It’s no coincidence that Facebook’s groups now share many similarities with Reddit. Group admins have a lot more power. Custom color schemes put the group’s identity first, before Facebook’s own blue branding.

As such, brands should expect group members to treat their Facebook groups with the same fierce loyalty and protection you see on Reddit.

In order to succeed with groups, it is absolutely essential that brands tread lightly. Engage first before promoting (if you promote at all), and always engage authentically. If you don’t, you won’t just risk low engagement. You’ll risk very public ridicule and shaming.

Brands can post in groups as a Page. This maintains your professionalism, but it also keeps your brand faceless. To add humanity to your brand, consider leveraging the personal brands of your employees. They can work in tandem with your Page account to share official announcements, answer FAQ, and participate in discussions related to your industry.

Creating your own branded groups

You can also create your own branded Facebook group via linked Groups. These help your fans stay connected to your company through Page-branded groups featured on your profile.Branded Groups

Plenty of branded Facebook groups have enjoyed success on Facebook, but there are just as many half-hearted efforts that failed. To make your branded group one of the former, consider the following three things before you create your group.

  1. Set your goals.

Is it sales? Then you’ll want a small group for prospects that’s highly cultivated by your sales reps who answer questions and make them feel like VIPs.

Maybe you have a team of brand ambassadors, and your email newsletter isn’t proving effective. A group just for them might work.

If you want a larger public group with the potential to grow, focus on a topic related to your industry. This will be about engagement, driving brand visibility and demonstrating thought leadership – not pushing your products. But, your efforts will result in higher group engagement, improved brand perception, and indirect boosts to your customer retention and sales.

  1. Define your audience.

Depending on the topic and size of your audience, it may make sense to have several groups for different goals. For example, if you’re trying to enter a new vertical, establishing your thought leadership through a branded Facebook group is a great choice.

If your brand speaks to multiple verticals, or widely variant types of users, consider creating multiple groups. The more personal and niche you can be, the better.

  1. Plan your logistics.

Assign the team members who will be responsible for managing the group and fostering engagement. Set up the rules. Develop a content calendar like you do for all your other channels.

For your group to succeed, you need to have a plan and keep it alive. Especially in the beginning, as the onus will be on you to make it worthwhile for fans to stick around.

Using group features

If you decide a branded group is right for you, leverage the tools at your disposal. Personalize your group with a color scheme, and make it friendly with Welcome Posts. Keep it lively with regular Group Announcements. Make the rules of engagement clear with Group Rules, and enforce them so it stays a safe space.

Group Insights provide many of the same insights you rely on to optimize your engagement on your brand Page. Use them to:

  • Discover the best times to post for optimal engagement.
  • Attract more members. Fully complete your profile to increase your chances of showing up in people’s searches for related keywords.
  • Understand your audience better – both for the tone and content of your posts in the group itself, as well as broader market research applications.
  • Find new potential groups to join. Recognize demographic interests among your most engaged users. Similar people might be interested in hearing from you but just haven’t heard of you quite yet. Search for groups related to those interests.
  • Analyze your popular posts to give members more of what they like. Coordinate Watch Parties around topics your fans care about. Share exclusive content for group members..

Facebook groups: the path to meaningful interactions

In an increasingly pay-to-play social media landscape, Facebook Groups offer your brand the opportunity to interact with fans organically. Just make sure those interactions are meaningful.

Michael Quoc is the founder / CEO of Dealspotr, where brands, shoppers, and influencers can connect on the first social platform centered around today’s best promo codes. Previously, he was the Director of Product Management at Yahoo’s media lab, where he led the launch of several innovative services in the live video / mobile social networking areas. Michael has been awarded nine patents relating to mobile and social network applications and technology. Tweet him at @michaelquoc.

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.

Facebook, What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Facebook for businessesCompetition is always good for customers, right? Some people believe that all these new Facebook features are an aggressive response to Google +. Whether you think so or not, there’s no doubt that Facebook wants to be the star of the show in the social media world.
On September 30 (or 29th, depending on the source), Facebook will be launching a new Timeline feature. If you can’t wait to see it, Mashable has an easy guide that you can follow to get a sneak preview.

New features are great for consumers, but what about businesses? One thing that I noticed with this new Timeline interface is that the space for paid ads on the right has been greatly reduced. Where will these ads go and how do businesses take advantage of this new layout? You can bet on it – Facebook has a thing or two up its sleeve for small businesses. In fact, Facebook is launching an education program for small businesses. This initial outreach will consist of informative webinars and case studies where owners can learn more about Facebook marketing.

But wait, there’s more! In October, Facebook is sponsoring “road shows” across the country as a part of it’s Small Business Boost. This injection into the small business community will continue into 2012, where some small businesses will be eligible to receive $50 of advertising credit.

Social media is always evolving but the changes are motivating, as it always makes you think about how new changes will effect businesses. What are your thoughts on the new Timeline, small business features and anything else Facebook related?

Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.