You know when something is truly established in common culture when changes to it make it into the morning news. Facebook has been in that place for quite some time now – its effect on society, the morality of the way posts are monitored, the ins and outs of the idea of Fake News and election rigging – all have had their place in the morning bulletin. It’s a measure of how deeply it’s embedded though that Zuck’s announcement about changes to the way the newsfeed is governed made every broadsheet and news programme in the Old Media as well as lighting up every feed in the New. It’s especially relevant for those of us who use social media for marketing purposes and follows on from the last major overhaul in 2016.
The gist is that Facebook is a place for family and friends to connect with people but it has become unfairly skewed towards clickbait content and commercial posts – anyone who spends time on the platform can attest to this – so this rebalancing is a needed thing for Facebook to keep it’s raison d’etre. The 2016 change also brought a heavy boost for video content as MZ sought to make Facebook the home of moving image content, leading to a huge surge in the amount of video produced and posted – much of it low-quality repurposed and non-original content with dubious value and aims. We can see the 2018 newsfeed rebalancing as a response to the monster they created and another attempt to keep the soul of the platform intact, however tawdry and rented-out it might appear at times. Cynics might also suggest that with the continual downgrading of business-related content it also forces social media marketers to spend more and more money in order to get their messages across. No comment on that one.
So what, in essence does this change mean for restaurant social media marketing in 2018? In essence, if this keeps users engaged and on-platform for linger rather than being put off by huge volumes of Most People Can’t Solve This Problem clickbait then that’s a good thing and reinforces the need to be engaged with it as the home of huge potential audiences. It also drives the idea of real engagement – of the primacy of conversation and personal recommendation over boosted posts and junk video. In short, it means genuine content and connecting with your audience is more important than ever if you’re going to have an effect. The complexity of the communication has increased again but the core remains the same – if you believe in what you do and know how to communicate that belief, you’ll find a market.