February 12, 2018


January 11th brought about an utter disruption in the world of online marketers. Zuckerberg’s announcement unfolding yet another algorithm change in Facebook’s newsfeed, came pretty much as a nightmare for the F-commerce: personal content is now going to be promoted over content from brands, businesses and publishers. The intention is clearly to multiply social interactions, but the opportunity cost seems a bit too heavy for online businesses to absorb. Organic newsfeed reach? Close to a naught. Literally.

“As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg was quoted, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” The official statement also reads, “Pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease.” Existing ranking factors that determine what gets displayed in the news feed will affect the total visibility of posts from Facebook pages, as well as the type of content that’s published and how people react to it. The old time-tested practice of using Facebook to drive massive traffic on the cheap that builds audiences and fulfills ad campaigns, is hence going away.

But as they say, a coin always has two sides: this change could very much be a new opportunity to make more meaningful customer engagements. When one comes to think of it, the current newsfeed that is soon to become obsolete wasn’t doing too good to businesses, really. The role of effective audience engagement is now more important than ever. While a lot of speculations have been doing rounds regarding how publishers and businesses might get affected, some strategically-motivated folks have been quoted as saying that this is indeed the change that was required: instead of a content firehose in the newsfeed, quality needs to be promoted over quantity. Others have called the newsfeed reliance an abuse by Facebook to marketers: the latter blindly joined the bandwagon instead of looking for a more intelligent way to pursue audience engagements.

Facebook has so overwhelmingly grown to become people’s go-to for social or business information, that it’s now a taken-for-granted platform. Let’s face it, we spend majority of our day scrolling down our Newsfeed, often as a robotic habit than an active engagement. Despite past efforts to better its algorithm, Facebook has only moved to be a technology overkill for the most part. It has also been accused of copying the interactive mechanisms of Instagram and Snapchat when it introduced stories. The increasingly unengaged audience is definitely not the optimum target for brands and businesses to speak to through ads. In fact, page engagements have been reported to fall significantly in early 2017. What does this tell us?

That the Newsfeed is already an ineffective and noisy medium: its oversaturation gets worse each passing moment as millions of pages race to make through to the most potential customers’ feeds. But what about Facebook Messenger? That space is designed to initiate a personalized communication between you and your potential client. Given its two-way communication nature, Messenger does not rely on passive means of talking at its audience through likes, comments and shares; instead, you get to talk directly to your potential customer. So, while Zuckerberg’s heart is in the right place, how his newsfeed changes could push marketers to create legitimately “meaningful content” is however a tacit opportunity that will be grabbed only by the smarter players. In other words, the game is on.

Messenger also has a massive reach: people exchange over 1 billion messages with businesses’ chatbots each month. Those likes, shares, actively interested comments marketers were so desperately looking for could never be as resonant as having a one-on-one chat on Messenger. You now have to no longer worry about the clicks, but the actual engagement. The advanced mechanism behind the bots ensures multiple conversations at the same time, with no human presence at all. Messenger in fact, gives you 10x better chance of capturing people’s attention than by emailing them, according to statistics.

Undoubtedly though, the best feature about messenger is that you can offer the most personalized and relevant customer experience possible—almost as closely as you could do on face to face interactions. For instance, you could ask their particular choice of color or design or any preference and suggest products from your stock accordingly. You could also remind customers to make a purchase they had once shown interest in but somehow forgot to get back. Basically, you can use all your convincing strategies through a much deeper and active interaction through chats. News bots also cater to relevant content as demanded by the customer.

So while the newsfeed changes might sound devastating at the first go, a wiser analysis could let you discover this more meaningful medium to persistently connect to and grow your customer base. You can kiss goodbye to your conventional method of advertising content that would so easily get lost amidst floods of clickbait publications and disruptive visuals. Your followers’ count can now become a lot more than just a paid popularity, but one that comprises of buyers having long-term loyalty towards your brand. This is because people are legitimately more interested to make a purchase when they feel patiently heard and genuinely engaged. The trust thus earned is more lucrative, credible and sustainable.

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