Facebook’s Major Changes are Good for Influencers. Here’s Why.
Facebook announced big changes at their recent annual F8 development conference. From virtual reality to dating apps, it’s clear they’re going to be investing more into their smaller products. When they did focus on their main Facebook platform itself, there was one underlying theme: change. They’re even doing away with their signature blue to mark the beginning of a new era. According to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “The future is private.”
Zuckerberberg said Facebook’s redesign is intended to make it “less like a town square and more like a living room.” A living room is an intimate, personal space, where you gather with friends and family. It’s less noisy and more comfortable. It’s the kind of place where you expect to receive a recommendation, not an advertisement. These changes are great for influencer marketing, which is really the digital version of word-of-mouth recommendations.
Right now, the Facebook Feed is a random mix of news stories, personal status updates, ads, events, and memories. It can be nearly impossible to stand out, which is one of the reasons influencers generally don’t spend much time on Facebook. They prefer Instagram, where engagement is high and hashtags allow users to search for specific content. However, Facebook is transitioning to a new layout in which Groups will become the most prominent feature. By investing in Groups, Facebook is betting that people will be more likely to connect without the toxicity that’s plagued Facebook for years - the fake news, hate speech, and intense trolling.
Facebook’s public pivot toward “individual privacy” could also have implications for digital marketing on the whole. Facebook will continue to track users and their data, but the rules are changing around how this can be done. Combine that with the fact that one in four Americans currently use an ad blocker, and there’s a lot more incentive for brands to shift away from paid targeted ads and toward content creation through influencer marketing; a trusted influencer in a Group has a better chance of reaching a brand’s specific audience in a way that doesn’t feel invasive. When you’re working within a “living room” model of social media, the influencer is the best person in the room to deliver a message.
Despite the forthcoming changes, Facebook has a long way to go before it regains the trust of its users, but fortunately trust in influencers remains high. Brands can rely on them even as Facebook works to reimagine itself.