Social Media Marketing World (SMMW), a three-day megaconference focusing on social media strategies for marketers and advertisers, recently concluded in San Diego, Calif. This year’s conference focused on three major themes that will guide social media strategy in the next few years: Facebook’s new algorithm, live video and messenger bots.
Facebook’s New Algorithm
The main topic of SMMW 2018 was Facebook’s new algorithm which favors people over brands in the news feed, or as Facebook puts it, helps users make “meaningful social connections.” Meaningful connections from friends and family are prioritized in the news feed over content from marketers. Examples of these interactions include a friend commenting on someone else’s content, friends replying to each other’s comments on a video or article and longer comments over shorter ones.
While this may sound apocalyptic to marketers, there are strategies to ensure your brand’s content stays in the news feed as Facebook executes these changes:
- Implement episodic storytelling through video series.
The key for brands to keep content in the news feed with Facebook’s new algorithm is to attract repeat viewership. One strategy for this is to develop an episodic video series in which you broadcast live videos at the same day and time so followers know when to return to your page and tune in.
- Take advantage of live video and Stories.
Live video receives six times more engagement than regular video and generates more discussion between Facebook users. More comments, especially longer ones, will help your content stay in the news feed with the new algorithm.
In the next few years, Stories are projected to overcome posts as the main way people share on all social platforms. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook have all adopted some form of short-form storytelling, in which users upload a photo or video to their “Story,” which their followers can view for 24 hours before it’s permanently deleted. Stories are also an effective content strategy because they remain posted at the top of the news feed on both Facebook and Instagram when active.
Facebook Messenger Bots
With 1.3 billion active monthly users, Facebook Messenger is a major marketing platform for brands. Many businesses have started using messenger bots to communicate with potential clients or candidates.
Estee Lauder, for example, combines augmented reality with messenger bots in its marketing communications on Facebook Messenger. A customer uploads a selfie to Messenger, and the Estee Lauder messenger bot analyzes the selfie and determines which shades of lipstick would look best on the customer, then places a virtual overlay of that lipstick shade on the selfie so the customer can see how that shade of lipstick would look like on them without going to a store. The messenger bot then provides prompts to purchase the lipstick or download the image for future consideration.
SMMW projected messenger bots will be a key strategy for marketers to communicate with customers and candidates. Since Facebook messages already have an open and click-through rate that far exceed that of email, it’s important for brands to consider adopting messenger bot technology now before the market becomes saturated in the next five years.
Key Takeaway: Take Advantage of Emerging Trends Now
This year’s SMMW focused on emerging trends that are likely to pick up incredible steam in the next few years, including live video, Stories and messenger bots. With Facebook’s new algorithm, and a shift in focus from brands to people, marketers will need to adjust their social strategies to attract repeat viewership and a smaller, more engaged audience. Marketers who find success in the next few years will be those who take advantage of new technologies including Stories and messenger bots before the market becomes inundated.