Big changes at Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp

By: Richard Michie

Marketing on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are changing, again. Here’s is a run down on what was announced and how you can make the most of the changes.

At Facebook’s F8 Conference on April 30th Mark Zuckerberg announced some of the most radical changes to the Facebook suite of social media channels – Facebook (including Messenger), Instagram and WhatsApp.

The world changed for businesses marketing via Facebook last year following issues surrounding privacy and Facebook misusing data. In reality, most of the changes where a way to get businesses to spend on targeted ads where they had previous had the luxury of free cover.

The changes announced now make wholesale changes yet again. Here’s the initial run down on what’s announced and what it may mean for your business.

Facebook changes

When Facebook changed how they displayed the newsfeed prefer stories from friends and relatives covered for business pages took a nose dive.

With this change, named FB5 by Zuckerberg, Facebook is redesigning the desktop version and the Apps on iOS and Android to highlight Groups and Events in the feed. It’ll show these via a prominent tab which will create a personalised tab pulling in updates from your favourite groups and their events.

Facebook is working hard to ensure that Groups will be very clear in all areas of the app, including the Marketplace and Watch, the video section of the site.

Can businesses benefit from these Facebook changes?

Facebook Groups have always been a great place to increase a businesses reach. If they are a good fit for your messages, and you ensure that you adhere to the group moderators rules, sharing your business posts to groups can massively affect your reach and engagement. So, if played right your business can make great strides with this update.

If your businesses has it’s own open group and you’ve nurtured your audience then again this is a great opportunity to increase coverage. If you don’t have a group, then now looks like a great time to start one!

The fact that Groups will be seen in Watch and Market Place too gives event great incentive to use them.

Facebook is also building new tools tailored to group types, including a new listing format for Groups and buying buttons which can be added to Facebook Live broadcasts.

As always getting coverage isn’t down to just being there, you need great, engaging content which makes people want to interact.

Emphasising Facebook Events

The increased prominence of Facebook Events is a great opportunity for Businesses. They are putting increased effort into helping user find events in their local area. Meeting your customers in real life, via a webinar or Facebook Live or, god forbid, an actual event, is a great opportunity to grow your business and sales.

If you’re not posting events, now’s the time to get them moving. They where always a good idea anyway.

Instagram goes transactional

As we bogged about previously, one of the biggest changes is coming to Instagram. Business have been able to turn their feeds Shoppable for a while, but you needed to connect via the store on your Facebook page and then to you own e-commerce site.

Instagram have been running a trial with a few big name retailers for a while which enables shoppers to buy directly from the post, inside Instagram. This is a big change as it means shoppers won’t need to visit your e-commerce site, meaning you don’t have the full control anymore.

It’s easy to see this as a threat, but if customers see it as the best way to shop, your business will need to work with it and work out how to build loyalty other ways.

New marketing tools for WhatsApp

WhatsApp is often a forgotten tool for marketing, it’s thought of a just a personal messaging service. But for businesses where customer interaction is key it can be a perfect tool. Add in the talk of Facebook integrating WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram Messaging and the utility becomes clearer.

WhatsApp is already available for business users, once it’s set to a business account (this was added to iOS very recently) so you can already field customer service and use it for business development as your brand.

The big change from FB5 is that Facebook are adding a store to WhatsApp. This will enable your customers to buy directly from the app.

What’s the big take away from the Facebook changes?

Facebook has been under fire following lots of data and fake news scandals. They’re also very keen on making the platform make money for themselves. These developments would appear to be playing right down the middle, making users feel better served, which giving businesses a better more intuitive way to sell to them. All the while ensuring that people stay in Facebook’s channels.

If we can help your marketing on Facebook or any other social media, call us on 0113 477 1210 or fill in the contact form below.

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