Facebook Marketing Will Be Fundamentally Different in 2018: What does this mean for life science brands?
Business as usual on Facebook is not an option for 2018. Facebook will be changing the focus to interactive engagement. At the tactical level, this means that cross-talk in the comments will grow in priority while passive metrics such as video views will fall by the wayside. Although long comments can pose challenges in our highly regulated industry, there are actions you can take to ensure a successful social media strategy in 2018 and beyond.
What was the Facebook announcement?
In January, Mark Zuckerberg posted a detailed announcement outlining a fundamental shift in strategy.
“… we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
Those two sentences have really big implications. Let’s break it down:
- Prior to this, Facebook was solving for “relevant content,” which incentivized tactics like quote graphics and video with text that could be watched without sound
- We know from the rest of Mark Zuckerberg’s post, as well as follow up interviews with Adam Mosseri , Head of News Feed, that solving for “meaningful social interactions” is a shift away from public content (meaning content generated by businesses, brands, and media) towards seeing more from friends, family, groups, and community level conversations
What will this strategy shift mean at a tactical level?
The impact will be unfolding in the coming weeks and months, but there are some knowns right now:
- What’s IN: back to basics, good old fashioned engagement
- What’s DISCOURAGED: asking the audience to comment
- What’s surprisingly OUT: some video content…I’ll elaborate on what that means below because if you are like me, any statement that includes “less video” requires further explanation
Big changes coming for video content
In his interview with Wired magazine, Adam Mosseri said,
“There will be less video. Video is an important part of the ecosystem…but it’s more passive in nature. There’s less conversation on videos, particularly public videos.”
That could mean a shift in the types of video content that succeed with Facebook’s new algorithm. What we’ll likely see in 2018 is more Facebook Live videos since they spark engagement and comments. That’s good news for Life Sciences marketing. While FB Live does have its challenges, including methodical monitoring for adverse events, it can be done in a compliant way that adds value for the viewers and evokes genuine engagement.
Facebook Watch is another format that has a lot of potential for Life Science marketers. Facebook Watch was launched by Facebook in 2017 and offers original content; episodic, ‘snackable’ videos made specifically for Facebook. Since the videos live on Facebook, watchers can share with friends and connect with other viewers to build a conversation around the content.
How will we reach our customers?
Conversations in the comments pose a number of challenges in our industry, but without interactive engagement, the days of the newsfeed being an organic channel for content distribution may be coming to an end.
When one door closes….
This change offers an opportunity to dial in our social strategy even more. Different business goals will dictate different solutions.
If content distribution is the business priority, 2018 would be a good time to refine your FB Ad game and to up your testing of Messenger and chatbots. With public news feed content being deprioritized, paid distribution will become more critical.
If community building is appropriate for your category and audience, continue to invest in cultivating a highly engaged group. In addition to adding value to the community, the engagement that occurs in groups is very much in line with Facebook’s new priorities.
What are the content creation implications?
This change is a good reminder that although our products may be clinical in nature and our communications may be highly regulated, the content we share on social media is first and foremost offered to add value to our customers and to create meaningful engagement.
Practical tips for fostering that connection include:
- tighter persona-segments (versus trying to speak to everyone with the same message)
- content co-creation
- building out the content strategy prior to kicking off a specific asset or tactic
Three actions you can take now
- Favor FB Live over passive video for your FaceBook video content
- Invest in cultivating highly engaged communities
if it is appropriate for your business objectives, category, and audience
- Experiment with chatbots in Messenger and/or episodic video for Facebook Watch
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