Humans are fascinating creatures. On the one hand, we’re instinctively conservative but yet, on the other hand, we’re adventurous explorers. In fact, some of us are both at the same time.
I know that I struggle with this duality on a personal level all the time.
I love change. I like to take things that I am not entirely happy with and break them apart in an effort to “fix” them. I’ve been referred to by people I’ve worked with as the “human embodiment of change.”
At the same time, as my poor wife will attest, I can be incredibly conservative about somethings and almost obtuse when it comes to certain changes. I prefer to go to the same cafes and order the same breakfast if given the opportunity because I like consistency.
Working in technology, I appreciate and accept that change is the universal constant.
Everything is shifting all the time at an ever-accelerating pace because out inventions and innovations are compounding capabilities making it faster, easier and cheaper to do things today that were technically impossible just ten years ago.
Change is everywhere.
But change worries and scares some people.
Last week, in his annual missive where he cites his high-level goals, Mark Zuckerberg outlined a strategy to make FB more personally rewarding for users by focusing on delivering things to your newsfeed from friends and family more regularly and less from Pages of brands trying to promote stuff and grab your attention.
Essentially, Zuck wants you to feel like your favourite cafe is serving you the dishes you want and find comforting rather than some pushy waiter trying to convince you to try “the special” that you’re not really interested in.
For people who conduct their business on Facebook, you’d think Zuckerberg pushed the ballistic missile alert or something. Folks were running for their bunkers and calling it the end of the world.
They’re Digital Sharecroppers or patently stupid – I’ll leave it up to you to decide which.
Let me unpack some of this for you so that you understand what’s going on here.
People don’t like you spruiking stuff to them in their newsfeed on Facebook.
That’s pretty much it really.
When people go on FB, they want to see a picture of their friend Amy’s cat sleeping next to her golden retriever and they get excited when cousin Jeff posts videos of his baby Ethan playing peekaboo.
What they don’t want is to see a bunch of FitPros taking selfies in mirrors after their workout telling them that they can be that ripped if they join their life/business/nutrition/fitness mastermind wank-a-thon program.
Nobody wants that in their newsfeed.
And old mate Zuck wants to stop it from appearing.
I saw people talking about deleting their business Facebook Pages because organic reach from pages is going to be a target for these changes.
I asked those people repeatedly, “Why do you think that by setting up an FB Page that you should be able to advertise to me on FB’s platform for free?”
Because that’s what they want, right? They want to inject their ads (sometimes crudely disguised as “free content”) into my newsfeed when what I really want to see if my how much snow my cousins in Newfoundland are having to shovel to get out of their driveways.
The thing is, if you post content on your FB Pages and you hit this little “Boost Post” button and pay Facebook some of that sweet, sweet interwebz monies, they will gladly show your post to tons of people.
That’s called advertising and I hear it’s pretty effective when done well.
Being serious for a moment, that’s going to become a better strategy because if you boost something useful and it gets some engagement, FB is going to pick up on that and circulate it more widely.
Remember, they are trying to show people what they think people will be most willing to engage with so if they remove the knobheads shamelessly self-promoting through Newsfeed pollution, then if you do pay to get people’s attention, it will stand out more if it’s good enough.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Zuck’s entire post was self-serving and a bit of misdirection. By eliminating “free” advertising from pages and people self-promoting, it has two effects:
- It forces people who want to get in front of an audience to pay
- It makes that ad stock more valuable because it won’t be competing with as much free “look at me” type rubbish
This change will make Facebook way more money in the medium term.
Plus, they specifically called out Groups as something that should their organic reach increase because by their design, people engage with groups more.
No prize for working out which area of Facebook is currently most underserved by ads?
If you guessed Groups, you’ve been paying attention.
Facebook has been signalling for almost a year that they are going to begin monetizing groups more and so lifting their organic reach to pull people into them is a great way to get more eyeballs on even better targeted ads.
But this is just one example of the monumental changes that are happening.
Smart speakers loaded with intelligent assistants, AI, home automation…
These things are all starting to make changes to our daily lives and their impact will be monumental as things progress.
There’s no escaping change. If you’re not moving forward, you’re going backwards.
The trick for a small online business owner is knowing which changes to embrace.
Not all changes will be productive for you, so despite how sexy they appear, it’s sometimes better to take a pass and see how they pan out first.
But every now and then, you might spot a change or a trend that you feel in your cockles, or maybe even your sub-cockles, will be crucial to your future success – in that case, double down and go for it.
The thing with change is, you can’t do it half-arsed. You’re in for a penny, in for a pound.
If you decide to make changes, commit to it and go.
I’m going to rethink my attitudes about Facebook paid marketing now because I see these changes that they’re making and I notice that the herd is scared, so for me, that’s the time to be brave.
In fact, that’s just one of about a dozen changes I’m making or will be making this year in the Casual Marketer business.
Everything is in a constant state of flux, just how I like it!