Facebook Changes For 2019 & What It Means For Online Business Owners

In the last several weeks, massive shockwaves have reverberated all over the online business world about the changes coming to Facebook. It’s hard to tell the real news from the fake news, but after several hours of listening, reading, and researching, it can be summarized as follows:

  1. Facebook is HUGE. So big in fact that it’s becoming something like a monopoly. And because of this, there are massive eyeballs on Facebook – and the possibility of regulation from the government.
  2. It would seem that between the privacy debacle, the user data they’ve gathered about what users enjoy most on the app, and the negative social/psychological impact of social media newsfeeds on the human brain, Facebook is continuing to evolve in order to stay relevant.

This has led to rumors like… the newsfeed disappearing, one of the key components online business owners use to advertise and send traffic to their products and services. While no such official announcement has been made about the newsfeed, there is definitely a push in directions that eerily leave out any mention of the newsfeed.

There’s always a bit of a conundrum as marketers — because it’s easy to get swept up in rumors (Remember when people abandoned their facebook pages because organic reach fell?) and it’s hard to tell what will stick and what will evolve. No one wants to invest in something that will phase out or become irrelevant, so how do you maximize your efforts without knowing the future?

Without any official notice about how advertising and marketing on Facebook newsfeed may change in the coming years, here are the things I will be focusing on as Facebook undergoes one of the biggest evolutions we’ve seen to date.

Facebook Groups

I am SO glad I didn’t follow the herd when everyone and their mother were abandoning Facebook groups. They are central to the future of Facebook, and so if you’ve been on the fence about creating a group, today is the day to start focusing on it. There have been a ton of new features added to groups in the last 12 months, and more coming — including the possibility of sponsors and ads in the groups themselves.

When you open up Facebook on your phone, you’ll see the group button dead center in the menu bar, with the option to pin and rearrange your top 10 groups.

Your group algorithm matters. That means spend time creating organic content that makes it easy for your group members to respond. Keep the auto-posting to a minimum, reward active members, and give people a reason to login to their device and CHECK the group – not just wait for it to appear in the newsfeed.

Facebook Messenger

I won’t even pretend to be an expert in bots, because I haven’t used them a ton in my marketing yet, but there are lots of rumors that it will be a pay to play feature soon. You’ll have to pay per message for broadcasts out to your subscriber list, which sucks, but we all knew it was coming to that.

On the happy side, there will be more ways to interact on messenger – like group video calls and watch parties. They are also building out lead ad templates for messenger, which signal that they are actively improving how marketers can monetize messenger.

With the release of a new desktop app, merging WhatsApp and Insta with Messenger, and completely revamping the mobile app to load quickly, Messenger is trying to overtake texting it appears. It’ll be interesting to see how marketers can deliver personalized interactions via messenger during the lead and buying process.

Facebook Stories

If you haven’t become completely addicted to IG stories on Instagram, it’s time. Facebook is putting more and more emphasis on stories, design wise in the app (bigger than ever on mobile if you’ve noticed) but also because, people like content that doesn’t stick around forever.

Stories are powerful because they have built in urgency. The content disappears. Using stories to drive people to your podcast, blog, videos, is going to become one of the key ways to drive traffic (much like we do all the time with posts), as well as creating engaging content that people come back to watch again and again. A lot of marketers are having incredible conversions using story ads, and you can expect that to continue in force.

Facebook Events

I’m interested in this focus for Facebook, because it’s one I haven’t used a ton, but it’s a key feature getting an overhaul. How might marketers use the redesigned events app to remind people of livestreams, webinars, online classes, or in person events? This is worth looking into more in depth, as Facebook signals its importance in their redesign. Events have their own newsfeed area for posting, can be used in ads, and will be part of Facebook’s continued initiative to help people connect geographically.

Facebook Watch

Even though most small business owners can’t just get a Facebook Watch show, video will continue to be critical to engagement on Facebook. Facebook Watch is a big part of Facebook’s attempt to compete with YouTube, and video content in general, outranks other types of content. However you plan to roll out video – either through stories, livestreams, or pre-recorded content, video is key.

Facebook Timeline

Even though there wasn’t a focus on the timeline during the F8 conference, I will continue to think of my timeline as… my Facebook website. This means both my page and my profile. The point for me is that when people hear about me – wherever it comes from – I want to make sure my timeline is a curated delight of help, inspiration, and excellent content that highlights my brand and services.

What Matters Less

Once upon a time, it mattered how many likes were on your page. People obsessed over group size, number of friends and followers, etc. Let me say this plainly. It’s not worth your time to worry about vanity metrics. Zuckerberg clearly agrees because in a bold move over on Instagram, they’ve decided to remove how many likes are on each photo (except to the original poster).

If I were to set a theme for the next 12 months of my Facebook marketing, it would be: Meaningful engagement. Connecting with the people that clearly need/want my services, and not trying to be all things to all people.

Good content never goes out of style, and if you focus on that – you’ll be able to weather whatever changes come our way.

Let me know in the comments below…what changes you’re most looking forward to!