First announced in 2019, “the new Facebook" (or FB5), a.k.a. the platform’s newest update, has been launching across the world. Founder Mark Zuckerberg had several goals for the update, including streamlined navigation, simplified design and “making communities as central as friends,” according to CNBC.
In Facebook’s continued move toward community, brands have had to take on some additional lift. While the most noticeable change to the platform is a new desktop design with larger fonts and a simplified layout — plus a new “dark mode” that eases tension on the eyes — there are several changes that will alter interactions for users and brands alike.
In viewing the update, my team is eager to take advantage of the new focus on groups and events. I see this shift in gears as an opportunity for businesses to increase brand awareness and engagement. Personally, my company is using COVID-19 strategies of relationship building, meaningful creation and virtual experiences to harness the update’s huge potential. Here’s how to make the shift:
1. Create a community hub.
In the update, Facebook groups will now be uniquely promoted to users based on interests. These tailored group suggestions and updates will be delivered via a revamped news feed. Not only is it possible for brands to garner new audience members via these groups, but they can also foster brand loyalty by engaging their most passionate fans in conversations surrounding their products.
Many brands have already leaned into Facebook groups for their audiences. However, just as I recommend that each platform serve a niche function in your marketing strategy, the same should be said for groups. Outline a specific value for members of your group, and understand the hub’s function as a sort of forum.
Consumers are meant to rule supreme here, and a brand’s job is simply to facilitate conversation and motivate consistent hype to keep members active in their community. Think of what will be uniquely shared here as opposed to your general page — perhaps insider deals, early information on product launches or inspiration for your community — and consistently deliver to make this a popular spot for new and existing customers.
2. Host events.
Host events, even if they’re online. Facebook's update will promote the digital invite all the same. Just as the platform strives to entertain users with Facebook groups, it does the same with events. For so long, social media has been limited to scroll, like and comment. Now, however, new opportunities to engage with fellow users (and brands) are becoming the focus.
Organizing a digital meeting for Facebook users might seem unconventional. But in this new normal, what doesn’t? Rather than waiting for the all-clear to host in-person events, consider urging your audience to mark their calendars for an online course, webinar, event or sale. Attracting RSVPs should be easy as events find their way to members of your target demographic.
Combine enthusiastic copy and eye-catching creative to urge users to click on your event. In a way, these in-feed promotions are similar to ads. So, remember that you’ll need to grab attention quickly to stop the scroll. Then, be sure there’s a value statement once they arrive at the invite. Here, you’ll persuade them that this is an event worth their time and a brand worth following.
3. Use new job functions.
A final perk for businesses in the new Facebook update includes new options for job postings and applications. Brands can now use a revamped template to post positions in their professional communities and attract ideal applicants.
Although the platform’s "jobs" tab previously allowed users to surf openings, the design was less than intuitive and often required navigating to a company’s personal website. Now, brands can post, promote and field applications directly on Facebook.
Plus, applicants and brands can communicate directly through Facebook Messenger — another example of a streamlined digital function.
The demand for brands is even higher now because Facebook requires us to give users multiple engagement streams to choose from.
However, I see this shift as a huge win for businesses. Rather than relying solely on organic posts to make their way to users’ feeds, we now have more avenues for making the jump. No longer do we have to constantly fight against the algorithm. Instead, we can get creative to attract new users and engage existing audiences.
Plus, there’s always paid promotion.