No matter what industry you are in, keeping up with the constant changes in social media is a full-time role. To make is easier on you, here is what’s new with three major players in social.
Given recent headlines, it’s imperative to focus mostly on Facebook. It’s not only one of the most pervasive social networking platforms, but also the one that has come under massive scrutiny and criticism over its recent data breach of 87 million user profiles. Despite the scandal and #deletefacebook trending on Twitter (https://bit.ly/2JtAgIa), only an estimated 1% of Facebook’s 2.2 billion active users have actually left. And recently, Facebook revealed its profits soared 63% to $5 billion in the first three months of the year. So, it’s not going away any time soon.
With that said, the impact of the data breach to the pharma world was immediate. The networking giant was working with several major hospitals to share anonymous data on illnesses and prescriptions about their patients (https://cnb.cx/2EjXcWJ). Facebook would match it up with its own user profiles and help hospitals figure out which patients might need special care or treatment. But now that initiative, as well as the plan to make medical records available via Facebook, has been put on the back burner in favor of protecting people’s data.
However, significant changes Facebook has made to its News Feed algorithm (again!) in the past few months may be seen as forcing marketers to change their content and paid social strategies. Now, friends and family content will be prioritized over public content. Additionally, less public content from publishers or businesses will appear in the News Feed, while Facebook Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in the feed.
So, if you want your content seen by as many people as possible, it is all about putting spend behind it. These changes also reminded marketers they need to produce less, but more meaningful content. To help achieve that goal, take a cue from these two very specific suggestions.
First, stop posting any content with a link to your blog or website. Do not rely on Facebook for referral traffic to your own sites—doing this will diminish your exposure. As one real-world example, Novartis could have uploaded the video on the fight against malaria (see example below) to Facebook, rather than simply have a link to YouTube. Facebook will not show content in a timeline if it contains a link outside of the social network platform.
The second suggestion: Lean into video, especially live video. According to Facebook, live videos get an average of six times as many interactions as pre-recorded videos. Go behind-the-scenes and break down the big company image. Choose natural, energetic staff ambassadors who are comfortable on camera and convey your message authentically. For example, Pfizer did a live broadcast of its Chief Medical Officer talking about teen health (https://bit.ly/2x3dC7s)—it achieved more than 2,000 views, which is a very respectable engagement level.
On a separate note, if you are using third-party tools to manage Facebook and Instagram, then you may have run into a few problems. On April 4, as part of Facebook’s drive to protect people’s data, it announced a number of changes to its API (https://bit.ly/2GyyWSI), which has limited some functionality, mostly on Instagram. Some issues and possible solutions:
- Facebook has limited Instagram functionality (via API restriction) on most social media management tools—the limitation on moderation/engagement is limited to personal, not business accounts, so ensure your Instagram accounts are set up as business accounts (instructions can be found at https://bit.ly/2khOjFj).
- Instagram names and profile images will not show on social media management tools—in order to view the poster’s Instagram name and profile image you’ll need to click through to the front end.
- Stick with your current tool provider, as moving Pages to a new platform may reduce your access to Facebook Messenger private messages (Facebook is currently reviewing tool provider requirements for this functionality and is expected to re-enable universal access shortly).
The biggest change on LinkedIn since March has been the introduction of using video (https://bit.ly/2pQPEFL) to communicate to your followers through sponsored content and publishing those videos on Company Pages. This is a bit late compared to other social platforms, as users have been able to add videos to their timeline for six months.
GSK has been quick to take advantage of this additional functionality and has been publishing a number of videos on its Company Page. For example, GSK has kicked off “60 Seconds of Science” and is regularly publishing a series of videos every Thursday to demonstrate its knowledge on various subjects. Given one example of these videos has received more than 1,000 likes, it proves this content is resonating well with its audience—even if the comments are a bit low.
LinkedIn also appears to be copying Facebook by placing more importance on its Groups. However, LinkedIn Groups have suffered from a deluge of spam, which is why members have been reluctant to use them. In an attempt to combat that, the business network has made Groups available via the home page, and members will also be able to see the latest content from your Groups in notifications and the home page feed.
It finally looks as though two features that marketers have been after for a while on Instagram will come to fruition. The first: The ability to follow hashtags. Users can now see content related to their particular hashtag, instead of doing a manual search. It is now more important than ever to make sure you are using the most relevant hashtags in your IG posts, as users can follow a particular topic, such as cancer with nearly 9.4 million posts. By using hashtags, brands will be able to keep an eye on the type of content its competitors are producing, as well as developing a deeper understanding of the type of content that generates the most engagement with your audience.
The second new feature: The ability to include public posts, either a brand’s or a user’s, direct to the Story in one click. Previously if you wanted to do this, brands would have to ask users for permission and take a screenshot of the content.
As the saying goes, the only constant is change. The same holds true in the world of social media. Make the effort to keep up with the swift and constant changes in social and it will pay off.