So, it’s Day One back in the office after Facebook’s latest News Feed change. or as some have been calling it: “News Feed Armageddon.” Here it is plain and simple: Zuck is putting the “social” back in social networks. With a focus on one-to-one engagement and connections with family and friends, Mark Zuckerberg is making sure that Facebook returns to its roots.
In fact, this isn’t an Armageddon at all. Actually, it’s an opportunity.
But first, how did we get here? With the rise of publishers, videos, and brands on the social network, Facebook had to make decisions about what people wanted to see. Truth is, Facebook has been doing exactly that since its inception. Zuckerberg and company have been constantly tinkering with the algorithm in hopes of making sure Facebook users spend the most time possible on the network. In theory, that’s good both for Facebook and users.
Then, 2017 happened. There was the rise of charges of “fake news” and alleged Russian hanky-panky in the previous presidential election. Facebook got caught in the crossfire as one of the platforms that fell prey to easy manipulation via its News Feed. In the effort to become a primary news source for users, the Facebook pendulum had swung too far.
Facebook had lost the trust of their users. Zuckerberg even said it himself in his announcement: “Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do – help us connect with each other.”
Anyway, there has been a lot cries about how the sky is falling and it’s all Zuck’s fault. Hardly. Take a deep breath. The world isn’t ending. Instead, this is a very good thing for organizations that treasure authentic, organic advocacy.
Facebook has made a choice to re-center itself, and now our job is to adapt. This change is a great opportunity for organizations to build real trust with the help of their most valued asset – their employees.
The de-prioritization of publisher and brand content lowers the volume of noise for everyone who uses Facebook. This, in turn, gives your employees a greater chance to be heard and seen. In a world of “fake news” and content clutter, Facebook users have a greater trust of information that is shared by their friends and family. Think about it. When we build our own social network, we opt to include people whom we believe add real value to our lives. And those people often work. Smart companies can take advantage of this by creating powerful, compelling, interesting content, and then putting it into the hands of their employees for sharing.
And guess what? People in their networks will care because those employees care! People, this isn’t rocket science!
So, echoing the words of Dynamic Signal Advisor Gini Dietrich, we shouldn’t panic. This is beneficial for meaningful, Employee Advocacy engagement. But it also means we need to be smart and up our game. We have to create great, meaningful content for our advocates. No one wants to share (or read) a boring press release about a company’s new product. But a cool video or discussion featuring real-life examples of how that product is changing the industry (or the world)? Your employees will be happy to share that content with their friends and family. And those people will be happy to watch it.
For me, that’s the take-home message here. Put the time into making great stuff internally that employees are proud to share within their network. That’s how content goes viral. For instance at Dynamic Signal, we have found huge success with our weekly Rapid Fire Friday series. It’s a fun, entertaining, authentic way to highlight the human element to the DySi brand. Our employees love it and love sharing it with their networks because it showcases one of the best parts of our organization – our people! That’s the kind of content you want your advocates to be sharing – content that makes them feel part of a community and proud to show off.
As Zuckerberg said: “The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being.”
By mobilizing our advocates and building great content, we can build trust from the ground up between friends and family – sparking conversation, discussion, and real human connection.
This isn’t an Armageddon; this is using social networks like they were meant to be used.