Facebook marketing is the central part of many brands’ social media marketing.
Which means, simply put, that Facebook marketing is a central part of most brands’ marketing, period.
Whether you’re in a B2B or B2C industry, and no matter what size your actual business is, you need Facebook marketing.
But Facebook marketing changes a lot. It’s almost unrecognizable from when it first swept across college campuses in 2004, with more than 1.47 billion daily users.
To put it in perspective, around 1.42 Million people live in Hawaii; Facebook has more users than several states have residences.
Instead of being intimidated by the changes happening on Facebook, it’s best to embrace them and adapt to them.
In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about Facebook marketing now, and what you can expect to see in the future.
Let’s Start Personal
I still remember when Facebook became a thing. There I was, refusing to make a Facebook and a Myspace.
I didn’t see the point; why make a whole different profile, especially when they were so similar? They had the same info, you could write on people’s walls, and all without that savagery that came with choosing your Top Friends.
I was convinced, nonetheless, because I was in high school and #FOMO.
At the time, Pages didn’t exist. Instead, there were “fan pages” that you could like. Anyone could start these pages, whether they were affiliated with the company or not.
I remember that I “liked” Reeses Pieces, Reeses Cups, Oviedo High School Substitute Teachers, and a famous flute player. These pages allowed interested users to see status updates on a regular basis.
We all know that the rest is history. Facebook has morphed into something completely different from what Myspace ever was. It is now a central part of online marketing.
In this post, we’re going to take a look at the present and future of Facebook Marketing, giving you insight into how you should be using it now and what to expect (and how to adapt!) moving forward.
Facebook Marketing: What It Looks Like Now
Facebook has taken big strides from the days when it was just another Myspace competitor, and it’s become a much more effective marketing tool than any other social media sites that came before it… and that’s even if you exclude Facebook Ads altogether (which for the sake of this post, we are).
Originally, Facebook marketing was just trying to get as many likes as possible so that you could broadcast content out to your audience. There was no such thing as a complex algorithm, after all, that slashed away at reach.
Now, the focus is more on building relationships with audiences, because big follower counts don’t matter at all if your engagement rates are in the toilet, and relationships matter more than shouting messages at your audience anyways.
There are five trends in Facebook usage today that have defined Facebook marketing as it currently exists, and will continue to do so.
Let’s take a look at each.
Facebook Marketing Trend #1: Personalization
As a user, you’re sure to have seen the “We’ve been friends for 8 years!” videos that feel exceptionally personalized.
You’ve also likely noticed that your feed most frequently shows you content from the people and brands that you interact with the most.
These are both examples of how personalization is taking hold of Facebook and Facebook marketing.
Brands need to take this into consideration when creating strategies and content for Facebook.
It doesn’t matter if you want to post an endless stream of promotions to your products and services, or even your blog; there’s a good chance that’s not what your audience wants to see, which will cost you engagement.
Instead, figure out the different types of content your specific audience is most responsive to, and create a mix of that.
Facebook Marketing Trend #2: Communication
Some users are relying on Facebook’s Messenger as a primary method of communication with both friends and businesses they want to talk to.
Some friends, I text; some, including my boyfriend and two of my closest friends, I chat with almost exclusively on Messenger.
I’m not alone; this is a growing trend, and many customers are more likely to shoot brands a message on Facebook instead of calling or even emailing. It’s instantaneous, and it gets people that immediate response they want and expect, whether they’re shopping and need a question answered or have a problem that needs to be resolved.
Brands can use this to their advantage, being ready to tackle incoming messages as quickly as possible.
This increases your responsiveness rate, which is public on Facebook, and also keeps your customers happy.
This is an important part of marketing because it helps to build your reputation, especially on Facebook.
Facebook Marketing Trend #3: Dynamic Marketing
Facebook has made a lot of strides to make the platform as interactive and dynamic for users as possible.
Some popular examples include:
Diverse reaction buttons that go beyond simple likes
Polls, especially in groups
Live video, where users can comment in real time to interact with the brand hosting the video
360 video, which viewers can interact with to see a full scene
If you want to get the most out of Facebook marketing, you need to be using dynamic marketing strategies and features to do so.
This is what users are most likely to interact with and enjoy seeing. This will not only help you get results on the individual post, but also improve your reach in the algorithm.
Remember to mix it up, use these features when possible, and to add lots and lots of native video to Facebook.
Facebook Marketing Trend #3: Community-Building
Relationship-building takes center stage in Facebook marketing right now, so creating a community on the platform is the best way to go.
You’ll see this happen most often in the form of brand-run-groups, which are designed to strengthen relationships between the brand and the members, and the members in general.
The goal is to establish a community that’s so valuable it becomes a resource, giving users that person-to-person experience that will keep them around and loyal to your brand.
Want to learn about how to build a strong, thriving community in Facebook? We cover that and more in our post on Facebook Groups.
Facebook Marketing Trend #5: Omni-Channel Selling
Did you know that you could sell products and services directly from Facebook?
Because you can, in not just one, but two different ways.
The first is through Facebook Shops, which allow you to create virtual storefronts in Facebook tabs.
Users can purchase directly from your virtual storefront, or you can send them to your site to purchase. You can sell both services and products through the store.
You can also sell through Messenger chatbots, cutting back on customer service costs and providing another method of encouraging sales.
These chatbots can be a little expensive and/or time-consuming to set up, but once well-programmed, you’ll not only have a robotic customer service rep, but a sales rep, too.
Stores like DSW have chatbots that provide customers with suggestions for shoes based on their style, and then customers can purchase in-app.
And if they’re not feeling shoes, they can order a pizza from Dominos’ chatbot instead.
Omni-channel selling is something we’re seeing more of across the board (not just on Facebook), so embracing it here if or when it’s ideal for your business to do so should be something to consider.
Notice here that I say “consider.” I want to point out that actual selling by selling on Facebook may not be ideal for all businesses.
Having a store on Facebook might cost you clicks to your own site, where you have lead magnets and pop-ups and discounts to better entice customers, along with depriving you of better retargeting.
And chatbots aren’t the right choice for all businesses.
That’s ok, and just keep an eye on best practices to see what new options become available for you. You can still incorporate omnichannel selling by posting offers and nurturing leads on Facebook Marketing using offers, contests, and more.
The Future of Facebook Marketing
Every few months, some article pops up declaring Facebook is DEAD. Dead, dead, dead. Sometimes they say this about the ads side of the platform, but they’re typically referring to the marketing.
I’m not sure that we’ll ever reach a point in our lifetimes where Facebook marketing is dead, at least not with some big changes and turns.
The number of users continues to increase, and activity levels are still high. Facebook also isn’t complacent, so they’re continuing to pump out new features so that they evolve along with user’s wants and needs.
Moving forward, I’d put money down that all of those big subheads are going to stay important and will define the future of Facebook marketing.
More personalization, more community-focused, more transparency, and more interactivity will be the way that Facebook goes, because this is what today’s (and tomorrow’s) audience wants.
In addition to seeing these trends continuing, there are currently indications that we’ll see some of the following in the future:
- More augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) on Facebook.
Facebook already has their own virtual reality platform that’s available to users with VR headsets, and increasing numbers of brands are using their own mobile apps or site features to allow potential customers to use AR to view see how products would work for them. As this technology becomes more available to consumers and businesses, this trend will increase, so be ready for it.
- Consumers and brands will connect on Facebook’s Messenger.
Users will increase the usage of Social media messaging apps (including and especially Facebook’s Messenger app) to reach out to brands. Marketing will likely have a bigger role on Messenger than it does now, and customer service on Messenger will continue to be important.
- Increased omnichannel selling may become a priority.
Brands can already sell on Facebook in several different ways, as we discussed above; that may continue to become more and more prevalent, especially if they start adopting more of the easy-pay options or more brands start utilizing the features.
- Increased usage as a search engine.
A lot of users are already using Facebook to look up local businesses. with Facebook’s recent Local feature, they’re encouraging users to utilize this feature more. Facebook has also acquired Wit.ai, which will help with speech recognition. This could be used to potentially increase voice searches, competing more with Google or even tools like Alexa, so keep an eye on this to see how it develops.
Facebook has changed a lot, and as our updated-every-month about the newest features and updates show, it’s continuing to change almost on a day-by-day basis.
Adapting your marketing strategies to align with changes in the algorithm, optimize for new features, and include best practices will keep you outshining competitors.
No matter what changes come to the platform, however, the trends of personalization, connection, and community building are here to stay.
That’s the direction Facebook marketing has been focusing on and will continue to move in, because it’s what brings more value to its users.
By focusing on that relationship-building and giving your audience what you want, you won’t run into too many speed bumps with your Facebook marketing along the way.
What do you think? How do you think Facebook marketing will change moving forward? Do you have plans in place to adapt for your business? Drop your thoughts and questions in the comments below!