Are you sure you want to leave FacebookBy Corina Manea

Everyone has heard of Facebook, no doubt about it.

In fact, if someone says he’s not on Facebook, he might get a few weird looks such as, “Dude, what planet are you living on?”

Did you know 71 percent of online adults use Facebook?

That is… a lot!

And if we look at how much time people spend on the social network (around 20 percent of all time online), you begin to see why brands pay Facebook to promote their content.

If there is one constant thing about Facebook, it would be the algorithm changes. With the exception of Google, there isn’t another network that changes its algorithm so much.

Which leads us to today’s topic, you guessed it….Facebook.

Because Facebook changed its algorithm in June, again!

So What’s the Big Deal?

If previous changes meant you had to publish more links, then images, then links again, then you had to engage your fans by asking more questions, this time the latest change is all of that and more.

It gives us a glimpse into what’s next in social media marketing.

Let’s Start From the Beginning

Earlier this year, Facebook quietly invited major media companies such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and National Geographic to host content directly on the platform (through the Facebook Instant Articles), so users don’t have to go to an external site (and leave Facebook).

Why would any media company allow a third-party to publish their content and keep it all there?

The answer might be in numbers.

Facebook gives them an important share in ad revenue.

However, there are many things to be addressed, such as: Will media companies have control of their own content (don’t think so!) or how does the user experience change?

And because Facebook means business, the announcement they made last month gives marketers a gigantic headache.

There are times when, for example, people want to see information about a serious current event, but don’t necessarily want to like or comment on it. Based on this finding, we are updating News Feed’s ranking to factor in a new signal—how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed.” — Facebook said on their blog.

Which means, for your content to have more visibility, Facebook wants you to publish long-form content—or an entire blog post or article directly on the platform rather than directing users to your own blog or website.

Did you see this coming?

So, while Medium declares itself a social network, not a publishing tool, Facebook is going the opposite direction to incorporate long-form content This slowly, but surely begins to kill a brand’s blog in an effort to make the user experience, in their own words, “more seamless.”

They plan to be the “all inclusive” and “to go” platform, for publishing content, interacting with your audience, reading the news, sharing the latest videos of your crazy, cat or keeping up with your friends.

Bottom line, they plan for you to stay on Facebook.


What Can Marketers Do?

If you’re in digital marketing, you know have a little more on your plate.

You have to figure out what to do.

Should you jump in and publish all your blog posts directly on Facebook and forget about your blog?

Should you stay cool, ’cause this too shall pass?

Well, there is no straight answer.

As everything with digital, you have to experiment and see what works for your brand.

Facebook is not the only one tying to attract and keep the users on their platform.

LinkedIn imagined more of the same when they launched LinkedIn Pulse, which, by-the-way, crossed one million writers this month.

If, until now it’s been all about attracting audience to something you own(blog/website) and we used social media to spread the word, now the roles are reversed.

Are You Sure You Want to Leave Facebook?

Social channels such as Facebook or LinkedIn become content channels, which want their own content, not links to external sites.

Today, given the changes happening in social media, is probably more important than ever to define your why. What are your objectives and goals, and what do you want to achieve through social media?

It gets more and more expensive, so it’s time to narrow down your focus and stop throwing money on the newest, shiniest channel and direct your attention and money to where your audience is really spending time.

What can I say? We live in interesting times.

Your turn now: Have you tried publishing long-form content on your Facebook page? How did it go?

Corina Manea

Corina Manea is the chief community officer at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She works directly with Spin Sucks students and writes for the award-winning PR blog. She also is the founder of NutsPR. Join the Spin Sucks  community!

View all posts by Corina Manea