Facebook has faced an inordinate amount of negative and potentially debilitating media coverage this year. During the heat of the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal, the #DeleteFacebook movement reached fever pitch. Several celebrities garnered headline news by taking their Facebook accounts down.
However, just how much impact have these challenges had on the world’s most popular social network?
Well, only a very small portion of users followed through and deleted their accounts. Instead of shutting down Facebook in an attempt to cause change, many users and businesses chose to stay strong and use the platform to create more good.
Related content: Facebook Privacy: What Small Business Owners Need to Know
In fact, many of my own community asked me during the height of Facebook’s pressure whether they should shut down their account. I got on my soapbox, big time. I implored my followers to not be so hasty or so foolish. Now was definitely not the time to abandon ship – the largest and most robust ship in the global social network ocean! I knew that Facebook would weather the storm and potentially come out stronger.
I first joined Facebook on May 4th, 2007 – Star Was Day! (May the fourth be with you.) It was a defining moment for me that I’ll never forget. I immediately saw the incredible potential of being able to connect with so many people that you might never otherwise have been able to reach. I became a raving evangelist for Facebook on the spot and my passion and enthusiasm for the company never waned since that day. I’ve stayed focused on teaching Facebook marketing for over 11 years now. I was fortunate to be hired as a subcontractor by Facebook in 2015 and went on tour with the company, teaching SMBs the power of Facebook ads.
Why small businesses must embrace Facebook marketing
There are over 80 million businesses on Facebook, yet only 6 million are advertisers. On Instagram, there are over 25 million business profiles, and 2 million advertisers. There is still massive potential for small business owners to fully take advantage of all that Facebook and Instagram offer.
- Facebook has been the world’s #1 social network for over a decade and will continue to dominate.
- Facebook has over 2.23 billion monthly active users.
- The Facebook family of apps includes Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp, Audience Network and Oculus.
- In June 2018, 2.5 billion people
- Your business can easily reach the exact target demographic you want by placing ads on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and the Audience Network all using the same Facebook Ads Manager.
- WhatsApp and Messenger are the two most popular mobile messaging apps
- Instagram just celebrated 1 billion monthly active users and is only just getting started; in many ways, Instagram is “Facebook’s next Facebook.”
- Although user growth has slowed on the main Facebook app, Instagram and Messenger are in growth mode. To put this into perspective, it’s not even realistic for Facebook to continue amassing users at the same growth rates now that the company has well over 2 billion users.
- The Stories format is growing 15X faster than news feed content.
- There are 400 million daily active users (DAUs) on Instagram Stories and 150 million DAUs on Facebook Stories.
- Stories are like a ‘sub culture’ primarily on Instagram as users are not just passively consuming feed content; they have to proactively tap into and swipe to consume Stories content.
- Placing ads in the Stories format is already very effective for many marketers and will only keep growing.
- If you have customers outside the U.S., be sure to pay close attention to what’s happening with WhatsApp. Facebook is only just beginning to build products for business users on WhatsApp. Android users, be sure to claim your business profile. And businesses can already place click-to-message WhatsApp ads using Facebook Ads Manager.
Facebook continually iterates and improves its products for both the consumer user experience and for business user success. There’s never been a better time to dive in and fully optimize Facebook and Instagram for your business.
The past, present and future of Facebook
Yes, the days pre-2012 were amazing for business users. We could achieve 300% or higher organic reach (getting our business page posts to 3x or more the number of fans). But then Facebook became a public company in 2012 and so the decline in organic reach began as the stock price climbed. Facebook has a fiduciary duty to make money for its shareholders. And Facebook sure continues to deliver in that regard, although there have been some fluctuations in share price especially on the last earnings call due to unrealistic expectations of continued user growth rates.
So long as Facebook continues to be an ingrained daily habit for billions of people, the company will keep going from strength to strength. They may not accrue another billion users (unless Mark Zuckerberg finally cracks the code to get into China, but I doubt that will happen).
But they will keep evolving and bringing out new AR and VR technology and all manner of high-tech projects. Facebook has a ‘Secret Building 8’ where a dedicated team works on numerous futuristic products. Zuckerberg declared at Facebook’s annual F8 Developer Conference in 2017 that in ten years’ time we would no longer need actual physical giant screen televisions. Instead, we would simply pop in a pair of contact lenses and look out at projected images in front of us. Amazing.
Zuckerberg also declared that the smartphone was the original AR device and proudly showed off demonstrations of how you could point your phone at any object and gather real-time info and possibly even a ‘button to buy it,’ he said.
Facebook was due to launch an in-home video chat device this year but postponed the launch when the data breach scandal came to light. The device will still launch soon. Conversational commerce – including chatbots and especially voice commerce – is another huge wave and Facebook is already well positioned to help businesses take advantage of these areas.
Messenger marketing is only just starting to catch on among businesses of all sizes. Being able to automate your customer care, FAQs, initial sales inquiries and more can help save vast amounts of time and resources, not to mention increase your conversion rates.
As a 14-year-old company, Facebook may be going through teenage growing pains this year. But the company is just as strong, just as robust and is at a place where making strategic choices now can impact the direction of not only the company but of global wellbeing. That’s a tall order, but Facebook has already proven that it can have significant impact on society’s decisions.
About Mari Smith
Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She is a Forbes’ Top Social Media Power Influencer, author of The New Relationship Marketing and coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day. Forbes recently described Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” She is a recognized Facebook Partner; Facebook headhunted and hired Mari to lead the Boost Your Business series of live events across the US. Mari is an in-demand speaker, and travels the world to keynote and train at major events.
Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking, training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, SMBs and direct sales organizations. Mari is also an expert webinar and live video broadcast host, and she serves as Brand Ambassador for numerous leading global companies.
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