2019 Facebook & Instagram Updates: What Small Business Marketers Need to Know

2019 facebook and instagram changes

This year, Facebook has announced a number of major changes for both its own platform and Instagram, which it acquired in 2012.

And have you noticed that a lot of social media blogs and “gurus” out there keep hailing that it’s “the end of Facebook as we know it!!!!”

A lot of that is scare tactics, and I HATE that.

So instead, I’ve been studying Facebook, its almost-always-embroiled-in-controversy founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and — most importantly — I’ve been studying YOU.

My clients, my prospects, the lifeblood of our economy — small business owners.

Because the way you and I use Facebook isn’t going to be the same as e-commerce-only retailers. We have staff, we have a location, we do consultations and estimates.

So keep reading to see how this affects business owners like you and me.

These changes won’t go into effect today or tomorrow, but they’re coming, and I want you to be prepared.

But I don’t want you to be SCARED, because Facebook can and will still work for you.

I’ll show you how…

2018 definitely gave Facebook a run for its money with scandals littering media headlines.

It seemed like every other week there was a new and damaging headline about Facebook. So, did these headlines have an impact on Facebook?

Yes and no.

Here are a few figures to consider:

  • 15 million people have stopped using Facebook since 2017, but 69% of all Americans adults still use Facebook (about 144,298,384 people).
  • People report spending less time there — about 10% less per person.
  • Facebook’s stock is UP about 38% since the start of the year.

So, yes:

Some Americans are more cautious about their involvement with Facebook.

But:

It certainly hasn’t affected Facebook’s revenue in the long run, and it’s fair to say that this social media giant isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Although it may look a bit different in the future…

Here’s a quick breakdown of what we can expect to see happening:

1. Facebook is getting a makeover.

Not just a redesign in how it looks, but Facebook will eventually revolve around groups.

facebook groups preview

Users will soon be able to click a button at the top of the app, or access the area from the left-hand bar, where they’ll see:

  • Recommended groups
  • Groups their friends are in
  • And the place where they can manage the groups they’re in.

In other words:

Facebook is moving away from the friends-focused newsfeed we’ve become accustomed (or addicted) to.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has said that we’ll see a future Facebook that embodies more friends and family — and less privacy invasions — while highlighting groups and communities.

Slowly phasing out a newsfeed focused on status updates and photo sharing will be a first step in that direction.

2. Facebook will soon center-stage events.

Events are nothing new, but soon Facebook will have a dedicated events tab to direct you to the events your friends are attending, as well as public events taking place in your neighborhood.

So if your business is hosting an event — or an open house — it’s time to promote that on Facebook.

3. Facebook will adopt many of Instagram’s features.

Instagram, Facebook’s less drama-ridden sister platform, reached 1 billion monthly active users last June, which is a cool 200 million more than the year before.

Which is to say:

Instagram is growing quickly. Faster than Facebook, in fact.

You’ll also find younger demographics on Instagram more frequently. Millennials and Generation Z (those born from 1995 to 2010) prefer Instagram to Facebook and check it more frequently.

Therefore, Facebook is migrating Instagram’s winning features for its own use.

Here’s a prime example:

Facebook stories. You’ve probably started seeing them at the top of your Facebook app, like this:

facebook stories

Stories are short-lived status updates that don’t appear on the newsfeed and are not archived on an individual’s page, like usual status updates. Instead, they’re featured above the feed for 24 hours before disappearing.

Stories currently offer possibilities for different types of interaction and will continue to expand on this.

So on Facebook, you’ll be able to not only share your photos, videos, and text posts like you have been, but you’ll also be able to create these:

  • Quizzes
  • Polls
  • Audience Q&As
  • And all of Instagram’s other features (like inserting music into posts) not directly related to sharing photos or videos.

Another interesting feature currently being tested by Instagram is hiding view and like counters — these:

instagram likes

People and businesses will still be able to see their own like counts, but these counts may not be visible much longer to just anyone viewing your Instagram posts — if the change is adopted.

Facebook and Instagram are gunning to become a free-expression safe zone, where friends and family can share openly with less focus on popularity.

Lastly…

4. Facebook will place an increased amount of importance on Messenger.

Facebook acquired the messaging app WhatsApp in 2014, and, since then, has learned a lot about our messaging behavior.

While they’ve so far been relatively slow to implement these changes and evolve the Messenger app, you can expect the gradient to steepen.

Page chat bots for businesses have been in beta for a while, and you can expect these to be rolled out further, meaning your page will be “always on” and ready to interact with prospects 24/7 through the scripts you set up.

Here’s an example of how you can set up your chat bot to capture leads on an automated basis — no ongoing monitoring required.

facebook chatbot

Facebook is working on building an integration that will make it easier for businesses to import these new leads directly into your CRM. That way, you can bypass the manual labor of checking Facebook daily and adding these leads and instead just pick up the sales conversation right where your automated scripts leave off.

One of these integrations will include…

… and many of you will want to hear about this…

Appointment booking through Messenger!

If your CRM allows, you can sync your calendar with Facebook’s Messenger and allow potential customers and patients to book appointments through social media.

This feature is currently in beta but you can sign up for the waitlist and join the beta testers here.

Now, to be fair:

This is just a summary of the most important changes coming to Facebook in the future.

There will be MANY more changes to come.

But my objective isn’t to be a dedicated Facebook-update provider.

My objective is to help small business owners like you cut through the noise and focus on what matters to your business and your reality — the need to generate more leads and revenue without taking up too much time, effort or cost.

Because, believe me, I know how busy you are and how many hats you wear every single day.

Here’s the bottom line that you really need to pay attention to:

Facebook will cater more to its users and their core communities — and less to businesses.

Since Facebook cut the organic reach of business pages (first in 2014 and again in 2016), their share price has increased about 215%.

And that is because there is only one way for businesses to truly be noticed consistently on Facebook:

That way is to pay to play.

If you haven’t been paying for and running Facebook and Instagram ads to promote your business, not only are you losing eyes on your business, but any other social media efforts — like posting to your business’s Facebook page — will largely be left in the dust as these platforms evolve away from the needs of your business.

In case you haven’t set up your page to run ads yet, you can get started here. Facebook provides you with some instructions, and I’ve also delved into Facebook ads here.

However:

In case you don’t have time to learn about ads and continually manage/monitor them…

We created a product that integrates Facebook and Instagram ads — and Google ads! — into our postcard campaigns.

And it is ALL done for you and managed on an ongoing basis automatically.

It’s called:

Everywhere Small Business.

You can bundle your social media marketing — including Google ads and targeted direct mail — without you having to chase Facebook updates or learn their ads platform.

If you need any help running a marketing campaign that grows your business, don’t hesitate to contact one of my expert marketing consultants at 800-628-1804 —

They’ll show you campaigns that have worked for other businesses in your same industry — and their advice is 100% FREE.

Or, you can always email me directly at Joy.gendusa@postcardmania.com.

Best,

Joy

P.S. Want to see postcards already designed for your industry? Check out our gallery here!

FREE DOWNLOAD: Facebook Marketing: 3 Reasons Your Promoted Posts are Bombing

 

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