In his keynote speech at F8 developer conference on April 30, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a new vision for Facebook Groups, where the feature will be as prominent on the site as Friends are in their News Feed and where smaller communities would be encouraged.
To get more context on this new strategy, we sat down with Jon Farb, our Chief Product Officer at ListenFirst, for his thoughts.
Q: What do you consider the most impactful thing about the F8 announcement and how do you think it’s going to be affecting the social marketing ecosystem?
Jon Farb: So, what’s interesting is Facebook has elaborated on their view of the world. They’re solving for two types of problems. They’re solving for the town square need where communication is public, you can connect to anybody in the world at any time, and you can collaborate on mutual interests. Then there’s the living room solution, which is all about the future being private, exchanging messages in secure ways and sharing the most sensitive content in an environment built around security and privacy.
The living room strategy, I think, has a clear path and it doesn’t actually change that much for the marketing ecosystem. There has always been one on one and group messaging and those capabilities will just continue to get bigger, stronger, and faster.
The town hall strategy, however, represents more of a directional change. All these social platforms went through a renaissance of making everything more and more open and global; now they’re trying to segment content and conversations to ensure only the most relevant part is right there in front of you.
I think is one of the greatest things from a user’s perspective. By Facebook bringing Groups and Events front and center in their app, users will get more content that’s related to their actual interests, as opposed to seeing content that’s broadly popular but they don’t necessarily care about.
Q: How will the Facebook Group changes affect brands specifically?
Jon Farb: I think it brings new challenges to brand marketers where they need to figure out once again how to evolve marketing strategy. However, whether they’re facilitating new groups or just being invited into them, there’s definitely the potential to connect with a more relevant audience. Even if the raw numbers of how many people see or interact with content may look like it’s getting smaller it could actually be a far more relevant audience.
For instance, if you’re marketing for a big superhero movie you can do so by fostering communities of people that like comic books, superheroes and other genre related interests, rather than just hitting a larger sector of people where only a fraction maybe interested in getting that message.
It’s going to force changes in marketing strategy, but in a positive direction.
Q: How will ListenFirst approach the changes to Facebook?
Jon Farb: ListenFirst already does a great job of analyzing Facebook data from all the corners of Facebook including public data, client data, paid data, video data, and content data. Groups is another great thing that we’re going to add into the product over the next few months so people can analyze groups just like they could any other type of information on the platform. Additionally, Groups have all the same elements that a page would have; including its own content, comments, shares, videos, and events; meaning our existing information model already works. The inclusion of Facebook Groups analytics will be quite seamless for our users.
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