You should thank Zuckerberg for making 2018 the best year for Influencer Marketing...ever
January 30th 2018
There has been a lot of commentary on the changes to Facebooks Newsfeed algorithm, its been called "Facebook apocalypse", and S.M Examiner called it “Facebook zero”, I however am calling it, "Facebook Bonanza!" I think it is the best thing to have happened to the Influencer and Creator marketing industry since MySpace launched. It is going to mean more money channelled into influencer marketing, more resource applied in agencies to boosting their Influencer divisions and Brands giving Influencer marketing more of a focus. It should also have a positive effect on the world by reducing Clickbait and some other shady marketing / media practices. People like to criticise Mark but I think he's got a heart and doesn't want his tool to be used to propagate fear - and the way it was used recently in the Trump election by Russian Bot accounts has caused him many sleepless nights..
If however you've missed the announcement and don't know what i'm talking about, let's rewind to Jan 11th and the important statement where Zuckerberg – Facebook CEO said;
“Weve got feedback from our Community that public content (posts from Businesses, Brands and Media) is crowding out personal moments… Based on this we are making a major change to how we build Facebook, changing the goal we give our product teams from focusing on helping your find relevant content, to helping you have more meaningful social interactions..”
So basically Zuckerberg is depriorioritising all content that is not "meaningful social interaction". This is taking Facebook back to the old days and locking in its purpose, stepping away from content posts from businesses / brands / media, to focusing on helping us have more meaningful social interactions with our friends. So what does a "meaningful interaction" mean? Well he explains that its interaction between followers and long answers. These posts will garner increased prioritisation, so short Clickbait style media bites, links to banal videos etc, they will all be deprioritised and practically disappear off your feed.
What will be pushed up the rankings is deep conversations between friends, Influencers, Creators, and their followers - it’s pretty compelling stuff. The changes will be a massive benefit for STRATEGIC Influencer and Creator marketing. Note I say “strategic Influencer marketing”, I don’t mean telling an Influencer what to post and choosing them simply by scale, with no real integration to their life, and no alignment of purpose and interaction with their followers – that kind of Inf marketing has its place but it is going to be much less prominent on the the news feed.
It means Influencers who share their opinions, explain their rationale and have long conversations with their fans will be prioritised, and it therefore means that brands are going to have to get involved in those deeper conversations if they want to be part of it - this further backs my belief that brands will eventually have to become more opinionated and engaged - political even - in the not too distant future to maintain relevance.
The upshot is that brands are going to have be more strategic and not simply think of Influencer marketing as a quick tactical play to boost distribution, but to seek Influencers and Creators who share their brands purpose and causes, and build long term relationships, advocacy and conversation with them. This will be relevant all along the scale of distribution, from what I call “Local hero’s” (e.g the Captain of the local football team - she might only have 800 followers but boy does she influence all her followers and have massive engagement i.e "MEANINGFUL SOCIAL INTERACTIONS"..) Niche bloggers (Mid-scale Influencers who have authority on individual subjects) and Power Influencers (those who affect culture en mass - superstar celebrities or bloggers / insta stars).
Publishers – rightly so – are jumping up and down worrying that their content won’t be seen – unless they pay for Ads.
So how do we all take advantage of this, well for those in the Influencer and creator marketing industry, my advice is to use this as a moment in time to remind clients and brands to go back to the fundamentals of why Influencer marketing can be so powerful. Be real, work with real people and real movements, take time to find those people whose purpose and values match those of your brand, support creators by giving them platforms, create a long term relationship with them where they see your brand as a part of their lives and truly become advocates for you - the benefits will be bountiful.
Or, you could just choose an Influencer through a portal using scale of distribution as your only measure of success. The recent N.Y Times article has lifted the lid on the pitfalls around this kind of unconsidered, "portal only" play. It has its place, for sure, and the vast majority of the Influencers I've worked with are super hard working, diligent business people. But you still need to really take time to evaluate your Influencers and their vales if you are going to associate them with your brand.
Using portal only plays is like being excited about my Daughter dating our next door neighbour who is good looking , rich and drives a Ferrari, but not spending any time to discover what he's really like. Dig a bit deeper and you could find out he makes his money from running guns, stole the Ferrari and left his last girlfriend outside in the rain while he schmoozed up my daughter in the club. He better not come round my house!