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How will Facebook's changes affect Delaware marketing professionals and businesses?

Courtesy of University of Delaware
UD's Jim Kendra and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg talk about the Disaster Research Center's work, when Zuckerberg visited in September 2017.

Facebook is changing its news feed to show fewer posts from businesses and more posts from family and friends, leaving some Delaware marketing professionals wondering what they’ll need to do to continue reaching people on social media.

In a Facebook post from Thursday, Jan. 11 announcing the changes, Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company has been researching how Facebook’s services can be good for people’s well-being.


“The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they're entertaining or informative — may not be as good.”

A follow-up statement issued by Facebook added, “Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses.”


After the announcement, the company’s stock fell 4.4 percent.

Some Delaware marketing firms and social media businesses say though it’s unclear how the changes will affect them, they may need to push harder to help their clients’ advertising be seen there. 


“It’s always going to be the users versus the advertisers, and this time, the users won,” said Jamie Campbell, the owner of Wilmington-based Small Business Solutions By Jamie. “They’re going to see less ads, they’re going to see more babies and stuff like that.”


Campbell does advertising consulting for businesses in and outside of Delaware. He says Facebook has helped him laser target more tailored audiences.


“And it’s Facebook, it’s fun, it’s life. Everybody loves Facebook until they don’t because it’s full of ads,” Campbell said.


Stefanie Roselle manages Middletown-based Social Butterfly, which helps create and manage social media platforms for businesses. She said she was initially worried about how the change could affect her business, but says the changes will more likely affect brands and businesses that use click bait to gain page views.


“There’s going to have to be a change in the strategy. Facebook is a pay-to-play environment,” Roselle said.


Roselle said a lot of her friends aren’t even on Facebook anymore, because they got tired of seeing ads. In that sense, she said, she’s excited Facebook is going back towards the individual, more personalized experience. 


“But again, it’s a crowded, crowded, space. Until they say anything about the ads, it’s one of those things I’m going to sit back and wait and see,” she said.


Some companies are even applauding Facebook for the decision to focus more on the user’s personalized News Feed experience, though they acknowledge they may need to adapt to keep up. Michael Marquardt, the CEO of Global Kompass Strategies in Wilmington, said many companies see Facebook as an attractive platform for their advertisements, but that often loses the authenticity of the platform and what it was initially designed for. 


“Facebook is rightly recognizing they need to strike a better balance between essentially broadcasting word of mouth from friends and family and not just what a big publishing company or big movie promotion company or advertising agency wants people to believe," Marquardt said. "It's a savvy move, in my opinion."


And Marquardt says he wouldn’t write off Facebook as an advertising platform. Businesses, however, may have to think about how they can make their posts or promotions more authentic, so the average user won’t miss them.


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