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Independent Car Dealers maybe affected by Facebook’s announcement of a big and upcoming newsfeed change.

Facebooks News Feed is changing and it could be not so good for car dealer pages.  Most car dealers have a personal Facebook page and a business page for their dealership.  Facebook has added a ton of useful tools to digitally market inventory and build connections with online users over the years.  However, this change in the newsfeed could be a step back for those using and building a business page.

Facebook says this news-feed change will be acclimated toward user-to-user engagement and less on brands and “passive” activity.  What is “passive” activity… that is not entirely clear yet.  A loop-hole in the change could potentially be auto dealers using live videos, news and groups but that isn’t certain at this point and more of my speculative interpretation.

How messy is this for car dealers?

Facebook practically popped the pin and tossed a hand-grenade under business pages the last few months.  This announcement, as vague as it is, does give the sketch that the newsfeed of the future will promote user to user connections pushing business page content down the ladder.

While independent car dealers are consistently trying to stay atop of Facebook options (most have difficulty staying current), this announcement doesn’t help our effort as it doesn’t offer many details.   We can speculate how this might affect our ability to market to car prospects and buyers in the future, but at this point nothing is certain.

 

This is what Mark Zuckerberg published on January 11th, 2018

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.

We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.

But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

It’s easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there’s more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what’s in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do — help us connect with each other.

We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being. So we’ve studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.

The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. 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.

Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.

Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.

At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together — whether it’s with family and friends, or around important moments in the world — we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.

 

This is what Jon Loomer, Facebook expert, wrote in response on January 12th, 2018.

“Immediately, we see the problem. Facebook sees person-to-person interaction as the “core” Facebook experience. The brand stuff is fine, too, but there’s a lot of it. And it’s starting to take over.

Zuckerberg implies that interaction with people is inherently healthy whereas interacting with typical brand content (articles, videos, “entertaining or informative” content) is often passive and not so good.”

Loomer goes on to say that if business pages get slammed by this change, a way back into  communicating with users maybe through groups.  However, he offers that could be another forum brands use to exploit and in the end, … ruin.

In Zuckerberg’s statement, he says, “as a result of this roll out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.  And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard – it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

This seems like a dog chasing it’s tail.  In one part of this statement Zuckerberg says we will see less public content (AKA – your dealership business page activity and posts) but then he goes on to say it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.  Which is it?  I assume what he is saying is if your content from your business page is somehow creating longer written replies (even though your posts may experience less visibility), then those pages with longer replies maybe more visible.  But your guess is as good as mine and the rest of the Facebook experts on that point.

 

While Zukerberg continues to shed positive light around “tight-knit communities”, which would include business pages (or some of them), he quickly turns around and calls the majority of those interactions “passive”, which earlier in his statement he confirmed was not the direction Facebook wanted to go with this change.   Live videos seem to be safer and more clear in Facebook’s announcement that other posts deemed to be more passive.

From Facebook’s statements, “person to person will be more valuable than person to page.  Connections with people in your network will et the biggest boost because interacting with people you’re close to is more meaningful.”

Keep a pulse on what changes Facebook makes on the newsfeed.  It can definitely affect your reach and advertising strategies in the near future.

For more information on Facebook’s newsfeed changes or on a 20 Group, email me at justin@niada.com.

 

 

 

 

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