When Facebook was just starting out, I remember it had a very standardized layout. Then one afternoon, Facebook decided to change its interface. I felt like the whole world was going to wage war on Facebook. I remember people complained, threatened and even deleted their own Facebook because they hated the changes. Ever since, Facebook as continued to change and not really care about what people think because after all people are there to connect and not create their own layouts like one did on MySpace.
Since the beginning of the year Facebook as done minor changes to their services. The following will discuss how and why these changes effect public relations.
Facebook was overwhelmed by the amount of complaints made by users claiming to be annoyed by the amount of promotional posts made by businesses. On November 14th, 2014 Facebook announced they will be changing the amount of promotional posts by the beginning of 2015. According to a survey they conducted, people claimed “they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content”.
Characteristics that make posts feel too promotional are:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads
Facebook has created an algorithm to limit the amount of promotional posts which makes it difficult for PR practitioners to get their message across. Now, what Facebook has allowed us to do is become more creative in how we post our messages. Practitioners now have to think unique forms to capture people’s attention in an engaging form. Without engagement, you’re not part of the community or part of the two-way conversation that PR relays on.
Let’s make it clear that advertisement is not public relations, I think of advertisement as one of many tactics under public relations that can be used to communicate some of the goals and objectives that the company wants to communicate. Advertisement is not PR and PR is not advertisement. NOW, we can move forward and say advertisements on Facebook has enable PR practitioners to extend the way on how to communicate to the public. Just recently on June 18th, 2015 Facebook decided to revamp their Ads Manager and Power Editor to create optimize and monitor ad campaigns more effectively. These efforts came to be so “advertisers can get more value with less effort on each campaign”. Being able to monitor and track the changes of an Ad in a campaign is very important. Through these observations a PR practitioner is able to determine the likeliness of reaching the campaign’s objectives. Without a form of measurement the evaluation of the campaign’s success and effectiveness becomes difficult to obtain.
Facebook enabled a new tool for businesses to reach and keep in touch with people in their community. Place Tip allows businesses to gather information about themselves and display it at the top of your News Feed when you’re around the area. According to Facebook, the Place Tips is unique. It can show a restaurant’s menu, reviews and mentions, or if at a retail store it can help customers figure out the store’s hours, popular items and upcoming events. Of course this can only happen if you have given Facebook permission to access your location on your phone.
I think this is a perfect way for PR practitioners to get their client some awareness within their community. It allows the business to be creative and not just show the business side but also demonstrate their mission. This tool helps the two-way conversation between the customer and client. Also feedback can be provided as another tool of measuring the company’s success within the industry and community.
Facebook is constantly changing, but we should be able to embrace these changes and use them to our benefit as PR practitioners. Without these emerging tools, we may not be able to communicate to targeted audiences and can result in a horrible campaign/program.