The rise and rise of Facebook has created a great deal more than just a convenient way to keep tabs on your friends. The ripple effects of Facebook have cascaded into trends that shape most of our day-to-day lives, whether or not we like to admit it.
The biggest of these trends are an interesting trio; mobile, video and, most importantly for business, the law.
At the 2015 F8 Developer Conference, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced that the future of Facebook lays in the ‘Facebook family’ of apps.
The apps, that you are probably already using, include: Facebook (1.4 billion users), Messenger (600 million), Groups (700 million), Instagram (300 million) and WhatsApp (700 million).
With the world at its wide ranging feet, Facebook (which no longer refer to itself as a social network) has opened the door for future endeavours outside the confines of instant messaging by rebranding itself a ‘mobile’ company by acknowledging the majority of its business is, and continues to operate via mobile devices.
In May this year the shift from desktop to mobile was all but completed when, for the first time, more online searches were conducted by mobile as opposed to desktop, as in years past.
The scary reality is that 14 percent of all smart phone use is dedicated to Facebook and, of that use, an average active Facebook user checks their Facebook 14 times a day.
I know what you’re thinking … only 14? The convenience of mobile provides the foundation for Facebook to apply the finishing touches on its remarkable transformation from college message board to corporate world dominator.
A burning desire for instant gratification paves the way for the introduction of new technologies, optimised for the mobile platform, that will revolutionise the Facebook family into serious competition for industries you’d never even imagine it rivalling – for example, financial services.
The ‘Sell Something’ feature you’ve recently noticed in Groups on Facebook is a drop in the ocean in terms of Facebook’s plan to integrate itself into every aspect of your life, including the way you handle your finances, to become what would be the world’s largest and smartest search engine. An internet inside the internet, in your pocket 24/7.
From your shoe size to replacing your bank as a way to store and transfer funds online, Facebook’s mobile mission is to become an extension of your life so it can, in turn, make your life ‘easier’.
Well, that’s if the small issue of privacy (or lack thereof) doesn’t bother you. Facebook is either the very best at identifying a trend before its peak or the very best at creating trends itself.
For example, Facebook cleverly tracked its users’ growing taste for digesting information by video rather than by text and have since shifted a lot of their eggs into the video basket, which is particularly important for business.
To cement the move, Facebook used their F8 conference to announce that organic reach on Pages would be higher when the content was an uploaded video (not a link to a video).
This simply means more of your audience are likely to see an unpaid post by your business if it is a video that is uploaded directly to Facebook.
The most important thing with video is to keep it short and sweet – your audience has stopped watching before you got a chance to put the cherry on the top.
The digital world has long evaded the wrath of the law, moving at a pace simply too fast to legislate. But all that is starting to change too.
Recent law reform has seen a significant change that will see people accountable for their behaviour on the internet, from cyber bullying to defamation – and that includes posting damaging comments on your business page.
Great, right? Well yes, but the grass is never greener. To best understand the reform, from here on think of your Facebook page as a running advertisement of your business.
Here are the changes you need to know:
User Generated Content
Anything posted to the Page, regardless of the publisher, is considered to be endorsed by the Page owner. The Advertising Standards Board (ABS) warn that while people are accountable for what they post, the Page owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring all material complies with Australian’s advertising codes and can be held accountable otherwise
The 24-Hour Policy
The ABS considers Page owners to be liable based on the fact that they enjoy a ‘reasonable degree of control’ over posted content.
Should advertising codes be breached, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) calls for a 24-hour turnaround from inappropriate material being posted to being removed.
The most interesting part of this reform is that it applies 24/7. That means, regardless of proactive measures like listing official business hours as the only times content is monitored or clearly disassociating yourself with content posted – whether it’s your day off or Christmas – you are liable for anything and everything on your Page.
So, what can you do to limit the likeliness of a complaint?
- Profanity Filter: In your Page settings you’ll find the Page Moderation option and the Profanity Filter. Turning the Filter on will activate an automatic banning process that marks all posts with offensive content as spam and hides it from the Page. The Filter is populated with your usual suspects in terms of naughty words. But to be really proactive, I recommend setting the Filter to ‘strong’ and editing it to suit you. Add in the names of your competition, words like ‘terrible’ and ‘poor service’. And think outside the box; Facebook isn’t as creative with its swear words as Users are!
- Hide: Hiding a Post means it disappears from the Page and can only be seen by the User who posted it as well as their friends. The upside is that nobody else can see it and the storm remains in the teacup without angering the initial User. The downside is that it does remain visible to the wider network of the User.
- Block: There are 1.4 billion Users on Facebook – it will be okay if you block the handful of Users that are only on your Page to cause trouble.
- Monitor: Create a schedule to share the monitoring of Page content. It’ll only take a minute or two to (depending on how much content is posted) to scroll through and make sure all is calm. Remember, Users are moving away from posting on your Wall so any negatives are posted on your content which could be boosted – you’d literally be paying to advertise negative feedback!
- House Rules: Create terms and conditions for your Page and outline what is and is not acceptable behaviour. What’s okay to post, what’s not, the purpose of the Page and the consequences of breaking the rules. This will come in handy when dealing with Users who don’t play nice – refer them to the House Rules. If they can’t co-operate then they become ineligible and can be removed. –
- Delete: Once the House Rules are established, the Page Administration need to enforce them. If a comment is inappropriate, delete it. If a User continues to break the rules, if necessary block and delete them. Refer Users to the House Rules to understand what is expected of them and don’t be afraid to carry through. So the good news in the bad news is, whilst ‘the law’ is starting to step in, it seems (for once) to be putting a bit of control back in our hands.
Cassandra Cocciolone is Digital and Social Media Manager at Inskin Cosmedics, distributors in Australia of 1Truth Serum, O Cosmedics and emergicC skincare. One of her aims is to debunk social media fear factors and shed some light on how digital media can seriously help take your business to new and exciting levels.