6 Facebook Updates You Can't Afford to Miss in 2018

We know you use Facebook to market your business..... you wouldn't be seeing this post otherwise! But how well do you really know Facebook? This social juggernaut is going through and will continue to go through some pretty major changes in 2018 that will impact on how you publish content to market your business. Get your head around these changes and you will be way ahead of your competetion.

But before you panic that your Facebook efforts will fail and the world will end for everyone under 30, here's a list of 6 updates you can take advantage of in 2018.

Facebook is getting back to its roots.

Your news feed has seena bunch of changes lately, especially in the way that content is delivered to you. This change has been driven by the inner circle of Facebook incusding its founder Mark Zuckerberg. The platform was orriginally built to allow the sharing of personal life updates (and some more.... intimate moments but let's not go there!). But Facebook's powerful advertsising capabilities has led companies around the world to take over. As people are getting sick of seeing ads for thinsg they are not interested in, Facebook is getting back to basics: "helping us to connect with each other" Zuckerberg wrote in a recent post (yep you guessed it, on Facebook).

This careful consideration of the users’ well-being led to the first change: giving priority to posts from friends and family instead of brands, businesses and media. Concretely, it means that the posts from your “friends” will appear first in your News Feed – even before the cute, viral videos of cats we’ve all grown accustomed to see. This urge for authenticity also explains another recent announcement: the algorithm will be changed to give priority to trustworthy news sources and local news publishers.This will start in the US first and rollout globally throughout the year. If you follow a local publication, expect to see its stories more often, or at least, higher up in your feed.​

Facebook is penalising engagement bait and clickbait.

If you have ever logged into Facebook, you have come across an "engagement bait" post of some kind. What the heck is enagaement bait I hear you ask? It refers to the posts that outright ask you to tag someone, vote, comment or react in one word. They are straight up asking you to engage. This practise mainly benefits the publisher (who as a result will increase their reach) and not the people reading the post.

 Facebook recently decided to use its learning capabilities to automatically spot this type of content, and make it less visible on the news feed. This evolution is the natural next step, after the decision earlier in 2017 to penalise those who would create clickbait content – which are posts that would use any trick, even the most deceitful one, in order to attract people and click on a link. These changes have been interpreted as attempts to make sure your time on the Facebook is well spent and that news sources that are put in front of you are credible. Sure, we all like scrolling through a long list of trendy content, but prioritising news from more trustworthy sources and stories from your friends and family doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

What does this mean for you, if you run a page on Facebook? Given the focus on trust, it’s recommended to publish really unique and valuable content (like genuine tips, interesting stories, interviews, etc.). Since authenticy is also an important factor, start experimenting new formats presenting you and your brand in a transparent and fun way. For example, how w about a blog that educates your customers about who you are, what you do and what yoru expertise is.... a bit like the blog you are reading now!

Facebook Introduces a free sound collection.

Video content is now making upo around 70% of total internet content. BONUS TIP: If you aren't making videos for your business, you should be! fcebook id looking to hone in on video craertors, and help them along the way. It's released a dedicated mobile app and its latest gift to creators is the Sound Collection. It is what is sounds like: a base of free-to-use music and sound effects that can be used in facebook videos. While only young, there are around 1,000 music tracks and 1,500 effects and a tool like this is no doubt soemthing all video creators can benefit from.

In a similar vain to YouTube's long-running Creator Studio (their online video editing creator). Although YouTube has a pretty big head start in terms of experience and availabilityu of content, it's clear that Facebook is taking the video community seriously and we can expect it's sound and effect collection to grow rapidly. Video is a brilliant feather in any SMB owners' bow and now Facebook makes life that bit easier by offering free sounds to add to your videos.

Try it for yourself here: Facebook Sound Collection

Think mobile first when uploading photos.

Looks like the discrimination against portrait-sized images is (finally) a thing of the past. For years, users were told to upload mostly landscape photos. But considering how much traffic comes from mobile devices today, it’s only natural that Facebook’s algorithm would adapt accordingly. Vertical images (or ‘Portrait images’) are not cropped anymore, and appear in the feed in their entire glory. Since they occupy such a large space on the screen, they naturally attract more views and engagements than their horizontal peers. Providing content that’s big and easy to consume can keep viewers on your page for longer – so don’t think twice, and start uploading more vertical photos on Facebook!

In any case, and because it’s always useful to have them somewhere, here are the recommended images sizes for posting on Facebook in 2018:

  • Cover photo:  828 pixels wide x 310 pixels high

  • Profile picture:  180 pixels x 180 pixels

  • Image post: 1200 x 1200 pixels

  • Preview image: 1200 pixels x 627 pixels

Everybody can contribute to Facebook's augmented reality (AR).

AR, or Augmented Reality, is everywhere these days. From games like Pokemon Go! to filters you can overlay on your face in many social media apps, it has received enough attention for the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook to create their very own platforms for it. Facebook’s dedicated platform, the AR Studio, was launched early last year in a closed group of 2,000 developers and brands. Now, the platform has been opened up to all developers to take advantage of. Unless you’re a 3D artist or developer, you more than likely have little use for the platform, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to enjoy it. With the tools available to all developers now, you’ll see more filters and effects within the built-in Facebook camera in the future. watch this augmented space.....

Messenger gets a facelift.

Of course, it’s not all dramatic enhancements at Facebook, as some of its existing products will see more of an evolutionthan revolution. One such product is Messenger.

To say Messenger is feature-rich would be an understatement, and perhaps this is why it’s set to receive a more streamlined overhaul this year. What’s in store? Nothing definite, but Facebook already announced working on improved features for group messaging, a simplified app, and new ways to turn Messenger into a powerful customer service platform. Finally, as visual messaging is at an all time high, and with over 500 billion emojis and 18 billion GIFs (you know those photos that move!) sent in 2017, Messenger is set to become even better equipped for this type of communication.

With so many moving parts in the world’s most popular social network, we’re more than certain than ever that 2018 will bring us more changes.

Want to get more out of your social efforts? Paper Napkin Creative offers tailored Social Marketing plans and training to help you get more out of Social Media. To find out more head over to our website or contact us here.