The social media landscape of 2020 looks vastly different from the one in which Facebook entered the market, February 2004.
Ephemeral, bite-size content is thriving on TikTok and Snapchat; longer form videos still rule on YouTube and IGTV; and across the board, great visual storytelling is the most engaging type of content, no matter the platform.
What are the changes, trends, and upcoming shifts that nonprofits need to know about Facebook in particular in 2020?
Here is a quick round up of nine Facebook trends that nonprofits need to know as we continue through this new year.
In their quarterly earnings call to investors, Facebook announced that there are now around 2.9 billion people using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger each month, and around 2.3 billion people using at least one of the services daily. Whoa!
Zuck said: “The product areas I’m most focused on for the next chapter of our company are building out the private social platform and more intimate communities, enabling more commerce and payments, and delivering the next computing platform.”
Let’s talk about the shift to privacy, focus on Groups, e-commerce for small business, and what he means by the “next computing platform.”
SHIFT TO PRIVACY
Recently Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the “Clear History” tool that he’s been talking about since 2018. It’s a brand new feature that allows users to remove their “Off-Facebook Activity” – tracking done by businesses online and offline. Mari Smith wrote up a fantastic explanation about this announcement on her Facebook Page.
This month Facebook announced that they are rolling out a free Privacy Checkup tool to nearly 2 billion people reminding them of the controls they have and making sure they’re set up in the desired way.
FOCUS ON GROUPS AND PRIVATE COMMUNITIES
If you watched the Super Bowl you probably saw Facebook’s latest ad, focused on Groups.
Zuck and co. are still leading a huge push towards creating communities on Facebook rather than expressing yourself in the New Feed.
Here’s what he said on Facebook:
“When I look at the internet today, we all have this ability to connect with people, content and opportunities coming from all around the world in ways that were unimaginable just a generation ago.
I grew up in a town of 10,000 people and making long-distance calls anywhere outside the area was very expensive.
Today we all have access to billions of people.
That’s made it easier to find people who are into the same things you are.
But as our networks and communities have gotten so large, we increasingly crave a sense of intimacy and privacy.
Delivering this experience is our focus.”
CONNECTION THROUGH AUGMENTED AND VIRTUAL REALITY
People are loving Quest and Facebook’s AR and VR suite of tools.
- On Christmas day, people bought almost $5 million worth of content in the Oculus Store.
- Their Spark AR platform is the most widely used AR platform in the world with hundreds of millions of people interacting with effects every month
The defining and most powerful benefit of using AR and VR to convey your brand story is the sense of presence – like you are right there, in that setting, with the other person or people.
Zuckerberg calls this “the holy grail of social experiences… letting people live wherever they want and hologram into work so they can access opportunities anywhere and don’t have to move to a city or another country for a job.”
Beyond marketing and fundraising, AR and VR have dramatic implications on the nonprofit workplace.
Something that I am excited about, especially for international nonprofits, is a feature that Facebook has been working on – WhatsApp Payments!
According to Zuck, “You’re going to be able to send money as quickly and easily as sending a photo.”
This could be game-changing to nonprofits who need to receive donations from abroad or who have individual donors who prefer to use WhatsApp over PayPal or Venmo.
SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESS (MAYBE)
Facebook announced that there are now more than 140 million small businesses that use their services – and they conspicuously emphasized that “the vast majority of which use our services for free.”
Despite this, there were no new announcements as to upcoming features that would further assist small businesses and nonprofits reach their audiences and build community on Facebook – for free.
STILL PAY TO PLAY
Facebook is now, and has been for quite a while, an advertising platform.
While organic reach is still possible, nonprofits must dedicate a small budget to boost and promote their best content and most important initiatives with Facebook and Instagram ads.
From COO Sheryl Sandberg’s remarks in the earnings call: There are now 8 million advertisers, 4 million of which advertise in Stories, up from 2 million this time last year.
Speaking of stories…
STORIES ARE GROWING RAPIDLY
Stories are growing at 15x the rate of News Feed content.
And, at some point, Facebook and Instagram may even merge the feed and Story format.
With the introduction of the donation sticker for both Facebook and Instagram Stories, nonprofits have many more ways to get people to raise money and awareness for them.
TAKING A STAND
The most interesting, and probably least-reported on or noted part of Zuckerberg’s remarks was this statement:
“Aside from these (tech features), we’re also focused on communicating more clearly what we stand for.
One critique of our approach for much of the last decade was that because we wanted to be liked, we didn’t always communicate our views as clearly because we worried about offending people. This led to some positive but shallow sentiment towards the company.
My goal for this next decade isn’t to be liked, but to be understood. In order to be trusted, people need to know what you stand for.”
Hallelujah! I’ve been saying this forever!!!
This is a marketing trend that will hopefully take off in 2020 – having the courage to take a real stand and NOT appeal to just anyone.
Communicating clearly is ESSENTIAL in building a movement.
People have to know who you are, and if your values and worldview match up with theirs.
Coincidentally, Facebook is a great platform to share content that reflects this. 🙂