This year’s CEO Connect took place at One Hacker Way — Facebook’s Global Headquarters in Menlo Park, California. If you want to raise the bar on how you use Facebook, capitalize on what the experts at Facebook say works.

  • If you are not using Facebook and Instagram, you are ignoring the No. 1 online lead source.
  • 99 percent of people online are using SMS or sending text messages.
  • Today, 20 percent of the time spent online is spent watching videos, and 100 million hours of video is watched daily on Facebook alone.

This year’s CEO Connect took place at One Hacker Way — Facebook’s Global Headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

And if you want to raise the bar on how you use Facebook, capitalize on what the experts at Facebook say works.

One out of every five minutes is spent on either Facebook or Instagram, which is more than Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, AOL and Yahoo combined.

This means that if you are not using Facebook and Instagram, you are ignoring the most important online lead source on the planet.

Engage in hacking

To understand the Facebook culture, you must first understand Facebook’s “hacker” mentality.

According to Keith Watts, the U.S. Industry Manager for Facebook, “hack” means to grow, improve or integrate something new into its existing culture or platform.

Facebook regularly holds hackathons where a few hundred of its engineers join forces in all-night coding sessions. The one rule is that you have to work with a skill and in an area outside your day job.

Facebook’s video app, the “like” button, chat, the timeline and tagging were all created during a hackathon. In fact, its tagging product was released just two weeks after its creation.

To employ “hacks” in your business and meet the rapidly shifting consumer environment, make a habit of periodically leaving your comfort zone and trying something entirely new.

Important trends

According to Facebook, changes in the following three following areas will have a major impact in how businesses reach consumers.

A 50 percent drop in search

By 2019, Facebook predicts that there will be a 50 percent drop in search. This means paying for ad words and SEO will become less effective in the future.

To capitalize on this trend, Facebook is focusing on how to make delivering commercial content as appealing as personal content.

Messaging is the message

According to Asher Rapkin, Product Marketing Communications, 6 out of 10 of the most-downloaded apps are messaging apps.

In fact, 99 percent of people online are using SMS or sending text messages. Over 1 billion messages are sent between people and Facebook pages each day.

The no. 1 use of messaging is to talk to a friend — the no. 2 use is to talk to a business.

In other words, creating a marketing strategy that incorporates messaging is critical due to the sheer volume of traffic devoted to business purposes.

To give you an idea about the magnitude of this opportunity, about 1.5 billion people are using a messaging application. This will increase to 2 billion by 2018.

People prefer messaging because it allows them to use video, photos and emojis to be expressive, and their messages appear consistently across all platforms and devices.

Messaging is also desirable because no one can message you without your permission.

What is especially surprising is that Facebook’s research shows that messaging behavior is identical across generations. This is a boon to advertisers because you have one type of content delivery where everyone is behaving in a very predictable way.

Structured messages

Facebook’s structured messages are containers that can hold various types of content — including text, video, maps, as well as shortcodes that can be used to open a thread or on a business card. Shortcodes can also be used to capture leads.

Marketers will also be able to add a button that will allow users to buy an item, ask a question or ask the app to “show me more like this.”

What this means for your business is that you can build your marketing program on top of your current Facebook pages. This is important because email activity has gone down, but the interest in messaging has held steady.

Real estate is mobile-first

Users now spend more time-consuming content on mobile devices rather than desktop computers.

According to Facebook, 92 percent of people use the internet in their home search, and 49 percent of homebuyers use a mobile app to start their home search. One out of every five of those mobile minutes is spent on Facebook.

Furthermore, consumers absorb mobile data faster (1.7 versus 2.5 seconds) as compared to using a desktop. They also recall mobile content 25 percent faster as well.

This has led to a 40-percent increase in Instagram traffic during the past six months. Moreover, Cisco predicts that consumption of mobile data will increase eleven-fold by 2020.

4 key takeaways for your business

1. Think mobile-first

Because mobile is now the dominant platform, you must design your website based on what looks best on mobile — not on a desktop.

Even if you are using a responsive site (one that adjusts to fit the size of the user’s device), always look to the mobile design first rather than the desktop design.

2. Speak the universal language

The rise of Instagram and Snapchat highlights the importance of mastering what Facebook calls the universal language — photos and video. Photos and videos are more succinct and time efficient.

Today, 20 percent of time spent online is spent watching video, with 100 million hours of video being watched every day on Facebook alone. Video posts and reshares have nearly tripled in just the last year.

3. Don’t count on sound to get your message across

Consumption on mobile is frequent, fast — and often without sound. According to Facebook, the challenge is that only 24 percent of the ads are understandable without the sound.

This means that you must retool your advertising strategy in a way that will allow you to use visual images to tell the story. To convey your message when the user has his or her sound off, embed your contact info and call to action in the visuals.

4. Increase your brand engagement

When Facebook evaluated ads on its site, it found that less than half had identifiable brand views.

To triple your brand engagement, Facebook’s data shows that you can deliver 47 percent of your brand message within the first three seconds and another 74 percent in 10 seconds. Keep in mind that there is a tremendous drop-off in attention after 30 seconds.

According to the pros at Facebook, small “hacks” can result in major positive shifts.

To transform your business, think about phone content first, look at creating marketing strategies that rely on Facebook Messenger and speak the universal language of photos and videos — those are the best ways to capture people’s attention and their heart.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent

Email Bernice Ross.

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