Marketers from across North America gathered in Toronto last month for Facebook’s annual summit. The event is always hotly anticipated, but there was an added buzz this year as it coincided with the recent data scandal that has rocked the world’s largest social media network.
After hitting the headlines for all of the wrong reasons, data security was understandably front of mind for many of those in attendance. But Facebook’s response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal was just part of a fascinating summit that gave us a glimpse into what the social network’s future looks like for businesses and brands.
So for those of you who weren’t able to attend, here are our three key takeaways from the annual Facebook summit.
1. Facebook’s Mission Statement
Nada Stirratt, Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions North America, began the summit by directly addressing the ongoing media coverage that the company had faced.
Speaking to delegates, Nada emphasized that Facebook will do everything they can to protect people’s personal information. She also reinforced Facebook’s mission — “to give people the power to build a community and bring the world closer together.”
So can Facebook still fulfill its mission in the current climate?
Nada argued that it was proven by scientific research that when people use social media to connect with family and friends, it is beneficial for their well-being. However, she recognized that irrelevant information – such as the so-called “fake news” that has once again gained prominence amid the recent headlines — is distressing, and can negatively impact people who use the social network. She stated that moving forward, the company will focus on taking action to ensure that the time that users spend on the site is time well spent.
2. Brands Need to Harness the Power of Human Connections
Garrick Tiplady, Managing Director of Facebook Canada, spoke about how businesses can boost their brands through the use of technology, and how social media can help break down boundaries between them and their customers.
Now more than ever before, he said, customers have built strong relationships with brands. However, unlike previous generations, today’s consumers are no longer a captive audience. Instead, businesses need to build connections with their customers if they are going to succeed in engaging with them on social media.
Creating this ‘human connection’ can be challenging, but developments in social are making it easier than ever before to build these relationships. Garrick said that today’s true innovators are doing everything in their power to build these relationships with customers and pointed to platforms such as Instagram, which helps brands engage with their audiences through Stories, polls, and other interactive elements.
Here are the actions that advertisers need to take:
- Build for how people buy
- Measure what matters
- Build connections that count
3. Offline Transactions Are Key
Garrick also spoke about the importance of building bridges between online and offline data, and how important it is for businesses to understand the impact that social media can have on people’s offline purchases.
He gave a great example of how this process plays out in real life:
Imagine you’re at home browsing and looking at pictures on Instagram. You also know you are having friends over tonight for appetizers and wine. You then stumble upon a picture of perfectly laid out appetizers, and at that moment you decided that is exactly how you want your table to look tonight. That prompts you to make your way to the grocery store and buy the same appetizers you saw in the picture.
Believe it or not, 90% of transactions happen offline. The overall message was that to succeed businesses need to learn how to use offline information to better their online strategies. Cross-device and cross-channel movement means that it is more important than ever for marketers to measure their efforts.
If you’re interested in what the future of your business looks like on Facebook, get in touch with our social media experts.