Facebook hosted its 10th annual F8 Conference in April this year, and it was a doozy. Coming off a tumultuous 2018 with congressional hearings, data breaches and privacy concerns, the social media juggernaut highlighted the power of human connection through their family of apps. According to Zuckerberg’s opening keynote, the future of Facebook is a privacy-focused social platform … what does that mean for businesses?

I started my first Facebook business page in 2011, and I remember the days of being able to see the names of followers on other business pages, I even remember when every person that followed a page saw every post, before the algorithm existed. Not only are those days over, but it seems like Facebook is taking things a step further, by making privacy the number one mission. As a user of social media with a healthy level of distrust, this probably makes you feel good. You may be glad to know that Facebook will be making it easier for you to keep your “living room conversations” outside of the public realm. As a business owner (and marketer), this may be giving you some anxiety. You might be freaking out at the thought of not being able to access user data that you can leverage to sell more of your products.

All isn’t lost, though, there is still room for small business owners like you and I to continue conducting business via Facebook, but we have to adapt if we want our businesses to stay relevant. Regardless of these shifts, Facebook is still the number one platform used by marketers, with Instagram being a close second (owned by Facebook).

If there’s anything that I’ve learned as a Facebook-using business owner, it’s to focus on the features that Facebook is focusing on, we can expect to see a spotlight on three features in particular: Messenger, Stories and especially Groups. Facebook will be providing more opportunities to have private, impermanent conversations, which means it’s time to start investing in these aspects of the platform if you intend to keep using it as a marketing tool. It also means that there may be room to diversify platforms, as some users may leave Facebook as a result of these pending changes.

The key here is not to panic or continue to engage in activities that don’t work. If the largest social networking platform in the world says the future is private, every business owner should be figuring out how to incorporate privacy and customization into their activities if they want to stay on their customers’ radar.

Moniek James is a serial entrepreneur and nerd who helps small business owners use social media to be more awesome online. Find her at www.moniekjames.com where she shares her favorite entrepreneurial hacks and musings.

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