Facebook's introduction of video on Instagram is just the latest volley in its efforts to appeal to younger demographics and dispel the notion that it's become the social network for soccer moms and dads. If nothing else, this presumed Vine-killer is symbolic of Facebook's programming power and infinite ambition. It will continue to innovate and aquire and replicate other products and features at will. Facebook, which has 1.11 billion active users (a 23% increase from March 2012) and which stands to boost its advertising revenue with Instagram video, is not going to go away anytime soon.
Its worldwide presence continues to be a lure for brands, but many of them—particularly b2b brands—still aren't sure what kind of commitment to make on Facebook once they launch there, according to Morgan McLintic, executive vice president of LEWIS PR. In the following Q&A, McLintic, who will be a presenter at PR News' Next Practices Annual Conference in San Francisco on Aug. 6, weighs in on Instagram video and what it takes to grow a community on Facebook.
PR News: Do you think Facebook's Instagram video feature will attract younger users?
Morgan McLintic: I think young users will likely try it out, but because the 15-second Instagram video won't play directly inside of Facebook or in users' News Feed, it may not catch on as rapidly as Facebook would like, facing similar challenges that Viddy and Socialcam had. Vine is still the one to beat right now, but if Facebook and Instagram find a way to integrate the tool better, they could have a winner on their hands.
PR News: What's one piece of advice you offer to brands to help them increase engagement with their Facebook community?
McLintic: It's the one piece of advice that is relevant to all social channels. Provide something of value to your audience, and encourage them to engage. If your content on Facebook has no relevance or interest to your community, then why should visitors react or engage with you at all? Brands that do that end up just talking to themselves instead. Or they try to bribe audiences with contests and perhaps generate some visits and likes in the short term. But without relevant content, users likely won't keep coming back.
PR News: Is it getting harder or easier to convince b2b clients that they need to be present and active on Facebook? Is this now something they take for granted—that they need to be on Facebook?
McLintic: It is still a challenge to convince b2b clients to have an active Facebook page. Like every marketing channel, it requires an investment in time and content, and like all investments they require a return. Larger brands that have built an established Facebook audience don't have as much of an obstacle, but for a small b2b company they will often create a Facebook page but pay little attention to it once it is live, instead focusing marketing energy on other channels. After time they wonder if it is still worth having the channel since they are not getting business leads from it. Without an active commitment to nurturing their community or providing unique content, nothing will grow on that channel.
Morgan McLintic will lead the "Secrets to Facebook Communications" session at PR News' Aug. 6 Next Practices Annual Conference in San Francisco.
Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI