Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recently announced changes to the company’s news feed has the potential to dramatically affect how people interact on the social network.

Facebook’s news feed will start showing fewer news articles and less marketing content and ads. Instead, users should start seeing more holiday videos from their friends, photos of their nephew’s first birthday and other more family-friendly posts about the people they know.

It’s a major change for Facebook, which over the years has shifted from being a social networking service connecting friends and family to one of the world’s biggest distributors of news and online ads.

We won’t know how everything is going to play out, but publishers that have relied on Facebook for so-called organic distribution, essentially articles that publishers didn’t pay to have inserted into people’s news feeds, will find Facebook a less accommodating environment than previously.

So, what does this mean for pubs and clubs and other venue operators?

It means your social marketing strategy will need to be re-evaluated and revamped (although there’s a chance that was overdue anyway).

For your content to continue to be seen by your customers’ and, ideally, attract new ones, it will have to be engaging and interactive.

That means it’s time to get a little more personal and a bit less corporate. You will have to stop posting “posters” and announcements as news feeds and start talking and engaging with people.

It will pay to live in the moment and start using onsite posts.  If you’re not using live video yet, the time to start was probably yesterday. As Facebook continues to promote this relatively new service, live videos will be prioritised on newsfeeds, and statistics have shown that live videos amass approximately six times the interactions of non-live videos. These sorts of engagements will help your content of all types show more commonly on your customer’s newsfeeds.

For example, the MGM casino in Detroit posted three different videos on their Facebook page.  Which one do you think was the highest viewed video?

  1. An ad for Top Golf, launching the following day
  2. MGM’s epic, multi-million-dollar ad spot, Welcome to the Show
  3. A 26 second selfie video of comedian Brad Garrett talking about his upcoming stand-up show at the casino.

If you guessed #3, you’re right. Live and personal videos can be both low-budget and effective, often capturing customers’ curiosity and interest in a way that some professionally produced videos can’t.

Club and pubs have the opportunity to provide a visual spectacle, and you can, through Facebook, bring these experiences to your patron’s screen. For example, live stream a major promotional draw, show how to make and explain what goes into your signature cocktail, interview some of your dining customers, share patron’s reactions watching a sporting event, join in a Zumba class at the gym, interview the band or patrons at a gig or share a snippet of a favourite song…and so on.

Another change will be the effectiveness of Facebook Ads. Their cost will rise, but with the newsfeed becoming more focused, your ad will be likely displayed more prominently, rather than lost in a sea of commercial content.