Social Media

Facebook executive predicts the social network will be “all video” in five years: What does it mean for SMEs?

Dominic Powell /

The humble status update or wall post may soon be a thing of the past, with one Facebook executive predicting the demise in the written word on the social media platform.

The vice president of Facebook’s European, Middle Eastern and African operations, Nicola Mendelsohn, predicted that in five years, Facebook “will be probably all video”, while speaking at a conference in London last week, reports Quartz.

Discussing the decline of text-based posts on the social network, Mendelsohn said, “we’re seeing a year-on-year decline of text”, in reference to Facebook’s gathered statistics.

“If I was having a bet I’d say: video, video, video.”

Mendelsohn told the conference the trend towards video will help users digest information quicker.

“The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” she said.

“It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period.”

Mendelsohn said virtual reality and 360 video will become “commonplace” on Facebook and said the platform “will be definitely mobile”, alluding to the networks rapid expansion across the mobile and tablet market.

However, the platform’s shift away from text is not entirely user-driven, as the network’s algorithm now promotes videos on user’s feeds.

Facebook has also cut out nearly all text communication from the mobile version of its app, forcing users to install the separate Messenger app instead.

This suggests the company itself is playing an active role in the decline in text-based posts, rather than it happening organically.

Mendelsohn denied this at the conference, insisting the change was driven by numbers and was an organic shift.

What does it mean for SMEs?

Social media expert Catriona Pollard told SmartCompany businesses that use social media marketing should already be thinking about including video-based marketing, although they “needed to be doing that 18 months ago”.

“Businesses need to know how their consumers are using social media, and video is so much more interactive than other mediums,” Pollard says.

No matter the type of business, Pollard maintains there is always something that can be put into a video form.

“Many businesses think they don’t have anything to video, which is not the case,” she says.

“Every business is selling something, whether it’s knowledge, services, or time, and they need to look at how to present that to a consumer.”

Using the example of an accounting firm, Pollard says that an effective video could just be a series of how-tos.

“It could be as simple as ‘how to get your receipts in order’, although you’re giving away some of your intellectual property, you’re imparting knowledge,” Pollard says.

Worrying about time or resources for videos also shouldn’t be an issue, says Pollard, who says any business can make high-quality videos with an iPhone and some good lighting.

“Businesses need to go where their target audience is, and they have to adapt,” she says.

“If your audience is on Facebook, figure out how to make it work.”

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Dominic Powell

Dominic is the former features and profiles editor at SmartCompany.

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