This past month, I was given the opportunity to visit the Facebook Office in Austin, TX! Not gonna lie, I was excited outta-my-mind with the offer because I knew that getting the inside scoop of Facebook, the company who also owns Instagram, will give me more insight to being a better content creator- hooray! From the amount of feedback I've been getting from my friends in the blogger community, many ask, "How did you get to visit Facebook?" to which I respond, "I've met the right people who said I can." Facebook tours are exclusively offered to people who are invited from a Facebook employee, and thanks to Instagram, I befriended someone who cared enough for me to visit the amazing company.
As a blogger, my content heavily relies on social media platforms- especially Instagram! With this tour, I was amazed to see the work space of the company who hosts over billions of users who actively use Facebook/Instagram daily. Plus, I had an exclusive interview with one of the Facebook employees to get their personal perspective about the upcoming changes in Instagram.
When I arrived, I signed in at the office and immediately started taking photos around the waiting area. The decor and design of the space is contemporary chic with pops of print and color accents. From my observation, the ambiance of the office was strategically arranged to where artwork installations helped stimulate creativity and positive thinking. Overall, the entire vibe of Facebook was inviting for employees and guests.
Before I knew it, I finally met Mark (AKA @markyatx on Instagram), one of the Facebook analysts who also happens to be a fellow blogger and dear friend. He welcomed me to the kitchen to where we had lunch, and man, the cafeteria area is foodie heaven! From brick oven pizza, salad bars, burgers, fried rice, and tacos...I can never imagine a meal at Facebook ever being plain and boring. Eating lunch with such creative-minded people made me want to feast!
After the feast, I walked around the museum-esque office and observed the team behind the platform I love so much. Facebook Austin has three floors filled with office space, fun photo-worthy areas, and creative thinking rooms where employees and guests can play games, relax, unwind, and perform activities that build a community. Even the meeting rooms inside Facebook have artwork plastered all over the walls. Walking around each floor made me feel like I was entering inside some cool-kid-tech-club-house.
By far, my favorite part of the tour was having a one-on-one interview with Mark. I got the chance to hear about his perspective on Instagram, the algorithm changes, and ways to be successful in social media. Trust me, ya'll. I did not hold back on the questions! I loved how open Mark was about his opinion on the matter and to finally answer the tough questions that everybody wished they could ask Facebook in person. Learning about his ideas about building a brand made me connect with Facebook and Instagram so much more, and I'm so happy to share with you our interview:
"Prior to Instagram, we had Myspace, Friendster, and other social platforms that were short-lived in comparison to the Facebook company. In your opinion, how long do you think Instagram will last?"
I definitely see Instagram lasting for a long time. In combination with Instagram originating influencer marketing and having a steady increase in the blog community, it has a unique potential to stay relevant within the next 10 years. Of course, even I can't promise the exact number of years Instagram will last, but as long as you use social media as an online portfolio to your brand, the impact can withstand any changes in your platform.
"Should we anticipate any new algorithm changes happening within this year?"
Personally, I do think there will be an algorithm change happening. The current algorithm we have now is "good" in the sense of making users create and engage authentically. However, there is a noticeable difference in how much more difficult it is for influencers to gain a following now than it has been in the previous year due to how content appears in timelines. Because of this, I think that Instagram will continue to work on evolving authentic engagement and bettering the brand.
"With the newest updates on Instagram, what do you think is the best method in growing an organic following?"
I think the important aspect to focus on is engaging back. If someone likes your photo or comments on your posts, reciprocating back can help build a strong foundation in your brand engagement. Reaching out to other users shows you are being personable, authentic, and responsive to any feedback. Secondly, being aware of the type of influencers you engage with is important. Following other bloggers and brands that align with your niche can help gain followers that share the same interests as you. People are always hesitant to engage with other social media creators due to competition, but at the end of the day, helping others out in your niche can build a strong team and industry.
"In addition to Instagram providing IG Stories and Live Stream, what is the top feature that all users should invest more on the platform?"
I think people should focus more in doing Instagram Live. Because few users are doing it, you would be more memorable as a brand. Plus, it also appears at the top of the feed screen before posts. I think it also caters to Instagram's focus in building an authentic, online engagement. It's a great feature to show the real, unedited you and it's a refreshing way for users to connect with you. Besides Instagram Live, users should incorporate more videos in their content because it reveals the number of views versus the number of likes you've gotten from a post. It's another way for brands to see how often people are engaging with your content.
What do you think about Facebook Austin? Leave a comment below! I want to thank Mark for allowing me to visit, interview, and tour around ( be sure to also check him out on Instagram at @markyatx). If you ever get the opportunity to visit, it's definitely worth the trip! If you find this helpful, make sure to share this post on your social media to spread the great word about Facebook Austin! Until next time- Ressa