I don't often give Facebook credit for creating a platform that a lot of people think is just fine. I mean, I've tried hard to find something I like about Facebook. More than two billion people use it every month, so there has to be something good about it, right? Despite its privacy issues, the algorithm, and the way the platform incentivizes incendiary content, people still use Facebook every day.
I have theories about that cognitive dissonance and why it might be, but that isn't the point of this column. Instead, there is one killer feature that actually says more about people than it does about Facebook: Facebook Memories.
I'm sure you're probably familiar with the feature that reminds you every day of what you posted on that date a year ago, or three years ago, or even longer ago. It shows you your status updates or the photos you shared and encourages you to share that memory again.
There is, of course, a benefit to Facebook in that it encourages engagement, but I actually think there's an even more valuable lesson here for every company. Facebook Memories is such a great feature because of what it does for users.
Here's what I mean:
People have a natural desire to connect with the important moments in their lives, even--especially--those in the past. That connection is powerful and one of the most valuable things you can offer them is help in remembering the way they felt during those moments.
Photos, especially, have the ability to remind us how we've felt at important times in our lives. Sure, Google Photos and even the Photos app on iOS (or your Mac) have a similar feature, but there's an important difference. A photo you take isn't quite the same as one you share.
I have about 45,000 photos on my iPhone (no, seriously), but I share only a handful. There's a reason you share that photo of your child's first step. There's a reason you shared when you bought a new car, or moved into a new home, or went on vacation, or when your kid moved into her dorm.
There was something meaningful about those moments. That's why you shared them in the first place. When they pop up in your Facebook Memories, you get to have that meaningful experience again. This isn't even complicated, to be honest.
Ultimately, the most successful brands do one of two things. The first is create a deep emotional connection with their audience. Apple is a great example of this.
The other is remind people of a deep emotional connection they already have with a moment, or a person, or an experience in their lives. This is where Disney excels.
I wrote last summer about a study that said some 40 percent of people would pay for Disney+ simply because the movies reminded them of their childhood. It turns out that was true, as Disney+ now has more than 60 million subscribers.
The reason is the same. People, ultimately want to remember the way they felt during the important moments in their lives. That's exactly what Facebook Memories does, and it's why it's such a great feature.
That is, by the way, one of the most powerful things you can do for your customers or users or fans. Help them to engage with the meaningful moments in their own lives and remember the way the felt. After all, your brand relies on more than the way people feel about your business--it's also about how they feel about themselves.