In recent social media news, there has been lots of talk on the latest Facebook algorithm change. Much like Google, these algorithm changes are ongoing tweaks that ensure we as the users are never able to outsmart the system and increase the exposure of websites and posts without merit (or advertising spend!). So what can your business do to adjust to the new algorithm and play by Facebook’s rules to get maximum exposure for your brand?
What are the new algorithm changes?
Set up as a channel in which to bring users closer together and build community, Zuckerberg wants Facebook to create even more of a meaningful experience by phasing out commercial content and news providers from the News Feed
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.”
“But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content – posts from businesses brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other… Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook.”
“Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together… we can help make sure that time on Facebook is time well spent” – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder.
The biggest aim of the new update will be to ensure that people will have more meaningful social interactions on the social channel than ever before, where the focus has previously been on helping people to find relevant content that is popular among their Facebook friends and those with matched demographics (age, interests, location). As a result we should expect to see less “public content” from businesses, brands and media.
What does this mean for your business?
The biggest factor to businesses will be the likely reduction in organic reach. Your readers and followers will see more posting from friends and family than they will the sales message from your brand.
The changes make it even more important for you to understand your audience and make sure you are targeting your content to your customer. You need to find out what motivates them so that you can tailor your content to suit and create a community that will interest them and establish a relationship through engagement.
Although the changes will take months to roll out and will be a gradual process, it’s worth taking into consideration what the changes will be, how they will affect your brand’s method of posting and what you can do to adapt to the new algorithm changes.
What can your business do to overcome the changes?
Quality content – Keep producing good quality content that will encourage meaningful interactions between followers.
“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed.”
Brands are often guilty of chasing numbers, when in reality growing followers will organically occur by creating content that is of interest, relevance and value to your readers.
Analyse your type of audience and cater to their interests accordingly. You should aim to create a bond between your brand and your customer base to establish a strong community and to generate a response, without falling into an “engagement-baiting” trap. Brands will be penalised (i.e. demoted in the News Feed) for posting “spammy” content that asks for comments, likes and shares. That said, Facebook does still encourage businesses to ask their customers to follow their Page on Facebook. Businesses can also remind customers and loyal followers to choose the “See First” option in their Settings’ News Feed Preferences.
Video content – there has been a lot of discussion over the use of video on social media channels in recent years and how Google and Facebook will prioritise it on the News Feed over other types of content. However, in Zuckerberg’s recent comments he suggests that video has become a passive experience,
“We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.”
As the new changes are all about meaningful interactions, you should look to create content that is more engaging, Live Video being the preferred option and posting it on a regular basis. (Further reading – Going Live | How Live Video Can Help Your Business.)
Paid content – Although it took a while for many companies to come to terms with the fact that they now have to pay for reach that was previously achieved free of charge, boosting your posts on social media channels can no longer be ignored. If you want your content to be seen by a specific audience, you’ll have to pay for it and now is a good time to increase your ad budget and create a specific paid strategy.
Paid advertising can be a bit of a minefield but if you decide what the main aim of your campaign is, you can break down into one of, or a blend of the following: Traffic and leads for your website (through link click ads, video ads, boosted page ads); Sales and leads for your product or service (through multi-product / carousel ads, dynamic product ads, Facebook lead ads, canvas ads, collection ads); Likes and engagement for your page (through page like ads, page post photo ads, page post video ads, page post text); Mobile and desktop apps install (through mobile app, desktop app, Instagram mobile app ads); Visitors for your store or event (through event ads, offer claims, local awareness ads).
(Further reading – Facebook Business Ads Guide or get in touch with us and we’d be happy to explain in more detail)
Employee engagement – Your own staff members can be an underused resource. Encourage them to share your posts and engage with your Page, thus helping to spread the word much like the way advertisements do. Facebook loves – posts with lots of likes, comments and shares (especially in a short period of time), link posts and those that are interacted with regularly, posts that reference a trending topic and posts from Pages that have a complete profile. Facebook doesn’t like – clickbait titles, any spammy links, duplicated posts, posts that ask for likes, comments and shares and overly promotional content. It is worth investing time in Facebook Groups, as they already work on audience engagement and are ready-made communities, which is what the new algorithm is heavily leaning towards. Investigate “Groups for Pages”, a platform that will reach a brand’s superfan-base. (Further reading – Facebook Tips: What’s the Difference between a Facebook Page and Group)
Influencer outreach – Traditionally stronger in organic reach, influencer posts are more likely to appear in the organic feed than business posts. So this is great news for both influencers and their followers. As influencer content mimics content from friends and family, brands using this marketing method may find a way around the algorithm change. It has been suggested that influencer content can outperform brand content by five to ten times. Discover well-connected and like-minded bloggers, vloggers and other social media influencers to talk about your brand and spread the message on your behalf. Facebook is keen to promote influencer marketing on its’ feed and encourages both brands and agencies to create paid strategies for influencer content. Now is the time to jump aboard the influencer bandwagon.
So hopefully by now you haven’t completely abandoned the idea of using Facebook and converting customers through your page, as there are still ways around making the platform work for your business. If you need any further help marketing your business, contact us today to find out how we can help you achieve your digital marketing goals.