Just when we were getting used to the current social media algorithms Facebook decided to throw another wrench in the so far successful year we’re having.
Another Facebook algorithm change?
Every so often another social media channel changes their algorithms and leaves marketers scrambling to find the best ways to get maximum views and engagement. Usually, this creates a huge problem – like when Google changes their algorithm – but for this change, I think a lot of us have been expecting some of it.
It’s well known that Facebook organic reach has been decreasing in the last few years, what is shocking is how Facebook decided to solve this problem. Oh wait, they didn’t.
Facebook announced that the new feed will have display more updates and posts from friends and family rather than from the pages that you follow or from Facebook ads. What’s really interesting is that they are predicting that this will decrease the average time that people spend on Facebook?
Why would Facebook want people to spend less time on the platform?
The feedback from people has been pretty standard – that there are way too many sponsored posts and meaningless ads on their newsfeeds. And what ends up happening is that people endlessly scrolling through their feeds and not interacting with any of the content.
So Facebook decided to increase their user engagement, decrease the newsfeed zombie effect, and show their support and appreciation for their diehard fans.
Mark Zuckerberg explained it in a formal statement:
“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.”
So what does this mean for marketers?
A few things.
First, this signals the almost certain death of organic reach for branded content. What companies need to do is to put more money into Facebook ads in order to get the same reach.
Alternatively, brands need to put more time and energy into creating content that will truly engage with their audience and peak their interest.
Remember, Facebook is going for engagement so if your friends are all commenting on a catchy post by Pepsi, chances are that you will see it. Smaller brands need to get better at creating engaging content and using Facebook ads.
What’s really vital is for each company to really study their audience and understand what they are looking for. Learn their interests and problems and learn to provide the right solutions. What can brands do with this information?
Strategically use influencer marketing
Brands can best help counter the decrease in organic reach by strategically using influencers to promote their product, service, or message. Influencers have an engaged audience with specific interests, hobbies, and forms of content that they regularly consume.
If a brand works with an influencer whose audience matches their ideal group of people that they want to promote to then they will be able to get more engagement and more sales in a shorter amount of time.
Think about it, no organic reach means people will only see the post from the brands (or influencers) that they really engage with. So the best way to still get traction on Facebook is to work with those influencers.
What other ways can you adjust to the Facebook algorithm change?
Collaborate with others
Facebook is switching to a ranking system where they rank those posts with the highest engagement (likes and longer comments) at the top. Find other brands or businesses and work with them to create thought-provoking posts that will get the engagement of both audiences.
Focus on live video
Zuckerberg announced that Facebook video reach will decrease because most people watch videos and never actually engage with them. That being said, it is very probable that a Facebook algorithm live feed, that actually brings engagement, comments, and conversation will get a lot of organic reach.
So focus on live video, make it part of your content strategy. Also, always ask for comments and feedback in every video that you do, this will bring your rankings higher.
Learn how to work Facebook ads
It is going to be vital to learn how to advertise. Facebook Ads is a separate system than organic content and it looks like it won’t be affected by this algorithm change. So, learn how to advertise, you can higher a freelancer, learn it yourself, or even get a marketing agency to do it for you.
Diversify your social media strategy
Finally, please do yourself a favor and get on as many social networks as you possibly can. Make Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Snapchat part of your social media strategy and learn how to maximize your reach and engagement on each platform.
Remember, you need to honor the rules of each platform. Learn the best content types that work on each social media channel, learn the common forms to write things, learn how to display your content visually. Don’t just post the same piece of content on all of your networks, make it fit each one.
Facebook is changing and in a lot of ways, it’s becoming a more fun and more meaningful platform. That being said, brands need to learn how to navigate the new changes and shift their social media strategy to achieve the same engagement and reach.