On January 11th, Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement that Facebook would be changing its algorithm to prioritize content that builds communities between friends, family and groups. Just when we thought we had this whole Facebook thing figured out, it changes. Again.
Zuckerberg explained the change by saying, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
So then, what does this mean for brands?
First, business pages are going to see a decrease in their organic reach. It also means users will see less content from their favorite brands, and more content from friends and family members.
Zuckerberg attributes the change to, “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.” He admitted that businesses are going to have to work harder and smarter to snag their customer’s attention on Facebook.
It’s critical now more than ever for businesses to fully understand how to maximize their presence on Facebook. Here are our top tips to ensure your content can still be seen on the platform.
The new Facebook algorithm prioritizes conversations and engagement. In his statement, Zuckerburg said, “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
For brands, this means posting content that gets people talking and answering questions, rather than simply liking or sharing. This will require tapping into the true interests and opinions of your followers, in order to inspire a reaction on your content.
Pro Tip: While comments and engagement are key to showing up in news feeds, don’t try to hack the algorithm by flat out asking for comments. That will come off as spammy, Facebook will recognize it as “engagement-bait,” and this tactic would actually penalize your brand in the long run.
High quality video continues to be popular within social media feeds and will need to be utilized even more now to spark conversations between brands and consumers. Consider putting more resources toward your Facebook Live videos too. In the announcement, Zuckerberg wrote, “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
This is exactly the type of engagement that is favored by the new algorithm. Live videos are actually one of the only concrete examples that the Facebook team said would perform well under the changes.
While we don’t recommend asking for comments, we do recommend asking your followers to choose “See first” on your profile. This controls what will show up in their news feeds, despite the new algorithm. See below for how to get there:
Organic brand reach has slowly been declining on Facebook for the past few years and will only get worse with this change. Study up on proper ad techniques to ensure that you’re targeting the right audiences at the right time. Don’t be afraid to spend a little money, especially if you feel confident that you’ve created a hyper-targeted Facebook ad campaign.
If you’ve never used Facebook Groups before, now is the time to start. These groups exist in order to spark conversation; therefore becoming very favorable within the new algorithm. Your Facebook Group may not be as large as your fan page following, but that’s okay. The goal here is quality over quantity. Your group will be filled with “super-fans” who are extremely loyal to your brand and will deeply engage with you and the other group members. As Facebook evolves to favor community-building, Facebook Groups will become one of the best tools to stay relevant.
Over the past few years, brands have figured out how to get their message in front of the right audience, but this new Facebook algorithm discredits all of the hard work that’s been done. A new strategic and creative approach will now be required to be seen on the platform.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the change, know that you aren’t alone. Social media is an ever-changing beast, and we’re all in this together figuring it out. Try implementing just one of these tips at a time instead of tackling it all at once. Don’t be afraid to test out new strategies, and above all else, don’t give up on Facebook quite yet.
We don’t know exactly how this will affect brands in the long run, but what we do know, is that Facebook users continue to seek out meaningful connections with people and brands on the platform. If you’re looking for new direction on your new Facebook strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out! We help small businesses navigate this confusing digital marketing landscape, and we’d love to help you find the best solution.