If you’re in charge of a business that has a Facebook Page, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock you will have heard about how the Facebook algorithm is changing – seemingly to the detriment of that business Page you’ve worked so hard to build up.
South Coast Social Director Clare Groombridge gives her feedback on what the changes are, how they might affect you (or not!) and what you can still do to make your company stand out. Over to Clare….
“Facebook was built to bring people closer together and build relationships. One of the ways we do this is by connecting people to meaningful posts from their friends and family in News Feed. Over the next few months, we’ll be making updates to ranking so people have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about”
So that’s the official line from Facebook.
In an interview with The New York Times, Facebook hinted that reworking the News Feed will drive immediate dips in time on site and engagement metrics, but this is a sacrifice they are willing to make in order to fix what they feel has become a ‘broken’ News Feed experience that does not benefit the overall health and well-being of users.
Essentially, they want to return to the ‘social network’ of old – more personal engagement with actual, people rather than brands, and bring back a sense of community to the News Feed. Expect less businesses, less Buzzfeed and viral dog memes and more babies of old school friends, photos of Aunt Elsies night out and more Posts from friends popping up that you haven’t seen in a while (or perhaps…. ever).
So is it officially Newsfeed Armageddon for brands?
Organic reach for brands is going down. However.
It’s estimated that currently, average Page reach per Post is approximately 2-5% – if 100 people opted-in to Like your Page, only 2-5 of them are likely to see one of your Posts. This is nothing new. So essentially, to most brands, the new Facebook algorithm in practice might not make a VAST amount of difference.
However, Mark Zuckerberg says that publisher Posts in aggregate still account for most of the content people see in their News Feed. This is because publishers push out substantially more updates than regular users every day. So even if individual Post reach is low, Facebook overall still generates an enormous amount of free exposure for brands.
The new Facebook algorithm is also bad news for ‘engagement baiters’ – any Facebook advertisers that bait users into engaging with their content with offers that promise a coupon code or other incentives for liking publisher posts.
Going forward, Facebook says these tactics will result in demotion of Post rank.
As the Drum recently put it;
Digital marketers often talk about social networks in the context of the hack-infested world of ‘inbound marketing’ in which people do whatever it takes – such as putting clickbait headlines on useless pieces of garbage ‘content’ – to maximise direct response social shares and website clicks, no matter what the long-term brand damage will be inflicted.
But social media has the potential to be so much more – if only marketers would think about it in the correct way.
I couldn’t agree more.
I’ve been saying to clients for the last year or so that Facebook is no longer a social network, for brands. However, what it is, is a fantastically powerful advertising medium, which when coupled with strikingly visual organic content and carefully constructed copy, STILL has the potential to showcase your brand to a relevant, engaged audience. And by audience, I don’t mean how much traffic can you drive, how many viral Likes can you get from competitions – I mean a true audience.
How To Beat The Facebook Algorithm (a little) – what you can do.
CREATE MEANINGFUL CONTENT
I. Can’t. Emphasise. This. Enough.
As Facebook says;
Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, 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. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities. In Groups, people often interact around public content. Local businesses connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and creating events. And news can help start conversations on important issues.
GET YOUR TRIBE TO ‘SEE FIRST’
We work with many businesses whose audience are incredibly engaged with their Facebook Page. If that sounds like yours, then you can help beat the Facebook algorithm by instructing your Page followers to choose ‘See First’ in News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see Posts from their favourite Pages. Put a Post up about this with a vibrant image and pin it to the top of your Page for a month or so. Or, go one better, and Boost this Post (to just your Page audience).
The Facebook algorithm change is good news for Facebook Groups – these fall into the category of types of content that spark meaningful discussion, so we expect their organic engagement to hold steady or even increase over time. If you don’t have one of these yet, consider creating one! This can now be linked to your Facebook Page, so it’s an excellent way to drove those engaged brand advocates to your ‘official’ Page.
Videos are still favoured under the new algorithm, but live videos will be even more important – live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.
This means if you haven’t already invested time and energy into posting live videos on Facebook, you should definitely consider integrating this into your social media plan, as it’s one of the few concrete examples of content that will perform well under the new Facebook algorithm.
Facebook ads are now the only way for businesses to reliably connect with specific people on Facebook. We’ve seen ad costs increase over the last few years, and I think this will continue. But for most companies, it’s not necessary to focus on driving a huge volume of website hits.
Instead, be super picky and focus your Facebook advertising on these areas in particular:
- Promotion of Unicorns: Sponsored posts with unusually high post engagement rates (+10%) are still remarkably cheap.
- Remarketing: People who visited your site recently are the most likely to buy your stuff in the future.
- Custom Audiences: It’s like email marketing on Facebook.
Facebook Messenger presents a fantastic opportunity for marketers to message directly to their customers without ever showing up on anyone’s News Feed (keeping Zuckerberg happy).
Like email marketing, you can get people to opt into receiving updates from your company Page via Facebook Messenger. From there, you can use an automated chatbot to send updates to subscribers and respond to inquiries.
I hope this has helped cleared up some questions you may have had about the latest Facebook algorithm changes. Ultimately, Facebook’s latest (and it won’t be the last!) update will result in an improved experience for consumers as they look to favour meaningful interactions on the platform – and long term, that can only be a good thing for brands.
If you’d like to chat over how these changes could effect your business online, or want to chat over how we can use our expertise at social media advertising to still get your content seen, why not get in touch or send the team an email to email@example.com – we’d love the opportunity to demonstrate what we do.