On January 11th, Mark Zuckerberg announced a series of changes to the Facebook algorithm, designed to reduce excessive news and business related content and promote interaction between family and friends, dubbed ‘meaningful interactions.’ By returning to their social roots, the shift has alarm bells ringing for many businesses and organisations – shares in the site immediately fell four percent, effectively wiping over $3 billion from Zuckerberg’s net worth.
For news sites, this Facebook algorithm shift will also involve the prioritisation of news sources deemed ‘trustworthy’, while celebrities and influencers can also expect to see less of their posts in followers’ feeds. In terms of hard data, Zuckerberg committed to reducing news content in users’ feeds from five to four percent. The changes have been deeply concerning for organisations – entire social media strategies have been plunged into jeopardy and many businesses are searching for viable solutions.
However, Facebook algorithm changes and calls for more user tailored feeds are nothing new. In fact, Facebook made a strikingly similar commitment back in August of 2014. Back then, the site pledged to show less promotional and recycled content, causing similar uproar among content creators, businesses and influencers. However, as these previous changes have demonstrated, organisations providing quality content and genuine engagement with users have emerged unscathed from algorithm shifts.
Crucially, data shows actual page engagement declined over 20% in 2017, highlighting overall user fatigue caused by clickbait pages and duplicated, poor quality content. The removal of low quality pages from users’ feeds is therefore a positive for the site overall. By creating an environment that favours meaningful content tailored to a user’s tastes, Facebook is effectively creating a more trustworthy and reliable site for both individuals and businesses.
While the changes won’t perhaps be as catastrophic to existing marketing strategies as first thought, algorithm changes are a timely reminder as to the importance of a dynamic and meaningful content plan.
So – what can you do to make sure your business content is seen and heard in 2018?
It underpins any successful marketing strategy. Users don’t want to feel spammed or overwhelmed by the pages they follow. Be mindful in the regularity of your postings and enforce a standard tone and length to your content. Remember, poorly written and untailored content is the main target of the Facebooks algorithm changes.
Prioritise building a genuine and targeted following
By creating content which users consistently click on, you can take advantage of the new algorithm which notes who is clicking on your content, and what they’re clicking on, and knowingly promotes those pages.
Pinning key posts to your business’ page is a practical method of making sure your content isn’t lost in the fray amidst newsfeed changes. Make sure that as soon as a user clicks on your page, they are presented with the most relevant content as opposed to merely your most recent posts.
As actual page engagement declines, the importance of exploring a paid Facebook advertising campaign is continually increasing. Banners, page promotion, email opt ins and targeted viewers – advertising with Facebook is a multifaceted means of reaching your desired audience. Crucially, the algorithm for Facebook advertising is currently not being changed in tandem with these new shifts.
Broaden advertising to Facebook’s additional features
Increasingly, younger users are engaging less with the traditional Facebook interface in favour of the dedicated messenger app. Take advantage of changing user habits and target your advertising to within the messenger app. Similarly, Facebook live is an emerging method which promotes active user engagement, with endless opportunities for business promotion.
Like and share… and unfollow!
Promotions and competitions imploring users to like, share and tag your posts are set to be another casualty of the Facebook algorithm changes. Data suggests such competitions are a poor means of building an engaged audience, and worse, alienate your existing audience. In fact, many such competitions actually break Facebook’s community guidelines, running the risk of post or even entire page deletion. Choose your promotions and competitions wisely.
According to Forbes, influencers are not currently bound by the same restrictions placed on businesses amid these new algorithm changes. For the time being at least, collaborating with influencers is more important than ever, especially if your business is currently not engaging in a paid promotion with Facebook. The key to a successful influencer collaboration is choosing an influencer that has a genuine link to your product or service or desired audience.
Want to chat to our team about your Facebook strategy for 2018? Get in touch today!