Learn more about what Facebook’s recent algorithm change is and what it means for your business
In early January this year, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerburg announced that the social media giant will change its News Feed algorithm to prioritize content from friends, family, and groups over content from brand pages, businesses, and media.
This caused quite a stir among page owners and businesses who have been focusing their social media marketing efforts on Facebook. How will this affect brands and organic reach? What must brands do to market effectively on Facebook in light of this new algorithm change?
What changes are expected from Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm?
According to Zuckerburg’s official statement, Facebook was built to help people stay connected and bring people closer together.
“That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience . . . But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content—posts from businesses, brands and media—is crowding out the personal moments,” he adds.
Facebook will now be focusing on helping you find relevant content to bring out more meaningful social interactions from your time spent on Facebook. The change will be rolled out gradually, starting with the News Feed. Here’s what to expect:
- Facebook algorithms will predict which posts you’re most likely to interact with with your friends, and these posts will be ranked higher on your feed
- Posts from friends, family, and groups will be prioritized over public content
- See fewer public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media
How would the algorithm change affect brands and publishers?
While many brands are shaken by this announcement, Facebook isn’t completely shutting out content from business pages and the like. Page content and public posts will still be seen on News Feeds, although fewer than before.
According to Facebook, business pages may see a decrease in their organic reach, video watch time, and referral traffic as the algorithm change rolls out. The impact, however, will differ from Page to Page, depending on the following factors:
- The type of content you post
Engagement-bait posts will be demoted—for example, comment “amen” to save a life, or tag your friend in the comments if you agree. Posts like these are generally considered meaningless interactions and are only aimed at encourage people to comment or react to your post in an effort to manipulate the algorithm. Posts like live videos, on the other hand, often lead to discussion among viewers, which will be more likely to be prioritized.
- How people interact with your posts
Pages that create posts where people generally don’t react to or comment on will be deprioritized. Of course, the engagement on your posts should encourage “meaningful interactions between people,” according to Facebook. This means merely tagging a friend or commenting something that doesn’t generally spark conversations aren’t considered as meaningful engagement.
What must brands do to market effectively on Facebook in 2018?
There are certainly feasible strategies that businesses and brands can do to work with Facebook’s new algorithm change. Here are a few things that you can do to continue reaching out to your audience while maintaining meaningful interactions:
- Encourage your page’s followers to choose See First in the News Feed Preferences
This is one of the simplest ways for you to reach your audience organically, but compelling your followers to actually choose See First might be difficult if you’re not posting something of value or worth seeing. Examples of what you can do to win your audience’s approval include being able to frequently give out promos and discounts, or getting the latest updates about new and relevant products.
- Create quality content that sparks discussion and engagement
Facebook has made it clear that spammy and engagement bait posts will be demoted with the new algorithm change. In this light, it’s important to focus your efforts on content that are genuinely of high value to your audience, which they will most likely engage with. Here are a few ideas:
- Live videos continue to be a gem in sparking engagement. In fact, Facebook noted in their official statement regarding the recent algorithm change that live videos get 6 times more engagement than regular videos. That said, be sure to include Facebook Live to your social media marketing strategy this 2018, if you haven’t already.
- Write about timely and relevant topics that your audiences are most likely to have an opinion on or something they really care about. Of course, choose topics that are also relevant to your brand. You don’t want to lean on being a media page if your core offering is organic food.
- Ask questions, but make sure to ask questions that matter, such as what they think about your brand and how you can improve, or how your brand has added value to their lives. This is also a good way to encourage user-generated content.
- Increase your ad budget
Facebook didn’t explicitly say that the new algorithm change won’t affect paid posts; however, industry experts said that the CPM rates for Facebook ads are expected to increase eventually. While this is still a wait-and-see game, your brand might do well to increase your ad budget and include paid advertisements in your social media marketing strategy this year.
Wrapping it up
In essence, there is certainly no reason to fear the algorithm change if your brand is already dedicated to providing high-quality content to your audience. Facebook’s new algorithm change poses not as a risk for brands but as a challenge to focus your attention more on what your audiences care about.