There’s been a lot of news online about recent changes to the Facebook News Feed algorithm, and what it will make our feeds look like. There’s also been a lot of panic surrounding what it will mean for businesses using Facebook to market to their customers.
Here’s a breakdown of information released by Facebook on these changes, and how businesses need to change to keep up with the new face of social media marketing.
What We Know
Facebook rarely gives us information about its News Feed algorithm, and this instance is no exception. This lack of visibility has led to a lot of panic among businesses and marketers, as to what changes will be seen (or not seen) by Facebook users.
The popular social media platform has said that any changes made to the News Feed are solely to give its users what they want. Namely, more of the content users want to see, and less of the content they don’t. A recent update in the Facebook Business blog has this to say about the changes:
“Our goal with News Feed has always been to show people the things they want to see… People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content.”
To that end, we know there will be reduced visibility on certain types of content published on Facebook:
- Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app;
- Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context; and
- Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads.
So, business Pages must be more strategic about the content they’re posting – using the same content in an ad will be only one way some business Pages will see a marked decline in their organic reach and impressions.
What We Don’t Know
Despite communications from Facebook appearing to offer transparency behind their process, we don’t know exactly how these changes will affect reach into the News Feed of our audiences.
In previous smaller algorithm changes, we’ve seen a long period of testing, with advert placements changing in visibility amongst audiences. We’ve also seen marked decreases in audience engagement on posts, as a result of lower organic impressions.
We don’t know what new features Facebook will roll out to try and counteract the decline of organic reach in business Pages. If previous algorithm changes are anything to go by, there will be a number of them aimed at offering more business information on each business Page, just like the menu sections on restaurant Pages. Early adopters, however, may get frustrated as these features are often culled when adoption rates are lower than expected. Does anyone remember the brief flash in the pan that was the Pages Feed on Facebook?
What Can We Do?
Facebook has been a pay-to-play platform for some time now. These changes to the News Feed won’t stop that from being a reality. We need to be more strategic than ever when it comes to content creation, advertising and audience engagement.
Here are some tips to consider when developing your content strategies for Facebook in coming months:
- Is your business Page up to scratch? Fill out all the information. Make sure that people can find you, your website, and learn a little bit about your offerings.
- Want to get your message to a specific segment of your audience? Look to developing an ad campaign that gives them a clear course of action to take. Make sure you’re creating content specifically for that ad, and not just re-hashing something you’ve posted organically – it won’t work as well if you’re just boosting a post.
- Do you know the various personas in your audience? Building customer personas is a great way to understand the drivers for your customers and the content they’re looking for. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, you can’t provide them with the content that solves their problems. Once you have this clear, you can go about developing streams of content that offer specific answers to specific issues, and helps you cut through the noise into their News Feeds.
- Been coasting through without a paid component to your strategy? Gone are the days where we could rely on organic audience engagement to get us across the line. Test the waters of paid content with a regular boosted post. From this, regular advertising across various Facebook placements can help with lead generation and specific actions for your audience to take.
- Use more video to tell your business story. There’s more than just anecdotal evidence to suggest that video content gets better reach and engagement than other forms of content. A recent study by Facebook found that 45% of people surveyed expressed an intention to consume more video on Facebook. That’s just the people who consciously intended to do so, let alone the people who didn’t mean to, but they just can’t stop watching those suggested videos! Video isn’t a “nice-to-have” in your content strategy anymore – it’s mandatory. Facebook is even facilitating more video content, with Facebook Live Videos, 360 videos and some pretty detailed video performance analytics.
These are just some starting points to help finesse your content strategy for Facebook.
Despite the panic this announcement has created, it’s important to realise that we are offered a unique opportunity to talk to our customers right in their personal space. Social media provides a platform to develop conversations and offer solutions to our customers right where they are looking for answers to their problems. We need to think about how we can offer customers the most captivating experience possible, and the necessary engagement will happen.