The recent changes to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm were announced earlier this month, not surprisingly, on Facebook itself. A Newsroom post by VP of News Feed Adam Mosseri covered the what and how, and a post by CEO Mark Zuckerberg went into detail about why Facebook sought to make the change at all.
In his post, Zuckerberg says, “we built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.” This move really is very similar to the one Google just made to mobile-first search results. Both decisions aim to create a more meaningful user experience, accomplished by pushing more relevant content to the user. The more likely consumers are to find what they want or need on Facebook or Google, the more likely they are to use those services.
Facebook users, in general, have developed bad habits while using the platform. The way we scroll through has become rather mindless and even Zuckerberg acknowledges that this may be diminishing our sense of well-being. We move so quickly through the News Feed, scanning and moving on to the next thing and not really learning or digesting anything of consequence; “the update is meant to slow that scroll.”
To businesses, this move may seem disconcerting, but it’s actually great news for companies who are ready to embrace what they know, their audience, and who they are as a brand. Businesses who are positioning themselves as experts in their fields are already at an advantage. On Google, businesses with a clear offering and a solid local presence get priority in relevant search results – visibility for businesses on Facebook is now heading in the same direction. Genuine authenticity is finally paying off.
What can businesses do?
It is true, we can all expect to see much less content from companies in our personal News Feed, and much more from our connections. But this doesn’t mean that business page posts are a thing of the past. They are still a very important part of Facebook’s ecosystem.
Business posts of the right nature are still considered quite valuable by Facebook. The difference is, if a business posts excellent content, you are less likely to see the post from the company directly, and more likely to see that content when it “is shared and talked about among friends.”
So, what can companies do to create more of the kind of content that Facebook considers “valuable?” What really makes a post relevant or engaging? We have a few tips below to help businesses come out on top of these changes and see their Facebook marketing strategy succeed.
Know Your Audience
Companies may want to take a moment to evaluate the quality of their audience. Do you have the right followers, ones who are genuinely interested in what your company has to say or offer? What are they talking about? What kind of content is actually being shared, commented on – discussed? Figure out what gets your audience going and then “produce content that encourages meaningful one-to-many discussions.”
Leverage Facebook Ads
Changes were not announced for the advertising algorithm – yet. Zuckerberg said, “It will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products.” The change to the organic feed makes Facebook ads more important than ever. We don’t know yet what will be in store for businesses using Facebook ads, but for now, a little savvy audience targeting can go a long way.
Not only will Facebook Ads continue to be a great way for businesses to reach potential customers, thoughtful targeting can help build out an audience that is more likely to find their content relevant. Audience quality may soon become more important than audience size and reach – you’ll need people in your following who actually want to like, comment on and share your posts to ensure that future content is seen.
Steer Clear of Engagement Bait
In late December, an announcement was made that Facebook would now be filtering out spammy posts and even demoting users and pages that post them consistently. In the post where the announcement was made, Engagement Bait was defined as “ clickbait headlines and links to low-quality web page experiences […] content that is spammy, sensational, or misleading.”
Engagement bait also includes posts that openly ask followers to like, share or comment. Those keywords and phrases are now being detected and taken into consideration by Facebook’s News Feed algorithm. The recommendation from Facebook is for businesses to post more authentic, accurate and informative content.
Post More Authentic and Engaging Content
In Adam Mosseri’s post he states, “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.” Remember the song “Something to Talk About?” Well, that is quickly becoming the name of the game!
Post More Live Videos
In our “2018 Digital Marketing Trends Forecast,” we predicted that video would be big this year – and live video even more so. Facebook’s Adam Mosseri noted in his announcement; “live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
In our blog, we dive into things that companies can do to see results from live video, even if they don’t feel they have much to talk about or aren’t equipped for production-quality broadcast. The long and short of it is that video doesn’t need to be professionally shot – high-quality video can be shot with a smartphone and perform well if it is authentic, informative and engaging.
There you have it. Some big changes coming from Facebook. And while these changes will certainly impact businesses—there is a lot you can do to mitigate any potential negative impact on your business.
If you’re feeling sufficiently overwhelmed with everything we’ve thrown at you—don’t be. We’ve actually spent years crafting a suite of digital marketing tools geared towards exactly what Facebook is demanding—crafting quality content and generating meaningful engagements. Want to learn more? Give us a shout!