Make Way for Change: Facebook Updates its Algorithm

Over the past few years, Facebook has become a key component of many businesses’ marketing strategy. With over 2 billion users, Facebook makes it easy to reach key audiences at a low cost, but it’s about to become much more difficult.

 

Facebook is constantly changing, but the most recent January 2018 announcement showcased a complete overhaul to the current news feed algorithm — prepare to toss your previous social media plan out the door and start fresh.

 

What’s the Update?

Based on the recent algorithm changes, it’s clear that Facebook’s new goal is to encourage meaningful conversations between users and deliver more content shared by family and friends. Comments (especially comments person-to-person not person-to-page) will be more valued moving forward.

 

Across the board, all types of posts (video, photos, infographics and links) shared from business pages will see a significant decrease in organic reach and referral traffic. According to Social Media Examiner: While Facebook still values page content as an important part of their platform’s ecosystem, the news feed will shift the focus from ranking content that’s directly consumed from pages (which will shrink in reach) to content that is shared and talked about among friends (which will grow).”

 

Overall, this presents a big win to users, and a big wake-up call to marketers who utilize the platform.

 

What Will Be Effected When?

In the next two to three months, these changes will initially effect only Facebook news feeds. However, the new algorithm will eventually impact all entities (i.e., messenger, groups, personal pages).

 

Why the Change?

Facebook has recognized the passivity that comes with scrolling through the news feed. Partly because the space has become cluttered with content that isn’t a user’s priority. It’s easy to simply “like” or “share” content without engaging and that has lead to a less-than-average experience on the site. Facebook wants users to feel good about using the network and in order to do that and keep them for the long run, this update was inevitable.

 

What You Can Do

The news feed update is great news for users but presents a major hurdle for marketers to figure out new ways to distribute content and engage Facebook users. Ultimately, we need to establish some new “Facebook Fundamentals” and re-think the way we share content, ergo — it’s time to think outside of the box!

 

Based on the recent updates, here is some advice to keep your engagement high:

 

1. Stop talking at your customers and start storytelling. The biggest to-do on the list is to start creating content that will get people talking to each other. Audit the content that you are already sharing in the past six months. Create a strategy around those items that have sparked meaningful conversations and stick to those core messages.

 

2. Scale back on posting frequency. Facebook will now demote posts that bring little value to users (i.e., do not promote dialogue… see a theme here?). So stop posting three to four times a week just to get content out there — it will hurt you more than it will help. Invest more time into smaller amounts of posts and be careful about when you share them.

 

3. Incorporate Facebook Live video into your strategy. Facebook has noted that even viewing video has become a passive experience, so viewers can expect less of it in their news feed; however, live video prompts about six times more discussion than any other type of post. Why? Live video creates value by having a human dialogue with consumers.

 

4. Master Facebook ads. We’ve seen this change coming for quite some time at LF and have had to pump our social media budget a bit more over the past year. If you aren’t investing in boosted and paid posts, now is the time. Facebook offers great tutorials that make it easy to become an expert.

 

5. Encourage people to select “See First.” Users have the ability to prioritize the pages that deliver content to them by choosing to “see first.” To get on top of this change, you can encourage your page’s users to update their settings to ensure they are receiving your posts.

 

6. Avoid engagement bait. Just because the change makes it difficult for marketers up-front, do not ask for comments in the post copy to avoid the possible reach decrease. This also includes contests/promotions that ask people to like/comment. Short comments on these will be demoted.

 

7. Consider Facebook Messenger ChatBots. Similar to e-mail service providers. Chatbots allow you to carry on the conversation and ping them when you have content ready to view (links, videos).

 

At LF, we’re game for any challenge to figure out new and innovative ways to engage customers — and the newest updates to Facebook are just another bump in the road. Looking for ways we can help? Let us know and let’s do it together.

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