Adapting to change – our response to the Facebook algorithm announcement
One of the features of working in the digital media industry is the constant state of evolution. Every week there seems to be a new piece of legislation or a fresh update on industry software. To keep up in this sector it’s vital you’re nimble and adaptable.
Facebook algorithm tightens… again
The big news story of the moment has to be the recent announcement of an overhaul in the workings and focus of the Facebook algorithm. Mark Zuckerberg made an announcement via his own Facebook page on 12th January. He made it clear that the priority will be to keep people’s feeds trained on ‘meaningful interactions’ rather than ‘relevant content.’
This means that using Facebook effectively for marketing has become more difficult. The platform will further prioritise the visibility of posts from your friends and family and show less branded content. In his announcement Zuckerberg said ‘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.’
Already there are algorithms in place that impede a company’s posts from reaching the people they hope they will. They’re there for a good reason – none of us log onto social media to be advertised at. We want to see engaging, fun and relevant content and to connect with friends, family and peers. It’s in no-one’s interest for the feed to be filled with company posts, as the audience would quickly dwindle and ultimately disappear.
What does this mean for businesses?
In terms of using Facebook as a marketing tool, it’s worth going back to Facebook’s core newsfeed values:
– Friends and family come first
– Your feed should inform
– Your feed should entertain
– A platform for all ideas
– Authentic communication
– You control your experience
– Constant iteration
The values that Facebook emphasises are the things that make our team love social media in the first place. As experts in digital marketing we work hard to keep our content pithy, relevant and engaging. We think that the quality of content and scope for interaction are key when we plan how to navigate this latest challenge.
In practice we anticipate that the change will be gradual. Also, it will be a continuation of what we have already seen in our work. Facebook have been capitalising on businesses’ use of their platform for a long time. They’ve made it increasingly difficult for content to be seen without putting a budget behind it.
What do we expect?
As usual with these changes, there have been no timescales announced and no detailed information on how the changes will impact on a practical level. Over the next few months we anticipate a dwindling in organic reach for brands. As digital marketing specialists we thrive at being responsive. Unlike traditional PR, reach of a specific post is quickly and easily tracked so we can tell how many of the right people are seeing it. This means that we can change tack at a moment’s notice to try something a little different.
Facebook is a business and one whose main revenue is driven through sponsorship and advertising. It’s inconceivable that they would cut this off entirely. We have already seen a strangulation in reach on posts without any budget behind them. This will not change. You’ll need to put a budget behind your posts, but more importantly they will need to delight and engage your audience.
In order to be given any level of visibility, businesses will need to strive to keep their posts relevant and engaging. It’s vital they move beyond stale announcements and look towards creating those ‘meaningful interactions’. Get noticed by asking questions, telling stories and creating visually stimulating and emotive content. More importantly, it’s the management of the resulting interactions that will have the greatest impact on the outcomes for your business.
Surprise and delight your audience with interesting posts, and make sure you work hard to build your presence on other social media platforms too. Facebook is just one of many platforms from which to speak. Nurture your growth on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn as well as investigating the ways in which Influencer Outreach can add value to your marketing strategy. Keep your feed vibrant and engaging. As Bill Gates said, ‘Content is king’.
We are constantly evolving and adapting our strategies to keep our brands visible. Our team look for ways to extend reach to new audiences of potential customers and to continue to delight and engage your existing followers. We would love to chat to you about the ways in which we can work with your brand, so don’t hesitate to get in contact.
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