On January 11th, Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to Facebook’s news feed – and marketers collectively gasped, wondering what it all means. Now that the dust has settled, let’s discuss.
Facebook’s new algorithmic changes will be implemented with the goal of making time spent on Facebook more “meaningful” for users. According to Zuckerberg, users prefer to use the site for interacting with family and close friends, but over the years, this content has gotten increasingly drowned out by news articles and videos. While not directly mentioned, this update has a clear correlation with the “fake news” debacle, and how Facebook plans to address it. Publishers, more than brands, will see their content affected as the largest impacts will likely be on organic reach and engagement.
For everyone, Facebook will favor content that generates meaningful conversation and person-to-person interaction. The best way to see how these changes will affect your page is to test and learn. Here are a few ways brands can prepare for these changes to ensure that Facebook continues to be an efficient channel to interact with their community and encourage action.
1. Create More Live videos
Live videos can generate 6x as much engagement as non-live videos. Q&A, Behind-the-Scenes, and Product Launches/Reviews, are just some of the ways brands can use live video to generate conversation in an authentic way.
2. Make Use of Facebook Groups
Because the main purpose of a group is to serve as a discussion board for a specific topic/audience, it is likely that Facebook’s algorithms will favor posts/discussions from groups over content from a brand page. Brands should find creative ways to entice their existing audiences to continue the discussion in a group. For example, a health food brand may set up a group specific to a certain dietary restriction or preference.
3. Focus Advertising Efforts on Awareness
These changes will likely cause brands to invest more into paid advertising, which could increase advertising costs. With increased competition and less news feed inventory, it will be crucial to use advertising for reach and awareness. Content with a marketing/sales message will not get as much exposure.
4. Avoid “Engagement Bait”
Facebook can recognize when a brand is trying to generate engagement simply to pad numbers. Asking users to comment or like a post for no reason will not be successful. Ask users relevant questions that can create a larger conversations and help you get to know your audience. “Where are you from?” “What are your favorite memories with our brand?”
5. Value Your Influencer Network
Influencers have a strong understanding of their audience and always post relevant content. An influencer posting about your brand will become an even more affective way to impact behavior, as Facebook will likely favor their content over publishers/media companies.
For our clients at SRW.Agency, not much will change – through our partnership, they already understand the difference between simply pushing out content, and fostering an engaged community comprised of target audiences. Understanding what kinds of content have been successful with these audiences, and testing new methods of distribution, will help avoid any setbacks as these changes are rolled out.
Zuckerberg’s full explanation can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/zuck/posts/10104413015393571
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