By now you’ve likely heard that Mark Zuckerberg has announced a plan to implement yet another change to Facebook’s news feed algorithm. The change is in response to heavy criticism of the platform’s imbalance between posts from friends and family, and posts from businesses. Zuckerberg expects it will result in shorter but more valuable experiences on the site.
First, to summarise:
This means two things for your brand:
If you don’t act like a friend, your brand will suffer. There’s no getting around it. Facebook has been clear that business pages posting promotional creative should expect their organic reach to fall significantly, starting from January. Granted, no one wants to be inundated with ads. Yet the past couple of years of Facebook analytics have shown there is a propensity for people to engage with news stories, articles sharing expert knowledge, tips and how-to’s and so on. So if your brand has information your customers will value, you need to get smarter about how you present it so it will be seen.
So, what should you be doing?
This is what friends do. So, post content that generates meaningful comments among your audience. Talk about timely news, evoke emotion, ask questions, provoke opinions. It’s not always easy, but it makes sense that posts receiving the most love will reach furthest.
If Facebook is going to prioritise posts from people, get people talking about your brand. The general public trust posts from people 80% more than posts from brands. So, it’s a logical next move. Micro-influencers are going to be your best bet. They have highly engaged niche audiences but are operating outside of the “public figure” realm, i.e. in the “people-to-people” sphere.
There’s a time and a place. Don’t use live video to try and get around the algorithm change. Use it when it makes sense for your brand. For example, post live at an exciting launch or when you’ve just got new stock in and want to give your fans a sneak peek. Remember, if we abuse it, we know what algorithm changes will come later in the year.
The Facebook changes may be bad news for brands that invest heavily in Facebook as a short-term acquisition channel. But, to keep Facebook a credible space for consumers, the change will bode well with the wider public as the platform rebuilds its reputation. Once the environment stabilises it may even provide better CTR and meaningful engagements. In the meantime, Instagram organic posts already yield higher engagement rates. Why not leverage this safe space to increase your brand’s awareness and trial some new creative content?
Again, this is how friends interact (how many Whatsapp groups are you a part of?). Facebook launched groups for pages earlier last year and they want us to use them. A group isn’t a loophole to spam your audience with links and sales. It presents an opportunity to reach a trusting community that can benefit from your insight. Not every page will benefit from starting a group, so if you do, do so intelligently. Can you offer support for your product/service? Do you have access to knowledge in an industry or subject that isn’t widely known? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself.
Facebook are adjusting their focus from video to Messenger. In particular, automated messages for businesses. This is a tool made to help brands broadcast organically, so why not use it? You can even market directly to people you know are interested in what you’re offering. Do your research and ensure you have the resources to follow through with interactions.
Facebook understands the importance of pages because of the amount of traffic they receive. So they’re not going anywhere, but brands need to make their pages into places their fans will want to hang out and treat as they would their friends. In their announcement, Facebook mentioned the plan to add more features into pages, including customisation of pages based on industry and enhancing the messaging function between customers and business. These changes can help brands to act more like friends, if used right. No doubt we’ll be reporting back soon.