Facebook changes to its news feed algorithm announced in January sent shock waves across the internet and fear into the eye of marketers across the globe. Many have forecast the doom of Facebook business pages. But what are the changes and what will be the impact for most businesses?
“As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg wrote, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Essentially Facebook wants more user content and discussion than business or brand material. So shortly you will start seeing less news articles and marketing content and more posts from friends and family.
The change comes from the fact that Facebook originated as a social network to connect friends and family. Over time it has evolved into the world’s biggest distributor of news and online advertising. Facebook has seen less and less user generated content.
The announcement quickly impacted Facebook’s worth with stock prices falling 4.5% or US3.3billion ($NZ4.5b). But is it as big a deal as some are making out? While Zuckerburg has taken a hit financially now, what will it mean for the future?
Ultimately, we are all star gazing and speculating but the takeout of the Facebook changes is that organic reach (aka ‘free’) of business pages will become even more of an elusive unicorn for most posts.
The reduction of organic reach for businesses is nothing new. In fact, there has been a rapid decline of organic reach for the last seven years. In 2011 businesses averaged a 26% reach to their followers. This has reduced to around 2.5% in 2017.
The news feed algorithm has continually been updated and Facebook has indicated previously that organic reach for businesses will eventually get to zero. This change may get us there.
Before this announcement to increase organic content, the goal was to get interaction such as likes, comments, clicks or shares. When the change rolls out the newsfeed algorithm is going to focus more on person-to-person interactions, so where people are having a conversation back and forth in the comments.
What this change does reinforce is we need to focus on posting relevant and engaging content. We all need to get smarter about what we are posting. But to be truthful we should have been doing this all along.
Here are our top three tips to increase the likelihood of your posts being seen in light of these Facebook changes:
- Start treating Facebook like a paid ad platform – you can no longer treat Facebook as a free communication channel for businesses. Create posts that you would see value in paying to reach a larger audience.
- Educate your followers to change their notification settings to always see your posts – get them to go to your page, click on the following option and select ‘See first’
- Share engaging videos on Facebook and use Facebook Live – Facebook prefers video content and will show more of your fanbase this content over image and text.
- Invest in your own platforms – I have seen advice that this might be time to start spending more time on other platforms such as Instagram or even snapchat depending on your audience. But all these platforms change their newsfeed algorithms constantly. Every platform you are at risk that major changes could impact your reach and results. Rather spend time in building up your own website and email database. These are things you own and can manage. Use social media to supplement these activities rather than the leading with social media.
So, in conclusion, stay calm and carry on. If your sharing posts that your audience is truly interested nothing has really changed. Your strategy today is the same as it should have been yesterday: Content is KING! Focus on creating interesting posts that matter to your audience and are authentic to your brand.