As is now widely known, Facebook announced changes to their platform at the beginning of the year that have left advertisers scrambling to make adjustments. The biggest of those changes? Their Newsfeed algorithm, which is now built to purposefully demote business page posts in favor of posts from family and friends. Theories as to why Facebook implemented this drastic change include Facebook’s sharp decline in usage and a desire to make advertisers pay-to-play, and while no one is sure exactly why this change occurred, one thing is certain: businesses need to adapt quickly to minimize the damage.
Brands will be affected in a few ways. First, organic reach is going to drastically decrease, period. Facebook’s new algorithm is meant to show fewer brand and business posts in users feeds in order to encourage “meaningful” interactions on the platform. The new algorithm won’t keep business posts from being shown at all, but, unless your post gets meaningful interactions, it will not be shown in news feeds as often as it may have beforehand. This means that businesses need to produce better content; mediocre posts just aren’t going to cut it anymore (not that they ever did). The algorithm works based on rankings, so each user interaction on a post is valued differently. While no official “ranking chart” has been released, Facebook marketing experts have confirmed that actions such as a like or a share don’t hold as much weight as a comment on a post. If brands want their posts to show organically in newsfeeds, they will need to produce content that will start a conversation and elicit those “meaningful” engagements. Lastly, a big shift businesses will notice is that advertising on the platform will become more expensive and more relevant. Brands will turn to paid media in order to help their organic reach. While Facebook will never confirm this notion, the new algorithm does strongly encourage businesses to increase ad spend in order to help maintain their reach and engagement.
What should brands do to circumvent these issues? Facebook groups are a great place to start since they are not affected by this newsfeed overhaul. Groups allow businesses to build an active community looking to engage with the brand and each other, plus notifications are sent to each user’s Facebook whenever the brand or a user posts in the group. They can also be a good place to learn what kind of content engages a brand’s core audience most. Brands should be actively investing time and effort in other platforms if they’re not doing so already. If a business is no longer able to reach or engage their core audience as much organically on Facebook, they may be able to on other platforms such as Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn. Brands can also try out content on their other channels to gauge how compelling it is, and should consider investing in a social listening tool that can clue them into issues their consumers are talking about online. Posts should facilitate a discussion, and brands can use social listening to create content about industry “hot topics” that their customers will find relevant. Lastly, if budget will allow it, brands should look into paid efforts on Facebook. It doesn’t need to be extensive, but a small budget for boosting a few great posts is always a good way to reach users and get post engagements.
At the end of the day, organic reach for businesses on Facebook is a thing of the past. It’s time for advertisers to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get back to the drawing board. The social landscape has drastically changed, but with some quick thinking and creative chops, businesses can create a new social strategy to help them navigate this ever-changing terrain.
Posted: 03/14/2018 at 7:24:03 PM