In January of this year, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced a change to the social media giant’s algorithms, saying,
“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.”
Zuckerberg stressed his belief that Facebook had “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being.”
This approach fits comfortably into Facebook’s long-held assertion that it is not a media outlet but, rather a platform for allowing people to share their lives with friends and family.
Reaction and Counteraction
As people increasingly strive to balance their lives and sort through the glut of digital distractions, the announcement has received an overwhelmingly positive response from users. Businesses, publishers and marketers, however, have not been quite so effusive.
As a result of this algorithmic change, businesses will have to be far more proactive, strategic and effective if they want to gain the attention of Facebook users. Relying on organic distribution of ads and brand content will simply no longer be an effective approach when marketing to Facebook’s 2+ billion global users any longer.
What can be done to continue effectively marketing via social media and counteract the potential impact to the bottom line? Let’s take a look at some actions every business should undertake, starting today!
Plan of Action
Just as Google’s algorithms rank websites that produce valuable, quality content significantly higher in Search Engine Results Pages, Facebook has clearly indicated the same commitment to meaningful content.
But how will Facebook identify the posts which “encourage meaningful interactions between people?” By focusing on comments and shares!
In other words, posts that facilitate comments and sharing and utilize emerging forms of content will be seen by Facebook as encouraging “meaningful interactions between people.”
Let’s break these requirements down into an Action Plan:
• To begin with, every business should ask existing followers to prioritize its page with Facebook’s See First feature. This effectively ensures your business’s posts will always be part of their News Feed, even in the face of changing algorithms.
• Focus on creating meaningful, valuable and quality brand-reinforcing content. This is absolutely key! The overall trend of social media and search engines alike is to encourage and reward quality, valuable, meaningful content. If you want to facilitate “meaningful interactions between people” give them something meaningful over which to interact! Anything less is just noise.
• Utilize Facebook ads to boost this higher-quality, strategically-focused content. Now that you’ve curated quality content, boost it and boost it to a very specific audience! As ad-space becomes scarce, the cost will inevitably increase. The importance of targeting your boosted post and maximizing the impact of your Facebook ad dollars can’t be overstated.
A comprehensive social media marketing strategy, in conjunction with a mobile-friendly and optimized website, will ensure the biggest, most-impactful bang for your buck!
• Local businesses should ensure they are included in the Facebook Local application. Don’t miss out on the prioritization of local over global!
• Utilize Facebook Groups, which already function based entirely on audience engagement. Facebook has stated that Groups will continue to be a growth area and priority as this is a clear indication of “meaningful interactions between people” sharing common interests.
• Use Facebook Live videos to engage your followers. Facebook claims Live videos are 6x as engaging as pre-recorded videos! Either way, video is an emerging content form, seen as adding value to the Facebook user experience.
• Along with Facebook Live videos, Chat bots and Messaging are considered emerging content forms and are fast becoming standard expectations. For obvious reasons, Messaging encourages “meaningful interactions between people” and Chat bots are gaining popularity as an automated “personalized” service tool.
• Never utilize engagement baiting (actively asking for or “tricking” users into Liking or Commenting on your posts). More and more, this is considered a black-hat tactic and Facebook will penalize anyone using it.
As a result of this algorithmic change, businesses will have to be far more proactive, strategic and effective if they want to gain the attention of Facebook users.
Relying on organic distribution of ads and brand content will simply no longer be an effective approach when marketing to Facebook’s 2+ billion global users any longer.
Facebook has indicated not only a change of algorithms, but a renewed implementation - across all of their products - of the philosophy of encouraging “meaningful interactions between people” and rewarding high-quality, valuable and popular content. The implementation is already underway.
The significance of this algorithmic change can’t be over-emphasized and, in fact, might very well be one of the biggest shift in social media marketing. Business owners cannot afford to be slow in reacting to such impactful shifts.
The time has never been more urgent to develop and implement a comprehensive and effective digital marketing strategy based on quality content. Market Momentum is here to help! We have vast experience in both traditional and digital marketing.
We work with dozens of businesses to ensure they are well-equipped to maximize every opportunity and neutralize every obstacle. Contact us today to learn how to position your business for success in an ever-changing, digital landscape.