What the New Facebook Update Means for you

A few weeks ago, Facebook set the cat amongst the pigeons by announcing a new algorithm update that is set to shake things up a bit for businesses and digital marketers. But, what exactly does the update entail, and what does it mean for you? We’ve done all the research for you so that you’re well informed and can update your social media marketing strategy with these changes in mind.

THE UPDATE IN A NUTSHELL

Basically, Mark Zuckerberg has decided to put the social back into social media.

He has changed the goal posts for his employees and told them to refocus on promoting meaningful social interactions rather than surfacing relevant content. This has resulted in an algorithm update that will see News Feed priority being given to posts from your friends and family, at the expense of posts from business pages. That doesn’t mean page posts won’t show in News Feeds at all - it just means that posts that spark conversation and interactions between people will be given priority over posts that don’t.

According to Zuckerberg, users will “see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see will be held to the same standard - it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”

Posts that encourage comments and conversations will be given more News Feed weight than posts that have lots of shares and likes - its about meaningful interactions, not just a casual thumbs up. And while this change will have a big impact on Pages, advertisers and marketers, making it more difficult to reach audiences and get your brand seen by them, it doesn’t have to be the end of your social world.

 Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page on 11 January

Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page on 11 January

SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?

This new update means that it is now more important than ever that your Facebook strategy focuses on quality content that is user-orientated and seeks to inform, educate, engage and inspire its audience. But, this isn't new news as Facebook has always had this as best practice guidelines for businesses pages. And, as a small business owner, you’re probably already doing this because you’re sharing your passion and your content reflects that.

But we won’t lie - it will still have an impact on your organic reach, and you may need to adapt your social media strategy to accommodate this impact. Here are a few tips we would recommend incorporating into your Facebook marketing:

#1. FOCUS ON ENGAGING, QUALITY CONTENT

If you aren’t doing this already, you need to start now. It will no longer  be good enough to post content that gets shared, loved or liked. You will need to post content that prompts comments - something that sparks conversation between users. This may be a bit trial and error to see what works and what doesn’t with your audience, but you can try adding questions to your posts, or writing about timely, relevant topics that users will have an opinion on.

#2. AVOID “ENGAGEMENT-BAIT”

“Like this to show your support”, “Share this post to have money donated to this worthy cause”.... engagement-bait will now quickly get your posts demoted, so it's best to just stay away from this practice. Instead use your content to show the human side of your brand - being genuine and authentic will draw people to you, while baiting will knock you down the ranks.

 Examples of engagement-bait

Examples of engagement-bait

#3. COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

The cornerstone of your social media strategy should be community engagement - responding to comments, answering customer questions, replying to direct messages. If you expect your audience to engage with you, you should be prepared to engage back with them and get involved in the conversation yourself. Facebook will look at these interactions when determining what content to showcase in News Feeds.

#4. PAID CONTENT PROMOTION

There’s no way around it - the new changes are likely to be a positive for Facebook’s own revenue stream, as businesses are going to need to put more money into advertising in order to get their content seen. But, Facebook is also a business and they also want to make money, so you can’t really begrudge them that. You just need to figure out how you can incorporate it into your strategy in the smartest, most budget-friendly way possible.

You can use Facebook ad targeting to get your content in front of the right audience - Facebook knows more about people than they know about themselves, so you should definitely include this powerful targeting tool in your strategy.

#5. ASK CUSTOMERS TO FOLLOW YOU

Simply ask your customers to follow you - include a link to your Facebook page in your emails, ask them to follow you and leave a review, or put a call out to your loyal customers to help you out. Then also remind them that they can select to “See First” in their News Feed preferences if they want to see your content regularly.

 Prompt your customers to update their News Feed preferences so they see you first

Prompt your customers to update their News Feed preferences so they see you first

#6. INCLUDE MORE VIDEOS

Especially Facebook Live videos. Video is favoured in the algorithm, but live videos are even more so, so it is definitely worth looking at how you can incorporate them into your overall strategy. According to Facebook, live videos get 6 times more interactions than regular videos - we’d say that’s a pretty good reason to go Live!

#7. INVEST TIME IN FACEBOOK GROUPS

Facebook Groups already operate on the basis of audience engagement - it’s why you join a group isn’t it? So consider what groups you could join that have an audience that may be interested in your brand and get chatting. Don’t be spammy - nothing gets you kicked out of a group faster. But helpful advice, links to relevant content and general chit-chat will go a long way.

#8. GET ONTO INSTA

Ok, so Instagram is also owned by Facebook, so the same rules tend to apply. But, Instagram is gaining popularity by the day, and it is a great way to have conversations with your customers, so get in there and get involved! In fact, have you joined our convo on Insta yet? Please do!

So - it’s not the end of the world, but this update is going to have an impact, so its time to get prepared for it. We don’t yet have an idea of timings for rollout, but you’ve been warned - change is coming. Use it as a gentle reminder of what matters: creating strong relationships with your audience by providing content they really want or need. And then get creating! Or get us to help you creating it - it’s what we do best!

Just get in touch for a FREE consultation to have a look at your social media strategy and how we could help you make your content comment-worthy!