The Facebook algorithm update that fans have been waiting for is here!
Facebook has been under intense criticism in the past year from groups who say that they allowed foreign interference in national elections and continue to keep users in filter bubbles — in other words, that businesses have taken the place of content from friends and family in your News Feed.
Forget Uber; when a former vice-president for user growth at Facebook says at a Stanford B-School event that he feels “tremendous guilt” over his work on “tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” you know that the social media giant needs to do some serious damage control.
That’s why Mark Zuckerberg put out a statement (on Facebook of course) about an algorithm change that will prioritize posts by family, friends and groups over unpaid promotion from businesses. He says:
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook… from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.
As we roll this out, 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.… [B]y making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable.”
Related Content: How to Get Your First 1,000 Facebook Fans Without Paid Ads [podcast]
So What Does this Mean for Businesses?
Does this mean that business that will see less engagement, less reach, and less interaction organically across Facebook?
Yes, this could initially hit you hard.
Your unpaid Facebook posts may go unseen. You might need to find new growth hacks to grow your business organically. But there is no denying that Facebook is still a key channel for growth, be it paid or unpaid. #FacebookAlgorithmUpdate Click To Tweet
And with this change, Facebook hopes to recapture an audience that has been dropping like dominoes due to a lack of organic engagement with friends and family.
Fun Fact: Facebook has also taken a stand on “engagement bait” tactics — such as “LIKE this if you’re an Aries!” — so, effective immediately, these individuals and pages will be penalized.
There’s a bright spot in all this: Users can still choose “See First” to raise their favorite pages’ visibility in their “organic” News Feed, and any posts that generate actual, genuine engagement will be prioritized.
What Brands Can Do to Take Action on Facebook with the Changes
Turn Your Brand into a Friend
As a whole, businesses will have to elevate their content without taking shortcuts like the engagement bait mentioned above. Concentrate on content that receives comments and shares and that starts an actual conversation rather than gets a passive “Like”.
If Facebook wants personal interaction, you’ll have to strategize ways to make your brand into a “friend”, whether that’s humanizing your posts by hiring a community manager, building a “tribe”, or adding your serious evangelists to a group — which the new algorithm WILL prioritize.
Pay to Play
Though critics may see Zuckerberg’s move as a way to get more people using Facebook ads, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the shift. If you’re going unseen in Facebook feeds — or worse, being penalized — shift your budget into the laser-targeted promotions that Facebook is known for.
And, as much as this seems like a hit to your digital marketing, this actually can be a boon if you jump onto the opportunity.
Advantages of this Facebook Algorithm Update:
- Now that the noise and unpaid content from other brands isn’t clogging up users’ News Feeds, your brand will stand out…if you’re willing to pay.
- Take advantage of Facebook’s interest, demographic, and behavioral targeting capabilities to expand your brand’s reach to relevant target audiences.
- Target those who have already engaged with your brand or visited your website.
- Maximize your reach on paid promotions by targeting and directing content to your super fans. They’ll engage with it at a higher rate because they already like your brand, and maybe feel a kinship with your community manager or CEO. Facebook will allow paid promotions to reach more users at a cheaper cost if they achieve a high relevance score.
- Remember, you don’t have to blow a ton of money to grow your business on Facebook
To learn more, check out these resources:
If you need a little help with your Facebook ad strategy, learn more about our Facebook Ad services here.
And, as always, we’re always open to talk: Contact us for your free digital marketing consultation!