“We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren't just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being,” says Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
Long story short, Facebook is implementing sweeping changes to their user’s News Feeds that will reduce the number of business posts they see and increase the number of posts they see from friends and family.
So what does this mean for your business and your brand?
Zuckerberg continues, “… [Users will] 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.”
In other words, as the changes roll in—as they are scheduled to over the next few months—your business is going to have to work harder than ever to gain the attention of your target audience on the Facebook platform.
Digital marketers the world over have dubbed it the Facebook Apocalypse.
Dunh! Dunh! Dunh!
Yeah, it’s certainly a reason for dramatic pause. But you can hardly say it is unprecedented given that businesses have seen their organic reach on the platform diminish over the years (currently it sits at around 2%) as the social media site becomes increasingly pay-to-play.
So, don’t batten down the hatches yet; stay calm. Rather than head for the hills, you should head for the drawing board; there are some adjustments you can make to ensure that your business and brand survive this update and don’t disappear into oblivion.
How to Continue Reaching Customers on Facebook
The watch term here would be “meaningful interactions”. While nobody knows, yet, how far reaching the algorithm changes will be, there are a few ways in which your business could create the sort of engagement with customers that will be favored by the new status quo.
1. Keep Posting Quality Engaging Content that Prompts Comments
By “meaningful interactions”, Zuckerberg means comments, comments, and even more comments.
“Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
So focus on creating content that will spark a conversation. Try including questions in your posts, for example, or cover timely relevant topics which your target audience is sure to have an opinion on.
Users are more likely to see your posts if their friends and family are already commenting on it.
2. Don’t Fall into the “Engagement Bait” Trap
With every apocalypse there’s always that one group that tries to take the “smart” but crazy route and ends up badly for it. In this case asking your audience to “Comment on this post if you like cats!” or something along those lines, is not going to help you…in fact it will actually work against you.
According to Facebook, “Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.”
Besides, users don’t like it, and it makes your business and brand appear spammy.
3. Encourage Followers to Follow Your Facebook Page
Despite this algorithm change, Facebook users can still decide what to “See First” in their News Feed. So don’t shy away from asking your customers to follow your page and hopefully set your business as a preference for their News Feeds.
4. Increase Your Ad Budget
More than ever before, your skill at Facebook Marketing will be called to the fore. You’d probably already seen this coming with the decline of organic reach over the years, but this may finally be the end game, and you had better be ready to pay in order to play.
5. Make More Facebook Live Videos
Videos will still be favored under the new algorithm, but not all videos will be treated the same.
According to Zuckerberg, “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook—in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.”
“Meaningful Interactions”, people…enough said.
6. Invest Time in Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups already operate on the basis of audience engagement, and as such they should do well under the scheduled algorithm changes. Look for new ways to leverage group discussions in order to keep your customers engaged and your brand present in their News Feeds.
As always, keep sharing relevant, quality content that engages your target reader. This applies to all the social media platforms you use, and not only Facebook. Be one of the good guys online! The good guys usually survive the apocalypse and make it to the end credits.
Confused about all of these changes? Let talk about it!