Recently, Facebook announced some significant changes to its news feed algorithm that will, ultimately, affect both users and businesses. According to reports, Facebook’s executive team saw that news articles and marketing ads were creating an imbalance in the platform, drowning out all the personal moments people had to share. The new algorithm aims to correct this imbalance, essentially bringing Facebook back to its initial purpose as a communication platform between family and friends.
However, as Facebook is one of the world’s largest distributors for news and online ads, many companies that rely heavily on it as their primary source of traffic will be negatively impacted by these changes. Companies must tweak their strategy if they want to drive traffic and attempt to engage their audience. Below are a few ways businesses can overcome and take advantage of the new Facebook news feed algorithm.
Utilize Facebook live and video content. Live video took the world by storm in 2016, disrupting the way brands engage with their online audience. According to streaming experts, 80 percent of brand audiences would rather watch a live video or video content than read an article or blog. Consumers prefer watching video content as they feel more engaged with the brand. With the new algorithm change, this higher rate of engagement can play in a company’s favor if the video, live or recorded, encourages discussion amongst viewers in the comments.
Create a community through Facebook groups. Facebook provides users an opportunity to create and participate in Facebook Groups built around a particular community or topic. Companies can utilize these groups by hosting the group on their business page, as well as posting content that is more likely to reach a highly engaged target audience who opted into the group on their own. This makes users more likely to pay attention to posts and opt in to receive notifications.
Shareable content is key. Users who enjoy a video, photo or article, for example, are likely to hit the share button and show that content to their network. Facebook views a post share as the highest metric of engagement because the user is saying, “I enjoyed this content, and I think my friends will, too.” Considering Facebook is pushing for user experience over ads and news placements, encouraging the business’s following to share its page’s content is an excellent way for a business to increase the organic reach of its content.
Budget for pay-to-play. For a while now, Facebook has been a pay-to-play platform. However, with the new algorithm change, companies can expect an even more drastic decline in the organic reach of their content. It will be increasingly vital for businesses to budget more money for ads and boosted content. Because Facebook will be showing less sponsored content to users, the cost of these ad placements will dramatically increase. It is important businesses make sure their ads still feature content that encourages engagement amongst their audience for the ad to maximize its potential, such as asking questions, telling compelling stories, providing valuable insight and producing authentic visuals through photos and videos.
Ultimately, Facebook has made it more challenging for businesses of all shapes and sizes to market and advertise their brand on the social platform organically. With user experience being more important than ever, it’s essential that brands understand they are not competing with other businesses. Instead, they are competing with personal moments shared through friends and family. Businesses that want their content to be seen need to make it personal, interesting and able to spark conversations.
Alexis Krisay is a partner and president of marketing for Serendipit Consulting, a public relations, marketing, branding and event-planning firm she co-founded that specializes in franchise, real estate, healthcare, fitness and wellness.