By now, you’ve probably heard the “bad” news that the Facebook algorithm for prioritizing its news feed has changed in a way that could potentially damage your ability to leverage the social media platform as a marketing tool. The New York Times has already declared publishers and brands to be the “losers” in this newly restructured Facebook universe, signaling a domino effect of panic amongst marketers and businesses alike. However, not all of us social media experts believe that the sky is falling in the wake of these changes. As a matter of fact, we’ve already have a strategy for how brands can keep playing under the new rules.
Who Really Loses Under the New Facebook Algorithm
It’s easy to forget that changes to Facebook’s news feed prioritizing certain types of content over others has happened before, and brands have not only weathered those changes, but grown their following and reach as a result of them. Just as before, the goal of the latest news feed change is to allow users to have a richer and more personal experience that fosters social connections instead of anti-consumerist sentiments in a brand-weary audience. With this new strategy, Mark Zuckerberg also plans to limit the influence of disingenuous clickbait news sites and sensationalist blogs responsible for circulating falsified content that angers Facebook’s users. The only types of news organizations that will see an increase in viewership are local news pages, which Facebook has promised to feature more regularly.
The clear winners in this new Facebook algorithm are users, who will hopefully benefit from less annoyance and controversy clogging their feeds. As a result, brands and news organizations that do not produce engaging, quality content will see their numbers drop because their material isn’t creating, “meaningful interactions between people.” In order to continue generating likes and shares, content creators will have to funnel increased marketing acumen into their posts in order to persuade Facebook users to interact with their content, which in turn helps those users continue to see posts and shares from their favorite brands. Brands with high engagement may not see a big difference in their reach at all. Regardless of how large your Facebook following is, your active followers should still see your posts. Facebook users that already enjoy your content and have updated their newsfeed settings to feature more of it will still be able to do so, which maximizes the reach of both organic and sponsored content to those who actually want to see it.
Brands Dictate Their Own Success
Brands are the wild card in this equation. Some companies will likely suffer if they continue with the same organic content strategy as before. Even those with a substantial follower base will experience less exposure if they keep pumping out lackluster content, as original content from people is prioritized over their products and services. However, those with an effective sponsored content and remarketing Facebook ad strategy may not see much of a dent at all in their ability to reach a targeted audience at all. Regardless of whether or not you’ve already tried Facebook ads, now might be the time to test them out, because any change in news feed algorithms may impact your success. Speaking of testing, businesses should plan on spending more time in the coming months testing their content posts to see how the new algorithm will react to various types of posts.
Given that Facebook’s ads remain relatively inexpensive and accessible for almost anyone seeking to push out content to a targeted audience, they are a viable option for most brands. Those that began boosting posts and sponsoring content a long time ago are already ahead of the curve, and you may want to think seriously about catching up.
The other mitigated factor of the latest algorithms, is that with a larger number of people being drawn to facebook due the more meaningful connections they make, the larger your pool of targetable audiences becomes. If Facebook didn’t make these changes, it’s likely that user angst against the constant stream of negative news stories and advertising would drive them away from the platform altogether, and subsequently damaging your brand’s ability to connect with anyone at all.
As marketers we believe that social media posts and advertisements should have as much research and strategy behind them as any other marketing tactic, and in an Internet age where every brand out there is fighting for clicks, it’s all the more important that companies seek help from experts before investing real money into their web presence. For guidance on developing a targeted social media marketing strategy and action plan, connect with a member of the 360 Team via the Contact page.