January 11, 2018 – Facebook Algorithm Update Announcement

#FPF – Week 84

Earlier this month, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement that the Facebook News Feed has unfortunately become too much of a source for passive consumption, as opposed to what he originally created it for: meaningful interactions between friends, family and groups.

What Going to Happen? An Overhaul.

What this means is the over the next few months, you will start to see the content from the brands you follow (currently sitting at 2% organic reach) replaced by more content from the people you are connected to.

What this Means for Brands?

If your company has a Facebook (brand/company) page, you are [likely] going to need to reshape the kind of content you are releasing on that page.  I say “likely” because some businesses are already engaging with their fans in meaningful ways (A great example of this is FB page for outdoor equipment/clothing company REI).  If your business page is simply a stagnant photo feed with no reason to comment and discuss the content therein – then the following tips will help you to build more interaction:

Tip 1: Write for Engagement

This may take a little time to get the hang of if you haven’t been doing it in the past, but start thinking of the words in your posts as if you about to say something to a room of people around a table.  In that scenario, you are not saying something to the group just to say it, you expect some feedback.  That is what we are talking about here.  Structure your content for people to want to discuss or comment – not only with you, but with each other as well.

Tip 2: Leverage Live Video, Groups and “See First”

Facebook Live is a great tool for engaging your fan base.  When you “go live” the vast majority of your followers will receive a notification to tune-in.  Their ability to comment and like in real-time gives you the perfect platform for meaningful engagement.  I know that live feeds can be intimidating because there’s no “undo” button, but with practice, FB Live video could become one of your most valuable marketing and research tools!

Public/Private Groups for Brand Pages are also great sources for engagement.  They have no limit to the amount of members (unlike personal groups having a limit of 5000) and by their very nature foster engagement through the notifications sent to members when new topics are posted.  It’s important to be mindful of the cadence at which you post content to the groups however, as you don’t want to annoy people with notifications – effectively causing them to leave or mute your group.  Start slow and work up from there.

Lastly, the “See First” feature within a user’s news feed settings (seemingly unaffected by the recent announcement) allows them to choose what content is shown [first] in their feed.  Follow [this link] to see how feature works.  If you want, you can suggest that fans of your page leverage this feature so that they are sure to see the [meaningful] content you are posting.

Tip 3: Don’t Post Business Content as a “Person”

When Facebook first opened its doors to more than just college students, marketers quickly began hacking the system – creating personal accounts that represented businesses (because there were no brand pages yet).

Now I know what you might be thinking: “If posts from humans are going to receive even more weight – then I’ll just go ahead and start sharing my business content that way…” (similar to how you do on LinkedIn)  [Don’t do it….]  Facebook has already stated that if people begin spamming their family and friends with business content they will be contacted with a warning and can ultimately have their account suspended for abuse.

The Conclusion – The Journey to “Half-Way Happy”

Facebook is trying to give you the best experience it can with every update to their algorithm and interface.  Does that mean they always hit the mark?  No.  But history has shown that macro leaps forward are normally followed by micro steps back to reach a happy medium with its users (in the immortal words of our friend 11 from Stranger Things – “Half-way happy“).

There will be more visibility into how these changes will effect brands in the coming months and I will be sure to keep you updated as we hear more from our contacts at Facebook.

In the meantime – start creating those meaningful feedback loops and conversations with your content for your clients and customers!

Thank you for reading and have a great weekend!