The recent changes implemented by Facebook have left many businesses already feeling the effects, with many pages down on traffic by as much as 15 percent*. And while the industry is divided on whether it means concentrating on higher ad spend, more conversation-driven content or an equal mix of both, the ‘purge’ will surely change the social media brand game as we know it.
In a nutshell:
Content on business pages has been devalued and posts shared by users will be favoured. This new algorithm will prioritise user-to-user content and thus the visability of business pages on follower feeds will diminish significantly.
What this means for your brand:
Less public content will be shown (videos and posts from publishers or businesses)
Reach, video watch time, and referral traffic from business pages will decrease
Posts will be ranked differently, giving priority to "posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people," according to Facebook
But fear not! We at PR360 have come up with seven ways to help you break down those pesky brand barriers:
1. A post a day keeps demotion away
Difficult but necessary. You need to connect with your followers, but bombarding them with content will drive them away. Post one well-planned and relevant Facebook post once a day and over time you’ll reap the rewards.
2. Pay to play
Use Facebook ads. If you’re new to this, or your budget is on the smaller side, be savvy about your spend. Invest in social listening tools, discover what content performs well with your online community, and put smart spend behind it. Knowing what they want is half the battle.
3. Stimulate conversation
Endeavour to create content that gets your followers to speak to each other, not just to you. “Prioritise posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people.” – Adam Mosseri, head of Facebook Newsfeed.
Basically, you want to ignite the conversation and let your followers take it from there. Remember to focus on comments over likes:
“We’re going to be weighing long comments more than short comments […] comments are more valuable than likes.” – Mosseri.
4. Avoid engagement bait
While you need to stimulate conversation, you can’t outright ask people for comments, likes, reactions or shares. Although this is hard to resist—as it’s an easy way to get a quick blast of reach—it will be demoted under the new algorithm as it’s considered inauthentic and misleading.
This is where ‘embedded commands’ come in. Instead of telling your followers what to do, plant the idea. Change your language, hire a copywriter, use a thesaurus if you have to, but make sure to make small simple changes to your CTA.
5. Content is king
Meaningful interactions come from good content. No matter how much money you put behind something and how many people you reach, if it’s not content that’s a) appropriate or b) interesting to your audience, it’s a waste of your time and money.
Dig deep. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, enlist social listening tools, and discover what your followers want not what you think they want. It can be hard to resist overloading them with key messages and information you feel they need to know about your brand. Trust us—it’s not the platform for it.
6. Live video
People want live video. Of course, this isn’t news—platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have been churning out live video since 2011. So what’s changed now? The algorithm. Facebook’s will favour live video because it is a conversation trigger:
“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.” – Mosseri
If you’re considering live video, don’t underestimate what’s involved. Live video still needs a clear strategy and you have to engage your followers by giving them something exclusive that they would not normally have access to (events, product release, breaking news).
7. Influence the influential
Love it or hate it, influencer marketing works and it’s only going to get better. Because influencers are people and not brands, the new algorithm works in their favour. They also already have a highly engaged audience which is what the Facebook Newsfeed bots drool over.
If you do decide to go down the influencer route, do your homework. Make sure you partner with someone who already aligns with your brand so the partnership is more seamless and authentic.
*according to digiday.