Facebook Algorithm Change and the Impact on Small Businesses
In January of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be making some changes to its News Feed algorithm that will favour posts from “friends, family and groups,” while reducing public content “like posts from businesses, brands and media.” This has left many small businesses and brands wondering what the impact of these changes will be and how best to move forward with social media marketing on Facebook.
Here are five tips to help businesses navigate the new Facebook algorithm changes and adjust marketing strategies accordingly.
Create content that connects and prompts comments, reactions, and shares
According to Zuckerberg, the rationale behind the new algorithm is to switch “from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” This means news feed content will downshift public content, including videos and other posts from publishers and businesses unless that content is engaging and prompts conversations on Facebook .
Marketing agencies have been preaching the virtues of quality online content for years now, but these changes mark the next step in a move to combat the explosion of public content on Facebook that often demonstrates a preference for quantity over quality.
Specifically, Facebook content needs to spark interaction among users, such as reactions, comments, and shares . Quality content that is relevant, interesting, and initiates organic conversation among users will have greater reach and will appear higher in Facebook’s News Feed. However, marketing strategies will need to resist the temptation to employ “ engagement-bait ” to spur comments on posts, as Facebook vows to continue to demote these posts on its News Feed.
Video, video, and more video
Videos are favoured under the new algorithm, particularly Facebook Live videos. According to Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s Head of News Feed, “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 .” Now is the time to start incorporating live videos in your social media marketing, if you haven’t already started.
Other tips to consider when boosting your online video presence are to ensure you’re posting mobile-friendly square video and that your content includes a compelling narrative that prompts sharing and engagement .
Lastly, ensure videos communicate their message with or without sound by adding captions to Facebook video ads. According to Facebook’s own research , captioned video ads increase video view time by 12% on average.
Engage with customers using Facebook Groups
Since Facebook created Groups for Pages, businesses have been using groups to bring together their brand’s superfans and provide a forum where they can engage with one another. And with the recent algorithm changes, it makes a lot of sense to increase your investment in groups to maximize the social interactions with your brand that Facebook is looking to support .
Not quite sure how to get started with Facebook groups for business? Hootsuite has a helpful article on how to create your group and get the ball rolling. Not only are groups great for maximizing your online marketing reach, but as an online ‘focus group’ made up of your best customers and potential customers , they also provide valuable customer insights.
Encourage customers to update the “See First” preference for your page
In addition to continuing to ask customers to follow your business’ Facebook page, you may also want to remind them about the “See First” option. This will ensure that your posts appear at the top of your customer’s news feed . But ultimately, the key to making your business page a priority for your audience will be the overall quality of the content that you are posting.
Local businesses that connect with their communities by posting relevant updates and news stories, or by creating events will see less of an impact resulting from the changes.
Increase ad spend
Facebook ads are nothing new for small businesses, but with the shift in focus, businesses will need to think harder about earned exposure on feeds , particularly when it comes to ads.
Smarter ad spending will need to focus on targeting the right audiences to stretch the value.
What impact can businesses expect?
So, the main takeaway from Facebook’s messaging so far might be best summed up as a switch from content is king to engagement is king . “Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution,” says Mosseri.
It will be interesting to see how the changes impact both businesses and users over the coming months. But for businesses that are already working hard to deliver quality content, the changes shouldn’t be a cause for concern.