Big changes are coming to Facebook and businesses are going to pay the price. On January 11th, Facebook announced major changes to the platform that would prioritize private posts over public content.
In short, you’re going to see more posts on your news feed from friends and family than posts from businesses, even if you “like” them. The new changes will “prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people” and then promote content that the algorithm deduces a consumer is most likely to interact with.
This means daily posts about general content on your page isn’t going to make the cut and most businesses will see a decline in traffic and engagement. Sounding familiar? Facebook has been steadily changing their algorithms in this direction for years. While these announcements may seem very ‘end-of-the-world-like’ to many marketers and business owners, it’s an opportunity to stand out for those who are ready to roll with these social media waves. We’ve compiled a list of ways you can stay competitive in the newsfeed.
Know Your Target
Posts that inspire interactions between your customers and yourself will be ranked higher in the news feed. This means you need to know your audience and the type of content that they respond to. It’s not enough to just be relevant. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’s changing his product teams goal from “focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.”
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The algorithm is going to promote posts that see a larger number of comments and shares as opposed to likes and link clicks. Unfortunately, if you write a really awesome blog and post a link to your facebook, you won’t rank well if people are only liking the post and clicking through to your site. Mashable blogger Sasha Lekach says, “All those “likes” won’t mean as much as full-on engagement, which under the new rules seems to mean back-and-forth conversations.” The main goal of posting now is to get people talking in the comments. Getting people to share your posts will also be effective since it will then appear as a personal post and not a business post. Beware, you will still get penalized for incentivizing people to comment or share so try to cultivate interactions naturally and through original content.
If you’re thinking you’ll just start posting more engagement-bait to get more interactions we’re going to stop you right there. Posts that come out and ask for engagement through “like this” and “share this” campaigns won’t work either. Facebook’s Newsroom says “Using “engagement-bait” to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed” Fewer, more meaningful posts will garner more interaction.
“See First” Feature
One way to directly combat being pushed to the bottom of your follower’s newsfeed is to encourage them to add you to their “see first” settings. This allows consumers to tailor their feed to still see the people and businesses they want to see first. Click here for steps to set up “see first” on your computer and smart phone.
At this point, the new changes are not going to be affecting paid content which means ads and boosted posts are safe. On the downside, this means that ad cost will probably increase. Make sure you have a plan in place for how much you’re willing to spend on promotions and stick to a schedule of what to promote and when.
Remember, Facebook is not the be-all and end-all of how you reach your consumers, and we all know it’s never a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you have another point of contact in place, like a newsletter, texting line, subscribed video channel, or podcast to keep relevant information in front of your audience. This way you have control of making sure the content gets to its target without being waylaid by tricky algorithms.
About the Author:
A native Vermonter, Kayla loves helping local businesses reach their goals through creative and strategic marketing. As our Digital Marketing Specialist, she takes care of everything from blogs and social posts to emails and ad campaigns. She started with Insights almost two years ago as an intern and now has a degree in Communication from Champlain College. Her passions include animals and potatoes.