Updated: Jul 17, 2018
Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that once again Facebook would be changing its news feed algorithm. This latest change would prioritize content from “friends, family and groups” over public content from “businesses, brands and media”.
The reason for this change?
"We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.
But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.” Mark Zuckerberg said in his January 11, 2018 announcement.
In his January 19th, 2018 announcement he explained a further update to this shift as a way "to make sure the news you see, while less overall, is high quality. I've asked our product teams to make sure we prioritize news that is trustworthy, informative, and local. And we're starting next week with trusted sources.
There's too much sensationalism, misinformation and polarization in the world today. Social media enables people to spread information faster than ever before, and if we don't specifically tackle these problems, then we end up amplifying them. That's why it's important that News Feed promotes high quality news that helps build a sense of common ground."
The first rule of social media is that everything changes all the time. What won’t change is the community’s desire to network. ~ Kami Huyse
What does this mean for businesses?
It means that as the changes take full effect users will see less content from businesses, and the content they do see from businesses will be trust worthy, high quality content that promotes meaningful interactions and connection among people.
How will this affect businesses using the platform?
1. Organic reach (which has already been on the decline for years) will continue to decline, making it harder to reach your audience.
2. Businesses and brands that engage in click bait and use the platform as a broadcast channel will find that their efforts will be largely unsuccessful.
3. Businesses and brands will need to “pay to play” more than ever if they want users to see their content.
What can businesses do differently?
When you approach Facebook with the intent to get something rather than to give your audience something they value, you will lose.” - Nicholas Kusmich
1. Understand that most people use Facebook and other social platforms to connect, engage, be inspired and entertained. As businesses, if we want to use the platform successfully we need to focus on creating shareable content that will resonate with our audiences, spark conversation and encourage engagement.
A lot of publications made a big miscalculation building a business on someone else’s platform. Any publisher that felt like Facebook owed them something was making a big mistake. - Neil Vogel
2. I couldn’t agree more! Social media is always changing! Don’t put all your focus and energy into any one platform that you have no control over. Instead diversify your audience across various platforms. Relying heavily on one single platform or channel makes your business vulnerable to failure. Case in point, this recent Facebook change has already resulted in shut down for LittleThings - an online lifestyle publisher for women whose main source of web traffic was Facebook.
Facebook isn’t easy anymore. It really requires a scientific approach. Most people are consuming content either via search or via social, and that’s just the reality. - Clark Benson
3. Invest in Facebook ads the right way. The days of relying solely on organic reach are long gone. Paid ads and promoted posts are a great way to get your content in front of more of the people who would benefit from it. Bear in mind, however, that most users don’t log onto Facebook looking to make a purchase. The best way to use Facebook ads then, is to generate engagement and awareness/interest rather than to effect an immediate purchase.
4. See Facebook and social media in general as complimentary to your other marketing efforts rather than the alternative. While you work on building your audience on social media look for ways to capture user information (things like email addresses and telephone numbers etc) with which you can build your own database of prospects and customers that you can contact and connect with outside of Facebook or any other social channel.
5. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you already know I’m going say above all, make your customers your focus! At the end of the day, we’re in business to serve and make our customers happy. Happy customers become advocates for our businesses both online and offline. Rather than fear or stress about inevitable changes that will occur in social media and digital marketing on a whole, let’s focus on helping our customers and making them feel a part of our business and community. With that as our main focus, whichever platforms or channels we decide to use, we’ll always adopt the best tactics and strategies to achieve this main objective.