How the new Facebook algorithm will affect your business
Facebook, or more specifically, its founder Mark Zuckerberg, have recently announced that they will be making some changes to the Facebook algorithm works.
In a post, Zuckerberg stated that it was a “personal challenge” for the year to ensure that the content consumers see on their news feed was more meaningful.
“One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.”
More specifically this means Facebook wants more personal interactions with friends and family rather than brands and media.
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter most to us.”
But what does it mean!?
If you’re sitting there tearing your hair out with worry and/or anger: Breathe. Things might not be as bad as they seem.
Implications will be different whether your business operates in the B2C or the B2B sector.
In the past Facebook has been pretty neutral in the way they cater to these two kinds of businesses.
With the rollout of this new algorithm, it seems they are shifting more towards the B2C sector.
Because, as the phrase goes, content is king. Content from B2C is simply more engaging. It gives more freedom, usually has better metrics, and tends to be a bit more trendy.
Trendy being the key term here since Facebook’s priority is “meaningful interactions”. Businesses, in general, are being hit hard by the algorithm since they will naturally be deprioritized on the News Feed, crippling organic growth.
This might seem like a big shocker at first. Big changes often are, especially when they come with an air of uncertainty.
In B2C there are a lot of ways to generate community engagement. Facebook’s emphasis on meaningful interactions streamlines very smoothly with what many consumer goods businesses have already been doing: Brand awareness campaigns.
On Social media, these campaigns can generate a lot of engagement especially if users are encouraged to participate through the use of hashtags and/or by posting pictures.
However it also works on a smaller scale, for instance, Facebook Live videos create a lot of traction.
Meaningful interactions over passive consumption
“So far this year we’ve already announced a couple of important updates:
The first is prioritizing meaningful social interactions over passive consumption of content.”
Personal interactions are primarily those where we engage directly with the content our friends or family post (e.g. a picture or a live video). It also encompasses posts where we engage in conversations (in the comments, not the messenger).
To implement these changes Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be rolling out an algorithm for its News Feed.
“The first changes you’ll see will be in the News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family, and groups.”
“As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media.”
For the average consumer, this change will probably have positive effects. The News Feed will be less cluttered. Facebook is essentially becoming stricter with the parameters that allow stories to be… well, top stories.
B2C marketers will need to focus on producing good quality content now more than ever. Content that is shared will be valued a lot more than content that is simply liked.
Content that sparks conversations will most likely also be ranked higher. However, this does not mean the ‘engagement bait’ tactics that many businesses used will be more effective.
Engagement bait content refers to content that baits users into engaging with content that they may normally not have interacted with and thus inflating the reach of the content. Content of this type usually has taglines such as “Like if you agree, comment if you disagree” etc.
How will Facebook filter this type of content out?
Facebook’s algorithm contains computer vision instructions, which are achieved through machine learning.
This means the algorithm can effectively ‘read’ images, similar to the way that we read them.
What can marketers do?
Yes, so what can they do? Most likely business will experience a hit in their organic reach.
In terms of best practice for B2C brand awareness campaigns will (continue to) be a very effective tool in maintaining a social media presence. Especially campaigns that offer users a chance to partake.
A shining example of such a campaign is the #withoutshoes campaign by TOMS.
While consentient content release will still be important, assuring participation opportunity will take a more vital stance.
Utilizing Facebook Live is also very effective. The great thing about it is that you can always choose to upload it again as a normal video for those that missed it, making it a great way to tease or showcase new products. And it’s free! Use it!
As mentioned B2B content is different from B2C content. It sees less engagement and is usually heavily reliant on Paid Social Media to reach audiences.
And guess what?
The way paid promotions are handled with the new algorithm will not change. That’s right. You can keep doing what you’re doing and your boosted posts will stay right where (and when) they are.
Of course, there are always engaging ways to present customer testimonials or explanations of your services through videos.