Free Facebook no more? An update to the news feed algorithm

 In Faith Thinking

Facebook has started 2018 with a major change to their news feed algorithm.

Organic (free) posts on Facebook have been dropping in reach steadily in the past year. However, business pages can expect a bigger drop in the upcoming weeks after a statement from Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook Founder and CEO) mid-January:
We’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions….. As we roll this out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” 

The update to the news feed algorithm will have a significant impact on business pages, advertisers and marketers that rely on sharing posts organically (free) to their feeds.

So, how do brands survive the update to Facebook’s news feed algorithm?

Humanise posts

This is what was most clear from Zuckerberg’s announcement. Facebook shouldn’t be the platform for businesses to only showcase product and price; it should be the place to interact with customers. More lifestyle imagery, ‘feel good’ posts, advice to customers, informative posts, humorous posts and less text heavy, price-focused posts.

Avoid posts that don’t encourage conversation

Posts that don’t receive comments/reactions will see the biggest decrease in reach. Zuckerberg explained;
Pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect.”
Bearing in mind that posts encouraging users to ‘comment’, ‘tag’, ‘like’ are not favoured by the algorithm.
Facebook favour posts that get ‘reactions’ (the love hearts, ‘wow’ faces, etc.) but they want these reactions to come organically, not encouraged by the brand.

Investing in videos and live videos

Videos are still favoured under the new algorithm, but live videos will be even more important moving forward. If you scroll through your newsfeed you will notice a large number of video posts compared to still imagery, this is set to continue increasing with a number of reputable sources predicting Facebook’s newsfeed to be almost exclusively video content in the next couple of years. Videos don’t need to be complicated, they can be something as simple as a quick stop-motion, a behind the scenes video, or a gif-type video, regardless, these will organically reach more people.

Investing in paid ads

Unsurprisingly, Facebook’s latest update means brands will need to start investing in some paid content to be seen. Paid advertisements on Facebook can be hugely beneficial because ads can be customised to the different goals – engagement, clicks to website, video views, etc. and different ads can be pushed to different audiences. For example: a general brand awareness ad can target new/potential customers, and a conversion/product specific ad can target already engaged customers.

Regardless of these changes, Facebook continues to be a great platform to connect with existing and potential customers in a cost-effective way.

The new algorithm is just pushing brands to think strategically about the content they post, invest in quality content rather than quantity of posts and leave aside some budget to amplify the content to a targeted audience.

We will be in touch with our social media clients to discuss how the update impacts engagement and how to continually develop successful social media strategies.

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