Facebook recently announced News Feed changes that caused a shake up for publishers and advertisers across industries. Most are already familiar with what these changes might entail, but it remains to be fully confirmed how brands will be impacted.
So, What’s All the Fuss?
Though Facebook itself avoids stating outright that organic reach will suffer, that looks to be the logical implication of the changes to the News Feed algorithm. Whereas the social network once valued time on site above all else, its key success metric is now focused on user engagement and “meaningful social interactions.” Content that doesn’t see shares and comments will see its organic reach shrink.
The reason for this change? The social platform is good at lots of things and one of those is research. One of their many studies found that passively consuming content is bad for users’ moods, but engagement with friends and family makes us feel great. Facebook doesn’t want people to walk away from the platform feeling disconnected and unhappy, so providing a positive user experience means facilitating and fostering social interactions rather than mindlessly taking in content.
Keep Your Content from Missing Out
Video may be dethroned: According to Mark Zuckerberg, video will no longer receive automatic priority over other types of content. Video that is consumed passively will see a lower reach than those that encourage engagement, just like any other type of content. Try live video when possible, which tends to have a much higher comment rate than traditional.
Dust off your English lit notes: Content marketing and narrative storytelling are tried-and-true tactics for marketers. A compelling story builds brand loyalty and positive sentiment — and it also encourages engagement on social media. Be sure your copy, images and video are all a part of your brand’s unique narrative and make your social media audience feel like a part of that story.
Leverage local media coverage: Public relations and social media already go hand-in-hand, but the new Facebook algorithm will give high value to local news stories. If your company or client has had recent local coverage, sharing with additional commentary could go a long way in boosting reach and name recognition.
Don’t shy away from influencer marketing: With all the talk of promoting “meaningful interactions” and content from individuals who people are connected with, it makes sense that influencer marketing could play a big role in your social media strategy if it hasn’t already. Posts from up-and-coming influencers, often called “micro-influencers,” who don’t yet have a huge following and an established Business Page might be categorized by News Feed as a friend/family, rather than a brand Page. This means that their content could get more eyes on and engagement with your brand.
The Impact on Paid Ads and Boosted Posts
Like organic content, the effects on paid social posts have yet to be fully seen. Many speculate that the demand for paid ad space will grow as the reach of organic content flounders, meaning ads will ultimately cost more money. Facebook has not said outright that this is the case, but it does seem to be the plausible conclusion. Ultimately, working with teams who can make ad dollars go the distance while simultaneously crafting engaging, meaningful organic content will be critical in ensuring continued success for brands on Facebook.