Facebook algorithm

Facebook only went and did it again… and the world isn’t happy. When Mark Zuckerberg announced the newsfeed changes the platform would be putting into effect, he triggered a drop in share price by as much as 6.1%.

However, while you could practically hear marketers around the world collectively wailing at how the tweaks could affect their strategy, it’s important to see this as an opportunity – for the sake of your sanity, if nothing else. Here’s how to survive the new Facebook algorithm change… it’s not as bad as you think, I promise.

What is the latest Facebook algorithm update?

Maybe the popularity of Vero’s manifesto struck a chord with the original social networking Goliath. The recent algorithm changes intend to revert Facebook to its original mission – to help people connect – by reducing the number of posts from business pages, brands and publishers in newsfeeds.

Now, it’s the content that ignites engagement and conversation from a user’s Facebook connections that will get bumped to the top. Which begs the question: is your brand’s content up to scratch?

How will this affect marketers?

Well, that depends on your strategy. It isn’t the best news for those who have heavily leant on in-feed advertising to drive traffic, rather than focusing on engaging with audiences. In fact, some of these folks are already calling the changes the “Facebook Apocalypse”.

But what you need to remember is that Facebook isn’t saying your content will no longer be visible – it’s saying that content which fails to engage won’t show up in the newsfeed.

And as a Marketing Land article put it so succinctly: “Let’s face it – if you’re distributing content today that’s not getting any engagement, your strategy wasn’t working anyway.”

Positive actions to work with the new Facebook algorithm change

If Mark Zuckerberg wants more ‘meaningful interactions’ on his platform, then that’s what brands will have to provide. What does this mean? You’re gunning for comments and conversation. Here are a few tips that might help:

Encourage people to share their opinions… Perhaps you’ll want to give your two cents worth on a relevant, timely topic or try including more meaningful questions in your posts. Just remember, users are more likely to see your content if their friends and family are commenting on it.

… but avoid engagement bait. The slipperiest minds amongst us may have already decided that posting content which goads users into interaction is the way forward. It isn’t. Facebook have made it clear: “People have told us that they dislike spammy posts on Facebook that goad them into interacting with likes, shares, comments, and other actions. For example, ‘LIKE this if you’re an Aries!’… So, starting this week, we will begin demoting individual posts from people and Pages that use engagement bait.” You have been warned.

Experiment with live video. Testing by Marketing Land revealed a 30-50% increase in reach for live video vs. pre-recorded and edited video. Plus, Facebook’s algorithm is favouring live video. Even if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge into live quite yet, video is converting the most on social at the moment, so if it’s not in your content strategy, it really should be.

Poll your audience. The bottom line is that for some brands the changes might mean going right back to marketing basics and getting to know your audience all over again. Try polling your followers to find out what content they respond to the most and test a variety of formats to see which are the most effective. Your best-performing content can then be used to create ads which can support your blog posts and videos and extend your reach.

Focus on subscribers. Direct engagement could become key in the coming months. Pushing out quality content to known subscribers via email will become crucial to building and activating those personalised relationships upon which engagement rests.

The lesson here is that, once again, quality content trumps all. Content that’s genuinely valuable, entertaining and engaging is far more likely to find its way naturally to the right audience. Luckily, we know a thing or two about that…

For help with your content marketing needs, contact M2 Bespoke today.