At the close of 2017, Facebook took a hard look at itself in the mirror and they did not like the reflection looking back. What they found was a pile of fake news, hate speech, engagement baiting, among other items. Because of this, Mark Zuckerberg intends to bring the platform back to its roots; a platform, he says, that is good for people. In the early days of the social channel it was intended for person-to-person interactions and creating meaningful interactions for its users. So what exactly are the changes, and what do they mean for you?
Facebook’s Algorithm Changes
Facebook will begin to prioritize the content its users see each time they access the platform. It will emphasize what their friends and family comment on and share and de-emphasize sensational or misleading headlines, click bait and more. These changes will serve users with content that will give them a more “meaningful interaction”. Posts that your friends have interacted with for example: a photo they commented on, or a status update they “liked” are more likely to show in the News Feed. This will reduce the amount of “passive” content.
Time Spent on Facebook
Zuckerberg is anticipating less time spent on Facebook since users will be served their relevant content first which means less time scrolling aimlessly. While people may spend fewer hours on Facebook it will actually lead to more meaningful engagements for them and those they are connected with. The new algorithm will take users time spent on the platform and their interactions into consideration, which has the potential to create a more engaging and meaningful experience with their News Feed. The algorithm update will also consider posts and ads published by Pages, especially when users have shown interaction.
This update also has the potential to bring back users who abandoned the social media giant due to frustrations surrounding the onslaught of fake news and political slander. If they are offered a more meaningful, engaging, and higher quality experience they are more likely to use the social channel once again, which adds the potential for brands to see higher quality users interacting with their posts, ads, and Page.
Pay-to-Play and Your Content
In its very early days, Facebook was viewed as a free way to advertise, but it quickly changed to a pay-to-play platform. In order to ensure your Page’s posts are seen by a relevant audience, companies need to invest advertising dollars in Facebook ads or boosted posts. Facebook will be giving priority to ad campaigns that demonstrate high quality campaign set up, tracking, and optimization. All of these factors convey to Facebook that everything they have to offer for marketing is being taking advantage of and used in a proper manner. So in essence, this is very similar to Google’s Quality Score and how the search engine will give the upper hand to those who utilize their platform to its fullest extent.
The Facebook Newsroom has wielded many questions, including if people are still able to see posts from the Pages they follow at the top of their News Feed. The answer simply put: “Yes. People who want to see more posts from Pages they follow can choose See First in News Feed Preferences to make sure they always see posts from their favorite Pages.”
So What Should You Do?
Times like these we may feel the sudden urge to make drastic changes to our Facebook strategy, but, we suggest staying the course and monitoring the impact of any algorithm changes over the next 2-3 months. Measure your posts’ impacts. Then in the coming weeks you will have something to compare current measurements to.
This is also a good time to remember that your Facebook posts aren’t just for engaging with audiences on Facebook. Social media posts and links used on social media sites create positive SEO signals for your brand. Things like sharing blog content from your website, optimizing your profile, leveraging hashtags, and pulling in tagging and mentions to build relevance and to signal influencers all have the potential to support your SEO efforts. So it’s important you continue to post content on a regular basis.
This is a lot to take in, but, it’s important to examine the data and measure results before making decisions. Additionally, it is important to have a team of knowledgeable experts on your side to help navigate these changes. Contact Brawn Media today if you have questions about your company’s social media strategy.