February 15, 2018

Facebook’s Algorithm Changes: How it Affects Social Media Marketing

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On January 11th the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its news feed algorithm to prioritize more meaningful interactions among family, friends, groups and less from businesses, brands and media. On the top of that, Facebook also disclosed that the changes will reduce the engagement for pages across the board. This is to ultimately provide better online experience for the users and to combat the criticism that Facebook face over the last few years concerning fake news and irrelevant topics.

As the changes take effect over the next few months, businesses will most presumably see a significant decrease in organic reach from their social media marketing pages.  This only means that article sharing and static social media services content will not bring in as much natural engagement. Business brands and social pages that heavily rely on this kind of content will have a difficulty coping up with this change. What businesses must keep in mind during this change is that customers are, and have always been first and content marketers as second.

Due to this change all aspects of social media marketing will be affected. Find out what to expect from the changes and learn some ways to maintain your social media interactions.

Organic Reach Decreases

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(Image Courtesy of Pexels)

As Facebook start to prioritize content that encourages meaningful interactions, marketers can expect a decrease on their Facebook pages organic reach.

In this case, users will see more post in their news feed from people they are connected to and less content form pages they are following. This will cause a significant shift from the former rankings of facebook’s news feed, which mainly focuses on total time spent in using Facebook and how many people directly shared a post.

While Facebook still put value on page content which is an important part of their platform’s ecosystem, the news feed will shift its focus from ranking business pages to content that is shared and talked about among family, friends and groups. Users will also start seeing less video content in the news feed for it typically stirs less conversation, particularly public videos.

Presently, there is already a ton of competition for organic reach. According to Facebook, the average user has about 1,500 stories competing to appear on Facebook’s news feed every time a user logs in. Facebook’s algorithms then select roughly 300 of those post based in their rankings. Moreover, organic reach and engagement for brand content have been decreasing for years. Back in 2014, the organic reach for brand pages was down to 6% and as low 2% for brands with over 500,000 followers.

The average number of engagements with brand content on Facebook fell more than 20%, a study made from January to June 2017. So business brand pages can expect that number to decline a bit more with this upcoming changes.

What Counts as Meaningful Interaction?

While Facebook has not announced any visible criteria yet, their marketing partner team provided some examples to give social media marketers some idea.

Girl using Facebook on a laptop

(Image Courtesy of Pexels)

Here are the lists of interactions that would mark as meaningful:

  • Multiple people responding to each other’s comments regarding a video they watched or a blog they read in the News Feed.
  • A page actively responding to a person’s comment on their page post.
  • People interacting on a page’s live video.
  • Any active interactions from a user’s post that people posted and re-shared.

In this way, it is important for businesses to make sure their social media marketing post doesn’t lose engagement.  If your business social media services page can maximize the number of meaningful interaction through your content, your page organic reach shouldn’t take much of a hit.

To put it in a nutshell: businesses, brands and media companies are all in one boat. Organic reach for pages will keep declining, but there are several ways to make sure your brand still has a strong presence in Facebook.

How Can Marketers Cope with the News Feed Changes?

At this stage, it’s too early to predict how this update affects businesses and their social media marketing content on Facebook. However, some experts have come up with tips to help businesses prepare for Facebook’s algorithm changes:

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(Image Courtesy of Pexels)

  1. Focus on content with strong emotions and opinions

Create a content the prompts your customers to really engage with your brand. In the new algorithm change, your social media page needs to initiate and stimulate your followers’ opinions and emotions. If you can post content that gets people discuss relevant topics, you will not only have a great engagement rate, but also get a priority in the updates news feed.

Here are the six emotions to focus on in prompting meaningful interactions according to a research held by Harvard business Review:

  • Uncertainty
  • Admiration
  • Interest
  • Amazement
  • Curiosity
  • Astonishment

If your page focus on your organic posts on stimulating at least one of these six emotions, your brand will likely see a boost in shares and comments. Your brand can still have a slot in the new Facebook Feed as long as your content amazes your audience and drive them to share their opinions.

  1. Be resilient with the new rules

The truth here is social platforms can and will change the rules whenever they want. If your business is not ready and not well prepared for change, this may result to a negative financial impact. It is essential to easily accept the new rules to better adopt with the changes.

  1. Create content that would educate and entertain

Businesses need to do a lot more story-telling with their video post content. Think of channels like Discovery channel and episodic content. Online audiences have a big, insistent appetite for this type of content and this could hugely drive interaction in your social media page.

  1. Invest in live video

Incorporating live video at least once a week could increase your page conversation rate. Some businesses are scared to go live, but Facebook makes it easy. This means that live video needs a creative strategy surrounding it, and that’s up with brands on how they will make it more engaging.

  1. Learn how to advertise in Facebook

Rather than posting everything, businesses should be more strategic about the content they post, because posts that build up meaningful connections and interactions among users will be prioritized in the news feed.

  1. Diversify with other social media channels

If your brands social media services are mainly focused on Facebook, this algorithm update could be troubling you. However, if your business has been building audiences on other social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram this change won’t affect your business as nearly as much.

With Facebook algorithm changes, brands social media marketing page can expect to have less of their content distributed in the news feed. But your business page can either focus on the strategies that were mentioned above to better adapt to this upcoming news feed change.

 

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