Facebook confirms algorithm update – what should brands do?

News broke this week that Facebook is to make big changes to its News Feed algorithm which will see it prioritise content from family and friends alongside posts that generate comments between communities. This will most likely come at the expense of brands, publishers and charities even.

The change confirms what those who work in social media expected/feared back in 2017 when Facebook tested brand posts on its Explore Feed. While this change is not exactly that, it’s still not the best of news for social media managers who remember the days of good, hearty, organic engagement.

Setting the scene in 2018

Now let’s reign it in for a moment. If you’re a brand and have a business page you should know that generating organic engagement and having your content seen by your audience has gotten harder in recent years. Gone are the blissful days of 2011, 2012 and maybe 2013, where you could almost guarantee (if you had the audience) that you’d receive a significant amount of likes/comments on your posts due to a significant number of people actually seeing them.

Recently things have been less positive with Facebook slashing the reach of business posts, resulting in just a fraction of a company’s audience seeing them. Perhaps an expected and shrewd move by the social media giant, Facebook put more emphasis on building its advertising offering forcing more brands down the advertising route. Even with this change brands jumped and continue to jump at the opportunity to dip into Facebook’s astonishing reach for advertising.

Social media managers adapted with change. Video content was crowned as the undisputed champion of engagement, and it become almost essential to utilise native video to reach those numbers we so crave.

Alongside this, boosted posts became more prominent to get your creative campaigns seen by numbers, meaning brands had to dip into their pockets. If a post managed to go viral or semi-viral organically in this landscape then hats off to you.

What this change in algorithm could mean?

We can’t be sure, we’re speculating at this early stage. Facebook has stated that it will still favour content that starts discussions between friends/families so by that notion, brands who produce creative posts which see you, your best mate and your aunty Angela all comment on should be fine – they may be in better shape, even.

The change could hit niche industries who were already seeing low levels of engagement.

Also, B2B may suffer further as those trying to get across their company or product benefits, even in a creative fashion with posts aimed at generating engagement, may just not see the conversation start.

The change could soon see people asking the question, ‘why am I bothering with this channel?’ if they haven’t already, resulting in them putting more effort into LinkedIn, Twitter etc.

It’s likely that a change in strategy for the platform will be needed this year (again? you cry).

What we’re happy about

This change will hopefully get rid of those annoying ‘like and share if you live on planet earth, woop woop!‘ posts.

What we’re not so happy about

The word ‘major‘ in Mark Zuckerberg’s post about the change, which you can read here. Years of work could be down the drain thanks to a ‘major’ change, Mark. Thanks for that.

5 things brands should do

  1. Monitor – Firstly, monitor any changes in your engagement and reach. Also monitor what others do and what works well. Remember, everyone’s now in this together.
  2. Experiment – Experiment to see what content performs best and look to build a strategy around this once determined.
  3. Revise posting amount – Once you’ve determined what works, ask yourself ‘do I really need to post that?’ or other content. It really is going to be quality over quantity it seems.
  4. Look at influencers – Influencers with loyal, engaging followers could be a way to get your company/product in front of a larger social audience. These individuals could become even more powerful in the near future so make sure they’re on your agenda.
  5. Consider an advertising budget – Finally, make sure you consider an advertising budget. With some saying this move was a final push from Facebook to ‘ensure companies pay’, it’s perhaps more important than ever to consider advertising on the social platform. However this comes with a word of caution; advertising should be targeted correctly using creative assets to avoid falling into the spam category.

As mentioned, we don’t yet know the full extent of the change. We speculate here but it will be interesting to see the new shape the world’s biggest social media platform takes.

If you want further advice, get in touch with us.

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