I mentioned in 4 Social Media Marketing Trends You Need to Thrive in 2018 that changes are coming to Facebook’s algorithm. Well, the wait is over! Last week Facebook announced big changes to the way their algorithm serves content to users. A quote from Adam Mosseri, a Facebook VP, highlights what we can expect from the update:
“There will be more friend content and family content. There will also be more group content. Group content tends to inspire a lot of conversation. Communities on Facebook are becoming increasingly active and vibrant.
There will be less video. Video is an important part of the ecosystem. It’s been consistently growing. But it’s more passive in nature. There’s less conversation on videos, particularly public videos.
There will be less content directly from (professional) Pages. Page content will still be an important part of the ecosystem, but it will shift a little bit. Content that is shared and talked about between friends will grow, and content that’s directly consumed from Pages directly will shrink slightly.”
How might this impact businesses that use Facebook for marketing? 🧐
You will likely see less traffic and engagement on your Page. This is no surprise, since Facebook has been headed toward zero organic (unpaid) reach for years. This is simply another step in that direction. Hopefully you’ve been preparing your business and your marketing plan for this eventuality. If not, there’s no time like the present!
However, this algorithm update does not render Facebook obsolete for marketing. According to Facebook, the goal behind these algorithm changes is to help people become closer and more connected. As Mosseri puts it, “content that… facilitates or inspires more meaningful conversation or meaningful interactions between people will get more distribution.”
Specifically, that means “we’re going to be (weighing) long comments more than short comments…. comments are more valuable than Likes… clicks are valuable. If you click on something you’re more interested in it than something that you didn’t click.”
What this means is that new strategy is in order to make sure your Facebook marketing still works for your business and your clients. Thankfully, most of these strategies aren’t out of left-field. Rather, they subtly shift the way you use Facebook so your content will stay relevant in the updated algorithm.
6 simple ways to work Facebook Newsfeed to your advantage 🍻
If you create community-focused content that is designed to inspire conversation, Facebook will still work for your brand. Here are some specific strategies: (click to tweet!)
- Video is still important, especially Live video which inspires conversation between the creator and viewers in the comments.
- Groups, whether one you start or one you belong to, are powerful places to connect with people over specific topics and shared interests.
- Facebook Ads: paid content on Facebook is not impacted by this algorithm change. Paid content is still a viable way to get new eyes on your brand and drive engagement to your posts.
- Text posts: create text-based posts to inspire conversation. Pose a question, state an opinion, or share something you’ve been ruminating. It’s important not to solicit conversation, however. Facebook is cracking down on publishers who try to “game” the system by asking their audience to comment, share, and like their posts. The goal is to inspire genuine engagement.
- Consider creating an group of friends who are willing to help you start conversations on Facebook. Just because you can’t solicit your audience to comment in the text of your post doesn’t mean you can ask friends offline to get involved! Social media marketing works best when coupled with other marketing strategies – including ones as informal as asking friends to engage with you.
- Pay it forward: are there micro-influencers in your area or industry that you want to connect with? Now that you know what Facebook’s algorithm is looking for, you can comment on and share others’ content. Let those business owners and prospects know who you are, and show them that you want to have a conversation by starting one via thoughtful comments.
Shift your Facebook goals from “convert” to “connect” 🤝
“These latest updates are making me think of Facebook as more of a shop window and customer contact channel rather than an acquisition channel. More for customers to find you than you to find them.”
It’s true. Now is the time to shift your mindset from “Facebook is where clients convert” to “Facebook is where I connect with clients and they get to know me.” Facebook is emphasizing content that inspires conversation, so how can you do the same with your audience?
Your direct conversion rate may drop, but that’s no cause for panic. Instead, shift your attention to different success metrics, such as number and length of comments on your content, shares, and the topics and images that get the most engagement from your audience.
Broaden your marketing scope 📣
Facebook has been a valuable referrer of traffic for brands and I don’t expect that to stop. However, it’s good strategy to make sure you’re not overly reliant on the network for marketing. Now is a good time to work on improving your performance on Pinterest, LinkedIn, or email:
- If you haven’t already, consider using Pinterest to promote your content and drive traffic to your website. I’ll begin offering Pinterest marketing in a few months – sign up for my email list to get the details!
- Make sure you are connecting on LinkedIn with new acquaintances from networking events and conversations with prospects. Publish your blog articles directly on LinkedIn, and ask friends to help you share them.
- One of my clients recently noticed that she had a lot of email subscribers who did not interact with her content. She sent an email to this segment of her list, asking “Do you want to unsubscribe?” I encourage you to be bold on your email list as well! Make sure your subscribers are a good fit for your content, and make sure that you add prospects and new acquaintances (with their permission!) to your list.
YOU know what’s best for your business 👀
It’s wise to stay abreast of new marketing trends and to test new strategies. There are plenty of experts that will keep you informed about what’s changing and what to try. But remember: you know your business best.
I shared these Facebook Newsfeed insights and suggestions with my clients, and this is what Sarah wrote back:
“I’ve tried creating groups, and it just never takes off. People start off really interested, and then the interest peters out – and we don’t get active participation. I do participate in other groups – and have even gotten clients from those interactions.
I have to also confess that I’ve had to turn off most of my group conversation notifications. TOO MUCH NOISE. So that’s part of my pushback on this. I’d love to think about how to do this without being part of the noise machine.”
Clearly groups aren’t the best fit for Sarah’s clients (though they are a good place for Sarah to meet prospects!).
Sarah also raises an important point: how can your brand contribute meaningful content… without becoming “part of the noise?” That’s a topic for another time, but it’s important to consider when deciding whether YOU want to try a new strategy with your brand.
Just because an expert says it doesn’t mean it’s the right time or right idea for you. There are many great marketing strategies that are not the right fit for your business. If you’re not sure what strategies are the right fit, pay attention to your data: both the marketing analytics you measure and your intuitive data – that inner compass honed by years of experience in your field.
Trust yourself to know the right way forward for your business. And finally, be audacious! Now more than ever it’s time to stop doing “business as usual,” and to let your creative, outside-the-box ideas into the light of day. Your business and your marketing will thank you.