You’ve probably heard about Facebook’s recent announcement on major changes to the News Feed. In a nutshell, the change is about getting back to Facebook’s roots - that means you’ll soon be seeing your friends and families updates prioritized, at the expense of the screeds of engagement-bait ads and content that have become all too familiar. Zuckerberg has decided the time has come to bring the network back to its founding principal: helping people stay connected and bringing us closer together with the people that matter to us.
Communication from Facebook to partners has so far suggested that this change will have no effect on the ads ranking. What’s sure is that the change will mean less organic reach for brands and pages, increasing the role of advertising in achieving the results companies may have been used to seeing organically. It may also mean increased costs for advertisers because of greater competition for ad placements.
This change is about making Facebook the kind of place people still want to spend time 10 years from now. Zuck could see the writing on the wall - Facebook was starting to become a hive of ‘spamy’ content from immature page admins convinced they were ‘hacking’ the algorithm. In making this change, Facebook is correcting the balance between ROI for businesses and a good user experience for everyone else.
Opportunity in disguise?
While this might appear to be rather bad news for businesses, we feel like it’s more of an opportunity. For companies approaching Facebook in an authentic way, the change is positive. It ensures Facebook will remain a place your customers and prospects actually want to spend time.
And for those already investing heavily in Facebook advertising, you may not even notice a change. The truth is, it’s widely understood these days that Facebook is a ‘pay-to-play’ platform and businesses have become pretty used to adapting to regular changes in the Facebook algorithm over the years. So don’t panic!
Having said that - all you social advertisers - don’t lose interest now! While this change to News Feed may not currently have a big effect companies ‘sold out’ to Facebook advertising, it’s a good idea to make some small tweaks to your Facebook strategy now to avoid any interruption to your results in the future.
Tips for navigating the ‘new’ News Feed
So what practical things can you start doing as a business on Facebook to ensure you get ahead of this thing? Here are our four big tips:
1. Focus on quality in everything you do
Since this change is all about the user experience, it’s an opportunity for you as an advertiser to ensure your ads and posts (and everything you do on Facebook) are actually interesting and valuable for your target audience. Ask yourself questions like: is this content making the user's life better, or is it just serving my goals? If I were a user would I be likely to share this with my friends or tag them in it? Apart from the action you want people to take from your ad or post, ask yourself whether the content of the post itself adds to people’s experience. There’s no more room for ‘hacking’ - the most successful businesses on Facebook will be ones who deliver value to the user with no strings attached.
Now is the time to really keep an ear out for what your audience is saying. Is your audience talking about what you’re posting? If so, what are they saying? Can you see a pattern in the kinds of questions they are asking related to your product or service? This could be your opportunity to start framing your content around the kinds of questions, challenges or goals your audience is talking about.
As part of this, do an audit of the kinds of posts that have done well for you in the past. If you can see a particular topic resonates well with your audience, resulting in more shares and comments than usual, focus your energy on more of the same. Take note of posts that attracted no conversation from users and avoid those kinds of topics in the future.
2. Experiment with the changes in mind
Carla Flores, one of our Account Managers here at MakeMeReach, has been speaking with some of her clients about the change to the News Feed. “Facebook is essentially adding a fourth dimension to determine how it prioritizes organic posts. In addition to Likes, Comments and Shares, Facebook will now be looking to reward posts that create significant interactions and conversations between people”. Ensure your posts and ads now take into account this fourth factor. An example could be experimenting with boosting your video posts based on the number of comments and shares rather than views. That way, you are beginning to frame your ad spend around what Facebook is trying to achieve - that is, creating real connections between people and bringing them closer.
3. Encourage fans and followers to use the ‘see first feature’
Your loyal followers can still make sure they see your page’s posts at the top of their feed with Facebook’s handy ‘see first feature’ (here’s a tutorial on how to set it up). An idea could be to reach out to your blog subscribers or facebook page ‘likers’ with a note explaining how they can set this feature up. If they’ve found your content compelling and interesting enough to subscribe to your blog, they may like to ensure they continue to see your brand’s posts front-and-centre in their News Feed.
4. Get onboard with Facebook Messenger
2018 is shaping up to be the year a flood of businesses integrate Messenger into their strategies, with the goal of initiating one-on-one conversations. Even more than the Facebook app itself, Messenger was built for personal communication. With this change to News Feed coinciding with some major improvements to the Messenger app in 2018, this is the perfect time to dive in. If you continue your Facebook presence without using Messenger, you may find yourself falling behind other smart businesses taking advantage of this refreshed audience growth tool.
So, to sum it all up, here at MakeMeReach we feel this change is actually a positive thing for businesses approaching Facebook in the right way. The moral of the story is to get to grips with what Facebook is trying to achieve - fostering deeper connections between people - and to start approaching everything you do on Facebook with that lense.
About Joe Sweeney CMO here at MakeMeReach, Joe is a words guy. Joe's a digital marketer who believes in the power of quality content to start great conversations between consumers and brands. He also hosts our weekly Facebook Live!All posts by Joe Sweeney
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