The Big Facebook Change – How Can You Still Reach Your Audience?
Facebook started out as purely social – a place for us to share our lives and interact online. As Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and co-founder recently said: ‘We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.’
Over time, this ideology became diluted as brands started to advertise and promote content alongside friend and family updates; changing the shape of our newsfeed.
This ultimately led to individual users engaging less with the platform, due to being met by too much of what they don’t want to see – and Facebook have taken note.
Zuckerberg recently stated that feedback from users indicated ‘posts from businesses, brands and media are (sic) crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.’
This has now lead to one of Facebook’s most monumental transformations ever – a change in the news feed algorithm. This will now prioritise posts from family, friends and groups - and we will see less content from businesses and brand pages.
Naturally, this has led to concern from companies currently using organic Facebook posts to grow and outreach to their audience.
With Zephoria stating that 42% of marketers cite Facebook as being important or critical to their business - and more than 70 million businesses using Facebook pages every month - the algorithm change is an issue that definitely presents problems. It is going to significantly impact brands utilising social media for marketing.
How Can I Still Reach An Audience On Facebook?
The positive is, there are definitely ways businesses can work with this change and reach customers. Here are our tips:
Be Bold – Encourage ‘See First’
Facebook is putting users first – if someone still wants to see your content, they can do.
Automatically, a follower will see less from your business page - unless they select ‘See First’ for your page.
You can take advantage of this if you’re upfront and honest. Directly encourage your loyal followers to use the ‘See First’ functionality.
Post more videos, as they are favoured over text content in the latest newsfeed update. Even better than this would be to broadcast Live videos from your business page.
Facebook Live videos have six times the interactions than pre-filmed videos, showing why they’re preferential in the algorithm.
Bear in mind that Facebook’s justification for the change is to ensure users’ time is ‘valuable’ and to ‘encourage meaningful interactions’. This means it’s essential for businesses to avoid providing a passive experience.
Facebook statistics show 53% of people are more likely to shop with a business they can directly message. To utilise this opportunity, start one-to-one, ongoing conversations with your followers and fans.
You can use sponsored messages to:
- Send relevant offers to the followers you’re communicating with on Messenger
- Provide support
- Encourage purchases
Post Engaging Content
You may no longer be able to rely on getting clicks through to your website from a posting a link - but you can maintain social engagement.
Create content that stimulates conversation and sparks comments, tags and shares. Local businesses who promote events and relevant updates to their followers will show higher in news feeds too.
Pages that don’t get reactions or comments are likely to be penalised the most, with a decrease in distribution.
Do, however, steer clear of ‘engagement-baiting’. Content should be genuinely engaging, and not contain phrases such as ‘Like if you agree’. This type of post will be demoted in the newsfeed further.
Paid Facebook Advertising
One very important message to bear in mind with the changes is that the newsfeed transformation does not affect paid advertising. Or at least not in terms of being able to gain prominence.
There are still plenty of other places for paid advertising to your Facebook users:
- Right column
- Audience Network
- Instagram feed
- Messenger ads
It is worth bearing in mind that the algorithm change could potentially lead to an increase in costs for sponsored ads in the newsfeed. With less organic availability, more companies will need to use the sponsored features and as a result, there will be more competition.
With this being such a new change, there may also be other methods to help you to reach your customers that become clear moving forward - but for now, these are a great start.
Make sure you analyse any data you have and consider what type of content your followers interact with the most.
Generate similar pieces to post and you’ll minimise any new algorithm effects.