Facebook didn’t wait very long before shaking up the social algorithms in 2018. Announced early in January, Facebook is taking a more personal approach to the news feed. Over the first few months of the year, Facebook will be updating the news feed algorithm to prioritize posts with high engagement and posts from friends and family over brands and businesses.
While the reasoning Mark Zuckerburg shared for this update is thoughtful and backed by research, it also means that the game is changing for online marketing on Facebook. So that begs the question:
What does the new Facebook algorithm mean for brands and businesses?
Expect less engagement (and what to do about it)
Facebook’s newsroom is honest in letting businesses know to expect less engagement. Even though businesses will receive less attention by default, there are a few changes businesses can make in strategy to compensate.
- Fewer but more complex posts that can be used for boosted posts or ads. These posts would include video or animation. Movement is more appealing than static graphic design and still photographs.
- Create content that encourages engagement, but be careful in how you ask for it. Inviting engagement with tactics such as a poll, including a call-to-action, or creating shareable content (how-to videos/animations, life-humor, etc) could help your post reach more people. Stay away from flat-out asking for likes, comments and shares, known as engagement baiting. Facebook has a strict battle plan for making sure baited posts will not be seen.
- Get relevant and create news-jacking posts. These types of posts require more attention to news and trends and a quick response. A strategy that keeps your content relevant helps you stay in tune with what your audience listens to and cares about, meaning you can create better content to reach them.
- Engage with your followers to keep your brand front-of-mind. This requires effort and time each day to interact with other people’s posts (liking, commenting, and sharing), but it makes your brand stand out and stay relevant.
- Focus less on quantity and more on quality. This has always been a rule of marketing, but now is a good time to refresh the strategy. Take the time to listen to your audience and create content that’s worth reading and sharing. Hubspot’s social and campaign strategy marketing associate Henry Franco backs us up on that.
- Boost your most engaging content. While we at Envoc always preach and work toward organic reach, sometimes a boost is necessary. Don’t be afraid to boost a post for $10 every now and then. You’ll be surprised how far it gets you.
Another question you may have if you’re a business owner or manage your own social media might be:
If Facebook is not going to show my posts, then why should I bother posting?
First things first, there is always a possibility of your posts being seen. Your business post may just be competing against others for the space, so it’s important to pay close attention to those tips above.
Research suggests posting to Facebook (and other social media platforms) could still help your standing with Google.
Over the years, Google has shied away from directly answering this question. Why? Algorithm NDA. Here is Google’s former head of webspam Matt Cutts talking about this in 2010, then again in 2014. From these videos, the answer is technically, “no;” however, research says otherwise.
Searchmetrics’ 2016 Rebooting Ranking Factors White Paper states
“The correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and the number of social signals per landing page has remained constant when compared to with the values from last year’s whitepaper. … The top-ranked websites in Google’s rankings displays vastly more social signals than all other pages…. This is primarily due to the overlap between brand websites performing strongly in social networks and being allocated top positions by Google.”
Long story short - posting to Facebook can only help.
Consumers are flooded with advertisements, sales calls and messages everywhere saying, “We have exactly what you need!” The trick is always figuring out who the trustworthy voice is, which is why word-of-mouth advertising and referrals remain a major channel for new business of local companies. But what happens when the online consumer finds you? How will they validate your brand? By checking your online profiles.
If your online social profiles aren’t active or relevant, you could easily be passed over as a failed business attempt or spam account. Keeping your Facebook page up to date will improve your online credibility.
When it’s broken down and you have a strategy, the new algorithm isn’t so scary. For our Envoc Creatives, it’s a “challenge accepted” kind of situation.