The recent changes to Facebook’s algorithm, announced in January and implemented in the weeks following, is (by many standards) the most significant alteration to the news feed in history.
While those with personal accounts were either complaining that things had changed again or congratulating Facebook for finally getting it right (depending on the personal sentiments), social media marketers took a very different route. Glued to their own news feeds, marketers scanned the results for signs of what had changed, why, and how it would affect their efforts moving forward.
One thing that everyone noticed was that the professionals were split into two different categories. While page owners and publishers were panicking over the recent update, trusted social media experts were staying calm – and telling others to do the same. But why weren’t they panicking? Why would they not be concerned about the biggest alteration to Facebook’s news feed yet?
Words of Wisdom from Mark Schaefer
Mark Schaefer is an adjunct marketing professor, consultant, and public speaker who had just one simple thing to say:
Of course, that wasn’t all he had to say – and his message was much the same as other industry experts. The fact is, organic reach was already dead. It had been dying for years – a slow, steady trickle of a death that had made Facebook advertising a difficult transition without paid advertisements. In fact, before this last update, organic reach per page was lower than 1%. That is an amount insignificant enough that it may not be anything at all.
But it isn’t all disheartening news. Those who have been doing well on social media will continue to do so, regardless of how this latest update has altered the landscape. Those pages which were able to generate a massive amount of engagement with their followers will still be able to do so.
The fact is, whatever content you put out – social media or otherwise – must matter to your audience. This has always been the way things work, and no matter what updates occur on Facebook or any other social media platform, that will continue being the way things work.
The Truth About the Change
All this new algorithm does is clean up user’s news feed so that personal accounts hold more sway – which, consequently, is the true purpose of social media platforms to begin with. This makes it harder for businesses, but not that much harder.
It’s true. The big Facebook algorithm change is not that big. The types of content which will be driven out of a person’s newsfeed had no value, to begin with, because those pieces of content who were trying to get a little attention and engagement with no other promotional efforts were rarely doing anything, anyways.
Organic reach opportunities still exist, of course, but will be harder to attain. Think of this as a positive. The most effect marketers have always had to place significant creativity and effort into their strategies. The change just pushes you a little harder to reach your goals, which (eventually) can turn you into a better social media marketer.
Tips for Moving Forward
While the new algorithm will not change everything, it will change some things. Many of the below items have been social media marketing best practices for years now, while others are just slightly altered to consider the newest algorithm update. Using the following will help to ensure your strategy is as efficient and effective as possible.
Embrace Paid Advertisements
You must fully embrace Facebook’s paid advertisements. While many have been avoiding this – or using it sparingly – now is the time to jump in with both feet. The potential targeting and reach of these advertisements are great to begin with.
Diversify Marketing Efforts
Continue diversifying your marketing efforts. Most marketers are already doing this, but those that are relying heavily on their Facebook fans need to branch out.
Include a wide variety of marketing platforms, like email, search engine optimization, video, podcasting, e-books, webpage copy, blogs, articles, guest blogs, forums, etc. Even diversify your social media platforms a little. If you are only on Facebook, add one other site to your repertoire.
Don’t Just Post – Start A Conversation
The only way to get great engagement statistics is to have a dual-sided approach. One of the biggest mistakes beginning social media marketers make is failing to personally engage with those followers who have engaged with your post.
You want to have conversations. It makes customers feel appreciated and listened to. Starting a conversation also prompts much higher engagement metrics. For example, if you receive 100 comments on a single post and take time to respond to roughly half of them while liking the rest. If only half of those respond to your comments, you’ve accumulated an additional 25 likes.
Simple, Clear Campaign Goals
Set simple, clear social media marketing campaign goals which are trackable using metrics. Each campaign should only have one primary goal. Your first goal may be to increase your Facebook followers by 200%. Your second might be to increase click-through ratings for social media posts.
Defined Posting Schedule
Set a clearly defined posting schedule that encompasses all content formats on all platforms. Let’s say your company is an upscale women’s clothing boutique. In addition to your blog and website, you utilize Facebook and Instagram.
Your social campaign should include links back to your blog posts, for starters. You’ll also want to create social media posts that are specialized for social platforms to create engagement. It should be repackaged to fit each platform’s news feed and formatting. Have an idea of which posts you plan to boost and keep a small portion of funding for boosting posts which perform well.
By doing this you can ensure that each site is posted to regularly, and that your message is being seen across multiple channels in the most platform-accurate style.
To Sum It All Up
The Facebook algorithm change really isn’t a big deal. Yes, it is a notable change, but those who were already doing well on social media will easily continue to do so. Stick with the most basic guidelines to effective social media marketing but lean a little heavier on Facebook’s paid advertising.