On January 11, 2018, Facebook announced its biggest newsfeed algorithm change to date. Facebook will prioritize content from friends, family and groups in a user’s newsfeed, favoring personal content over posts from companies.
“As we roll this out,” Mark Zuckerberg wrote, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.” Curious about the details of the change, and what it means for your brand? We’ve got the scoop.
Why did Facebook change in this way?
Facebook points back to its goal of bringing people closer together and building relationships. With its new algorithm favoring meaningful, personal interactions over posts from brand, news outlets and pages, Facebook hopes to create more opportunities for people to interact with those they care about.
It’s also an effort to combat a growing feeling of negativity among users. In December, Facebook itself acknowledged that passively consuming information — think mindless scrolling and aimless surfing — isn’t the best for our well-being. It’s an effort from Facebook to change the platform for the better.
So how will these changes impact my brand?
The algorithm change means that Facebook is redefining engagement as a person-to-person interaction. Posts from friends and family will be more highly ranked than corporate and page content. This will downplay a brand’s organic reach.
Posts that prompt and initiate discussion will be the next highest priority. For brands, it boils down to a key distinction: you’ll lose with posts that are simply clickbait and you’ll win with posts that foster genuine connection.
What can brands do today to keep up?
Focus on quality engagement:
- Engage your internal content gathering team to post on their own platforms to broaden your brand’s reach organically to friends and family.
- Posts designed to cultivate conversation will matter most. Longer comments, thought-provoking questions and authentic interaction can boost your brand’s visibility.
- Group interaction is also a way for your brand to get attention. In the algorithm change, Facebook still puts high importance on groups and relevant, meaningful connection within them. Consider how your brand can lead the conversation in this way on the platform.
- Consider ambassador programs or advocate building as a tactic to increase organic reach. Since Facebook pages will no longer have organic reach, brands can win by incentivizing advocates to reach an audience organically. Build a program that entices people who love your organization to spread the word socially.
What can brands do to win long-term?
Hold fast to an authentic long-term strategy. Continue an intentional focus on relevant content, with your Ideal Advocates™ always at the heart. Resist the urge to jump ship whenever an algorithm change is in the headlines. Remember that Facebook is just one aspect of a holistic marketing plan.
Ultimately, this change means that knowing your Ideal Advocates is always a smart strategy. When you know who you’re aiming for, and which platforms they’re engaging on most, you’ve set your target.