By now most marketers will be well aware of the changes to Facebook’s news feed algorithm that will see posts by users’ friends prioritised over posts from businesses, brands and media.
It’s a positive change for Facebook users, and heralds an opportunity for brands to refocus their marketing efforts on the platform.
While the impact of these changes will differ between pages, it will be felt most significantly by pages that struggle to garner reaction and comment from their followers. Those pages that have high engagement and manage to initiate a conversation with its followers will be less affected.
With this in mind, what can brands do to minimise the impact on their metrics?
1. Engagement, engagement, engagement.
If marketers already think they are clever with their content, then they’ll need to level up yet again. It’s a bit of a stuck record but the power of knowing what resonates with your followers and creating authentic content that sparks a genuine conversation cannot be underestimated. In fact, it’s now more crucial than ever.
Gone will be the days of brands fishing for ‘engagements’ by encouraging people to like, share or comment to go into the draw for a prize. Businesses will need to understand what motivates their followers to interact with their brand and page.
Pages that encourage longer form, natural interactions in the comments section will be rewarded by Facebook’s new algorithm.
2. Build your brand through high-quality content, not just reach.
Market presence and reach have long been key pillars of building a strong brand and it's no different on social media. It's important though to ensure you invest in creating content that encourages the right response (see point one). 'Presence x Engagement' should be a marketer's mantra.
The new Facebook algorithm will be seeking out quality over quantity when it comes to company page posts. Plus, brands are more likely to have a highly engaged follower base if they aren’t seen to be regularly blasting low-quality content.
3. Investigate new ways to produce and share content.
The truth of the matter is that Facebook often changes its algorithm. Think of this as a time to re-focus your social media strategy and to also explore new approaches. Brands that have been wedded to traditional Facebook ‘picture and text’ posts should look to cast their nets wider.
There are opportunities for brands to engage people with creative content on Instagram, which is expected to grow as a platform for brands in response to the Facebook changes. In fact, organic posts on Instagram already provide higher engagement rates than Facebook.
Another option is Facebook live videos, which are likely to escape the algorithm changes because they generate natural conversation between people, and with the brand. Live videos generate six times more interactions as regular videos, so they’ll show higher in the news feed.
While we will have to wait to understand the full significance of these changes, the key takeout is that brands need to focus on generating authentic engagement with their followers. With good data, the right social listening tool and a bit of creativity, brands will be well equipped to take on this challenge.
Dave Bowes is the chief executive of Zavy.