We’re unpacking the Facebook changes that will impact your business and looking at what you should do to survive the cut.
In January this year Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, made an announcement that sent chills down the spines of many business owners who rely on Facebook to bring in customers.
“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.”
Bottom line: Facebook is going to be making it even harder for businesses to reach their customers in 2018. But with 1.98 billion monthly active users, it continues to be critical for businesses to have a presence on the platform – especially small ones with limited budgets.
So, before you collapse in a heap of social media despair, let’s unpack Facebook’s 2018 algorithm change and take a look at what your business should be focusing on to ensure you keep showing up where people are spending time – their Facebook newsfeeds.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Facebook’s algorithm, here is a quick summary:
“EdgeRank is the Facebook algorithm that decides which stories appear in each user’s newsfeed. The algorithm hides boring stories, so if your story doesn’t score well, no one will see it.” – Edgerank.net
Survival of the fittest? Nope! Survival of the friendliest.
What’s changing: In Zuckerberg’s announcement, he wrote that “pages making posts that people generally don’t react to or comment on could see the biggest decreases in distribution. Pages whose posts prompt conversations between friends will see less of an effect”.
What should you do: Quality content won’t be enough if you want your business to keep showing up in people’s newsfeeds. There’s a renewed focus on “meaningful interactions”. And what qualifies as a meaningful interaction? Comments. Posts that get friends and family engaging with a topic are what will push your business’s content up the newsfeed where most of the eyeballs are. Don’t even think about posting those engagement-baiting posts like “comment on this post if you’re a morning person”. Facebook is on to you and will penalise pages who bait their audiences into engagement. Remember, meaningful interactions!
Tip: When you’re putting together your Facebook content calendar, forget for a second that you have a Facebook page. Imagine you have a closed Facebook group filled with like-minded members. What is the thing that brought them there in the first place and what topics can you build around that reason? Those are the content topics that should get the conversation going on your Facebook page.
Let’s make it official: Ask your audience to commit.
What’s changing: Okay, to be fair, this isn’t actually a change that Facebook is making, but it might be a change you’ll have to make. In 2015, Facebook introduced their See First option which allows customers to add businesses to a list of content sources they want to see in their newsfeeds first. This option is still available and will maximise exposure of your posts. We like to think of it as an unpaid Post Boost.
What should you do: Ask your Facebook fans to add you to their See First list.
Facebook live video favoured under the new algorithm
What’s changing: Facebook algorithm changes are usually shrouded in mystery, but one of the few concrete examples of content that will perform well in 2018 is live videos. While videos remain the favoured post type, live videos will be the focus, with Zuckerberg writing that live videos get six times as many interactions as regular videos.
Tip: Live videos still need to be planned. Plan your video content topics while putting together your content calendar. Quality conversation is important, but consistency is also key. Attempting to run a Facebook page without a content calendar is a bit like trying to diet without a set meal plan. Your chances of not falling off the wagon are much higher if you have a road map to follow.
Facebook Groups to join the marketing mix
Here it is from the horse’s mouth: “The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.” See that last one. Groups.
One billion people already belong to Facebook groups. About 10 per cent of those belong to groups that Facebook has identified as “very meaningful” – communities that “quickly become the most important part of someone’s experience on Facebook”, in other words: the only reason they use Facebook. This number is set to grow with the current algorithm changes in place.
If you complete our [Facebook Marketing Mastery programme] you automatically gain access to our top secret members-only Facebook Marketing Masterminds group. It’s a beehive of activity with members asking questions, sharing advice, showing support, celebrating business milestones and educating each other. “Super-fans” is a group that any business should be keen to target. By giving those extra-keen brand loyalists a chance to interact with each other as well as with the brand itself, groups create a powerful ecosystem in which members forge meaningful connections with your business. The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer shows that people are far more likely to trust someone like themselves (60 per cent) for company information than they are the company CEO (37 per cent).
Algorithm changes, whether its Facebook or Google, can be difficult to navigate as a business owner. The algorithms are top secret and the effects tend to sneak up on us. One day you’re at the top of the newsfeed, scoffing at your competitor’s feeble attempts at getting likes; the next day, you’re at the bottom begging for a thumbs up. This particular change will have far-reaching effects, because it’s more than just an algorithm change; it’s a change in how Facebook does business.
“We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. Based on this, we’re making a major change to how we build Facebook. I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.” Mark Zuckerberg