You may have heard rumours of this a while ago, but it’s now official: Facebook’s new algorithm is firmly in place, focusing on “making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.” In more specific terms, Facebook is shifting from a brand-heavy news feed to a more personal news feed that includes more content from your friends and less from corporate Pages.
What does this mean for social media marketers? Well, in the short-term it’s certainly going to make life more difficult for many Facebook Page owners, as general traffic levels decrease, as well as traffic levels to Facebook overall seeing a decline. On the plus side, the days of page after page of “viral videos” seem to be ending, and the theory is that these new changes will increase engagement with Facebook and help increase overall traffic numbers to the platform.
As a social media marketer, what can you do about this? Well, the best way to adapt to this change is to embrace it. Facebook is looking for more personalised content and that’s engaging with users and their friends, so that’s what you need to deliver to your audience. Instead of just pushing out content and hoping for a few Likes and Shares, tailor you content to encourage people to comment on it. That doesn’t mean you should start writing inflammatory posts, but it’s an opportunity to become a bit more creative in how you elicit responses from users – make your posts more personal, perhaps even including names and photos of your team, and ask for comments and feedback on subjects that people will want to talk about. Comments are highly valuable content according to Facebook:
Content that inspires comments, specifically long comments which actually take time and thought to type out, will be a positive ranking signal for the algorithm, which will lead to increased distribution of the content which sparked the lengthy response
If you are primarily using Facebook to drive traffic to your website, you’ll need to similarly change the way you post. Instead of just posting a link with a throwaway “click here” remark, try putting more content (or even a video) into the Facebook post first, with the intention of getting people to respond to the post itself before clicking through.
In either case, when you get comments and responses, try to actively respond to them rather than having a ‘set and forget’ attitude to your posts. Even if comments are directly specifically at you or your Page, you can still respond in a helpful way and try to encourage the conversation to grow. You’ll also find people are more likely to post if they see that you are actively responding to others’ comments.
Finally, use this as an opportunity to look at other platforms to complement your Facebook use. Social media is changing rapidly, and we are entering a new phase where people are much more sceptical of social media use, particularly with growing concerns of social media addiction. We will likely see a huge shift in social media over the next five to ten years, and as the various platforms change and new platforms move into play, it’s a great time to spot new opportunities to push your brand out.