Facebook algorithm changes.
Spare a thought for Mark Zuckerberg. After announcing the Facebook algorithm changes on Friday last, stock in Facebook dropped nearly 4%, costing him $3billion. He is now down to his last $37billion.
But, joking aside, what are the implications of the Facebook algorithm changes and, in particular for small businesses and what can they do to ensure their social media offerings are still seen?
In case you have missed out on the announcement, in a nutshell, changes are being made to Facebook’s algorithm which will shift the type of content users see first in their news feed, allowing people to “have more opportunities to interact with the people they care about”. In other words, cue fewer business posts and more of Aunt Mabel’s dinner last night.
What does this mean?
The official statement from Facebook reads, “pages may see their reach, video watch time and referral traffic decrease”
This means pages that spark most discussion and more sharing will fare better. However, achieving this is not as easy as requesting your audience to “like, comment or share” your post or “tag a friend”. Facebook views this type of content as “click bait” and, if this is your strategy, you may actually find your post being penalised in the rankings. Content must now organically provoke conversation and “shareability”.
What should small businesses do?
Having said all this, all is not lost. There are steps that every page should take to optimise its content as far as possible:-
- Encourage your fans and followers to put your page as “see first”. (go to settings, news feed preferences and click each page that you wish to appear at the top of your feed)
- Use Facebook Live more often. Apparently, live videos enjoy 6x more engagement than regular video.
- Post to Facebook Groups
- Use Events
- Ensure content is highly relevant. This last point is key. The challenge now is to pivot content towards meaningful interaction, rather than passive likes and shares. Encourage response – engagement is key. Create content that actively invites your audience to interact and chime in. Ask for their thoughts and opinions, recommendations or experiences. Post open-ended questions which can trigger conversation.
- Pay attention to what works. The Facebook algorithm changes will mean businesses must listen to their audience and tailor the content accordingly. Facebook’s Insights will be key here. If you are not checking engagement, reach and interaction via Facebook’s inbuilt analytics, then now is the time to start. Put simply, check your audience reaction to posts, do more of what they like and respond well to, or that elicits more comment and do less of what provokes no reaction and falls flat. If content is not working, then consider re-working into a format that does get engagement. Do not be afraid to experiment.
- Respond. Once you find what works for your audience and get that engagement, it is important to respond to comments on your page. This will, in turn, encourage more engagement which sends all the right signals to the algorithm that this post is generating conversation and is, therefore, worth showing to more people who may wish to contribute too. Alternatively, if comments go unanswered. Facebook’s algorithm thinks that your page is a one-way street and not worthy of attention.
- Stop driving people away. If you have previously relied on Facebook to drive visitors to your website or blog, Stop! Instead, concentrate on keeping conversation on Facebook.
In conclusion, all is not lost. Remember all business pages are affected. Now is the time to create a community on your Facebook page; to listen to your audience. Accept that increasing engagement takes time and effort and requires flexibility and that you respond to your audience requirements. Facebook is all about creating fuel and sustaining the fire by engaging and demonstrating you are human, rather than relying solely on promotion.