Every year Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, challenges himself with a New Year’s Resolution. Past years’ resolutions include learning Chinese, running a mile every day, build his own AI, meet a new person every day, and read two books a month. Out of all those goals, 2018’s resolution may be the most challenging yet.
In response to what Mark sees going on in the world today, anxiousness and division, he has set a personal challenge for himself, and for his company, to understand and heal the gaps we are seeing formed in society using his influence in a digital world.
What does that mean? It means that the algorithm Facebook uses to populate your News Feed is changing, and it will have a big influence on your social media marketing.
How Will Your News Feed Change?
In announcements about his 2018 challenge, Mark Zuckerberg has stated that Facebook will prioritize “meaningful social interactions” over “relevant content” in an effort to populate users’ news feeds with more content from their friends and family. Zuckerberg acknowledges that this shift could lead to a decrease in the amount of time people spend on the social network but believes that it is the right change to make.
Wall Street did not share Zuckerberg’s confidence when the announcement was made, and Facebook shares dropped over 4% in value in a couple hours. Since then the tech giant’s shares have rebounded, and industry insiders believe that in the long-run marketers will be able to navigate the changes as more explanations arrive.
Meaningful Social Interactions vs. Relevant Content
What does a shift toward “meaningful social interactions” mean? Alex Kantrowitz, BuzzFeed Senior Technology Reporter, says that Facebook will look to reward comments versus shares.
Shares have always dominated as one of the major metrics in social media marketing, but times are changing. Posts that now generate the most conversation will be given priority. Comments, likes, and reactions will be major driving forces in the reach of your posts, and business pages will be given less priority over real people.
Businesses that rely on organic social posts to raise awareness will see their reach drop on Facebook unless their posts can generate conversation and interaction.
This Time is Different
It is important to note is that this isn’t the same change Facebook has tried to implement in the past. Where before Facebook tried to move branded content off the News Feed entirely, and to the Explore tab, with this update businesses will still have their branded content shown.
What’s Good for User Experience Challenges Marketers
As a Facebook user, these changes could mean a much better Facebook. One where we actually see the posts of our friends and family. Where posts that people actually care about, and are getting engagement, show up in our news feeds.
Getting to know your customers is so important. Listen to what they have to say and respect their insight. Do everything you can to make sure they feel heard.
As a digital marketer, these changes mean challenges are arising on the horizon. We must try to figure out how to drive conversation. The mindset doesn’t change, we must always attempt to provide useful content, but now traditional post types might not be enough to reach your audience.
Marketing in the “New Facebook”
In light of the new algorithm changes, we believe there are four ways to market on the “New Facebook”:
- High-Quality Video – This suggestion isn’t new. Video is the king of Facebook, and video posts enjoy over double the reach of traditional posts.
- Live Video – Facebook has encouraged posts that utilize live video. Live announcements, Q&A’s, and advice are all great ways to use Facebook Live.
- Utilize Influencers – One group that could be helped by Facebook’s algorithm change are influencers. Influencers are people first (rather than businesses) and they are able to consistently drive a conversation. Partnering with influencers will be more important than ever.
- Facebook Groups – Facebook groups, rather than pages, tend to cater to true fans of your brand. Groups collect people that are interested in similar subjects and products, they are rich places for conversation and can be a great way to engage with your potential customer base.
Quality content, over quantity, is more important than ever. No matter what you post, make sure that it is quality, useful content for your audience. Focus less on the number of posts per week, and more on the social part of “social media”. Be engaging, and your audience will respond.
Generating deep relationships with your customers can be challenging, but it also pays big dividends. Humanized branding turns customers into friends.
It will take time to fully understand the effect of Facebook’s algorithm changes, and we will be monitoring things closely.
Change is Good
Being forced to change your marketing strategy can be intimidating and scary, but ultimately this change to Facebook’s algorithm is a good thing. We know what will bring success, Facebook has given us the playbook. Creating conversation will only help brands get to know their customers, and it will create a loyal band of followers who advocate your product and service on social media.